What is an Enterprise Integration Hub and why do you need it?

Blog
Posted on 20/09/2021
Enterprise Integration Hub

Every modern business shares data. Data across different applications at the core of your business must be accessible to each other. Most likely those applications are across multiple cloud environments. Enterprise Integration covers the technologies and processes that connect data, applications, and devices everywhere in your IT organization.

In this post we explain:

integration hub workflow

What is an integration hub?

Digital integration hub, enterprise integration hub, or cloud integration hub? It goes by different names. We’ll keep it simple and consistently refer to integration hub in this article.

An integration hub is a tool that allows businesses to connect multiple applications independent of where they are located, in different cloud environments, or on-premise. And it does so without coding.

Typically these tools allow the user to connect multiple applications in a GUI, or Graphical User Interface. This way the user can orchestrate workflows by connecting components via drag and drop, and easily add and remove application integrations this way.

For example, you can send a Slack message whenever a new lead is entered in your marketing automation without a single letter of code.

Examples of popular integration hubs?

What are the benefits of an integration hub?

By decoupling data sources from targets and facilitating a publish and subscribe approach, the integration hub facilitates more and more complex integrations and provides several benefits:

  • Consistent cloud and on-premise data integration
  • Faster and more efficient data synchronization between apps
  • Reduced cost and complexity by standardization
  • Management of new integration points
  • Governance of integration across systems
  • Simplified automation with self-service access for business users

Why are integration hubs becoming more popular?

Digital transformation requires businesses to share more and more complex data across disparate applications and systems critical to their business strategy. It requires an agile and standardized approach to keep data management straightforward and clear throughout the complex enterprise application landscape.

Integration hubs allow an organization to connect multiple applications through webhooks (existing APIs). This way no development is required and only configuration is needed. A lot of the modern cloud applications - like Mailchimp, Salesforce, and SAP - already have integrations or webhooks present that allow quick and easy integration with these platforms.

An integration hub also enables you to quickly adapt workflows and add new integrations without a development cost. However custom development will still be necessary for some specific needs. We tend to prefer the DRY, Don’t Repeat Yourself, principle more and more.

Do I need an integration hub? Is it for me?

Do you need to be an enterprise with a complex enterprise architecture to benefit from using an Integration Hub? No.

Do you care for your digital customer experience to be consistent and efficient?
Do you want the agility to create and update integrations without dependencies on developers?
Do you want to avoid costly, error-prone and time consuming custom integrations?

3 times yes? Then looking into adding an integration hub can be worth spending time on.

Integration hubs are very accessible and interesting for most businesses that care for their digital customer experience. Regardless of the size of your business or the complexity of your tech stack. Especially if you choose an open source integration hub like n8n which comes at a very interesting TCO.

Why should I consider n8n as an open integration hub?

N8n is open source. Here is the source code. You can run it on-premise. But you can also choose to let the n8n team run it for you in the cloud. We hear they have excellent support. The n8n community is on fire! A ton of templates and workflows is available for you to use. Over 300 integrations are accessible already and that number is growing every week.

In open source, we feel strongly that to really do something well, you have to get a lot of people involved. - Linus Thorvalds

Dropsolid can also integrate it as part of your DXP project. In fact, we use n8n as the native integration hub offered in our Customer Data Platform. The open source nature of the product really fits well with the open philosophy of Dropsolid Experience Cloud.

How to get started with n8n?

Want to run n8n on your machine? Then this tutorial is a must-read for you. A huge amount of templates and workflows are available for you to use at https://n8n.io/workflows/.

Want to build your own examples? Take a look at my technical post. There are many integrations in n8n. But here are some of the typical components that can be used in your integration building flow:

  • Cron (triggers every X time)
  • If-Else (allows you to test return codes, contents of API’s do flow conditionally)
  • Switch (very similar to the programming switch statement).
  • Function item (allow modifications on the data that is passed on)
  • Http request (do requests to an external API)

A short video to get you started