During the last two decades, much of the Process Automation efforts concentrated on using Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) as a means to document and digitize business processes. This technology wave helped the Process Automation space make a significant step forward. BPMS tools armed with Integration capabilities allowed organizations (and their business and IT stakeholders) visualize the processes they wanted to automate. From this initial business process documentation phase, it was possible to create a manageable digital asset to help “orchestrate” all business process steps regardless of its nature (people and systems). Without risking to exaggerate, most of Process Automation (or Business Process Management) practitioners would agree, that one of the hardest implementation areas is integrating with systems of information that the business process needs to transact with. BPMS vendors offered a wide array of application integration capabilities, usually in the form of application adapters, to integrate with these Enterprise and Productivity Applications. As more systems needed to be integrated from the business process, the hardest the implementation phase became. As much as we would like for Applications to enable all transactions via publicly available APIs, this is not the case and limits what integration service capabilities can do to integrate in an automated and headless manner.
Simplification in the Integration space helps!
New Enterprise and Productivity Applications have started to really invest early in Application Programming Interfaces (API). REST based Web Services as an implementation mechanism and an API-First approach to offer Application functionality, certainly offered a simpler consumption of Application functionality and by transition it simplified the Process Automation implementation projects “hardest” last mile: integration. Integration vendors can leverage these APIs and offer a direct and easy way to transact against these Applications.
But is this not well enough?
Well… if your business processes create logic around new SaaS Applications you may be lucky. But for many organizations (and specially those that have gone the path of merger and acquisitions) it is not. Whether we like it or not, there are still many systems that are very hard to transact or interact with. This category of Applications include mainframe systems and homegrown to Enterprise Applications. But also, any kind of application that has gone some kind of customization where this functionality is only available through the application user interface (UI). Read the complete article here.
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