Few enterprise environments, applications or systems exist in isolation. Most are connected to other applications and services by data feeds and common reference data. Others are connected through elaborate integration networks. Looking above the level of single applications and focus on an enterprise’s whole software portfolio, there emerge a complex collection of silo applications, heterogeneous platforms, and islands of sometimes duplicated data and services that are interconnected by messages, objects, file transfers, batch feeds, and human interactions.

An enterprise’s integration architecture balances the requirements of the business and the requirements of individual applications. Inside this integration architecture, there is often an overwhelming maze of systems, connections, and channels. Studying enough enterprise environments, and a common combinations of integrated systems such as portals, networks of connections (such as message brokers, buses, and point-to-point connections), and numerous individual connections and channels. To understand the maze, it is helpful to understand how many of these integration architectures evolved one application at a time.

As Albert Einstein stated: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.