How to Explain the Difference Between A2A and B2B Integration

Typing on computer with cloud graphics overlaid

What is application-to-application integration? What’s business-to-business integration? Are they related? How different are they?  

Let’s explore: 

Integration platform as a service 

To understand application-to-application (A2A) or business-to-business (B2B) integration, let’s back up a little. 

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is cloud-based software that takes data from several sources and integrates it all on a single platform. These integration platforms enable sharing, exchanging, or transforming and translating information between systems.  

This information can come from anywhere: internal applications, APIs, and standardized communication documents between trade partners (EDI). More than that, by consolidating data on a centralized platform, iPaaS can automate API and EDI integration, transactions with trading partners, and other business workflows. 

There are 2 basic categories of integration: A2A and B2B. 

A2A integration 

Application-to-application (A2A) integration connects internal applications, APIs, SaaS connectors, protocols, and formats within your existing environment. In other words, A2A integration is the seamless communication and data exchange between a company’s existing internal systems (CRM, HR, ERP, etc.). 

With A2A integration, it’s also possible to extract data from legacy systems to the on-premises ERP and cloud applications. While having outdated systems used to make it harder (or impossible) to share documents or implement newer applications, A2A integration completely circumvents this issue.  

A2A integration requires middleware (iPaaS) to employ connectors and adaptors for specialized data formats and protocols of each internal application. iPaaS can also leverage pre-built connectors for APIs or even offer customization options for unique systems. Additionally, integration platforms provide real-time monitoring, error handling, and security protocols for A2A integration. 

Application-to-Application A2A integration infographic

B2B integration

Business-to-business (B2B) integration is sharing data with and automating transactions between trade partners and other outside systems within a single platform. Data is collected from individual sources, translated into standardized formats, and sent back out to each source, application, system, or trade partner. 

Whether on-premises or hosted on the cloud, iPaaS provides the architecture needed to digitize information and quickly route it through an organization’s trading ecosystem. Automating B2B integrations (such as EDI transactions) with iPaaS means more efficient data exchange, transactions, and business processes. 

B2B integration is becoming more valuable every day! More companies are reporting that they absolutely need B2B integration for their company to function, let alone succeed. Near-instant communication with customers, suppliers, and business partners, is now more than a convenience: it’s a necessity.  

Business-to-Business B2B integration infographic

A practical illustration

Let’s take a hypothetical look at how this all works in the real world: 

A local chain of supermarkets in your area needs an integration platform. Why? 

Every month, there are dozens of trucks that deliver to their store from hundreds of vendors. When inventory is low, it needs to be re-ordered…but not more stock than customers will buy!  

The market is also implementing pickup orders on their website. Customers can pay online with a card, PayPal, or Venmo.  

Additionally, the manager is needing to update their employee database. Currently it is stored in an older system, but now the store uses a completely new program for payroll and new formats for employee information. 

By bringing on an iPaaS provider, the market can easily take care of all these overwhelming tasks!  

A2A capabilities

As for all HR protocols, A2A integration is the key. Not only can A2A integration connect older systems to newer systems seamlessly, but it can also automate workflows for payroll, scheduling, training…and anything else the human resources department needs! 

On top of every other benefit and capability, iPaaS would allow this market to continue to scale! No matter how slowly or quickly the market grew, its internal data streams and external EDI transactions would keep pace. 

B2B capabilities

The market needs an integration platform for secure EDI to all vendors and transportation partners. This form of B2B integration ensures that all parties are aware of orders, shipments, and deliveries in real-time (with all documents formatted specifically to each particular system). 

(And as a bonus, CINTAP Cloud can also track and display interactive UI dashboards and reports that help decision-makers stay on top of demand and required inventory 

B2B integration would also help when accepting payment from third-party systems such as PayPal and Venmo. 

What this means for you

CINTAP is the perfect solution for bringing all types of integration together onto a single integration platform. Whether your company is looking to expand, cut costs, or optimize efficiency, CINTAP Cloud is a fully customizable option for both A2A and B2B integration. 

You designate which data and stats are displayed on your interactive dashboard, so you always have the information you need at your fingertips. Set up tailored transactions with all your partners. Choose which processes should be automated.  

And then CINTAP Cloud does the rest. 

Next steps?

We want your solutions to stay simple at every size. 

Reach out to a member of our team today to learn more about what CINTAP Cloud can do for you!

A2A integration vs B2B integration infographic A2A vs B2B

Author – Carissa Getscher

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