Enterprise integration is a technical field of Enterprise Architecture, which focused on the study of topics such as system interconnection, electronic data interchange, product data exchange and distributed computing environments.
It is a concept in Enterprise engineering to provide the right information at the right place and at the right time and thereby enable communication between people, machines and computers and their efficient co-operation and co-ordination.
Enterprise Integration, according Brosey et al. (2001), “aims to connect and combines people, processes, systems, and technologies to ensure that the right people and the right processes have the right information and the right resources at the right time”.
Enterprise Integration is focused on optimizing operations in a world which could be considered full of continuous and largely unpredictable change. Changes occur in single manufacturing companies just as well as in an “everchanging set of extended or virtual enterprises”. It enables the actors to make “quick and accurate decisions and adaptation of operations to respond to emerging threats and opportunities”.
Evolution in Enterprise Integration: This figure summarizes these developments indicating the shift of emphasis from systems integration to enterprise integration with increasing focus on inter enterprise operations or networks.
Enterprise integration has been discussed since the early days of computers in industry and especially in the manufacturing industry with Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) as the acronym for operations integration. In spite of the different understandings of the scope of integration in CIM it has always stood for information integration across at least parts of the enterprise. Information integration essentially consists of providing the right information, at the right place, at the right time.
In the 1990s enterprise integration and enterprise engineering became a focal point of discussions with active contribution of many disciplines. The state of the art in enterprise engineering and integration by the end of the 1990s has been rather confusing, according to Jim Nell and Kurt Kosanke (1997):