An application network is a network of connected applications, data and devices, that supports complex processes and workflows. Application networks are often used, when companies have very specialized workflows and can't find a single framework or software solution to support all its needs.
When an own monolithic application might be too expensive to create, too hard to maintain and extend, or just too unflexible to fastly react to market changes, the workflows are broken down into smaller steps and logical units. Each of these steps can then be supported by smaller, specialized and interlinked applications or microservices. These applications may be custom solutions or even stock software. To model the entire workflows, they exchange its processed data with each other through standardized APIs. The application logic is determined by the way how the data is processed and flows during the workflows.
The approach of an application network increases flexibility to the enterprise. Once workflows change, for example due to changed market conditions, new applications and services can easily be added to the network, old applications replaced, or the data flow and application logic can be adapted.
As the applications and services that make up the application network communicate with each other using standardized APIs, they can be developed independently, be written in different programming languages, or hosted in dedicated environments and cloud services. Rather than having a huge team working on or maintaining a single application, development and maintenance can be split up into smaller teams, each responsible for single components of the application logic. Single features can be changed, extended and deployed faster.
And if the workload of a service within the application network is heavier than others, it can be scaled independently from the other services, allowing for a more efficient, to-the-point scaling of the entire application network.