After reading this question Reasons NOT to use email for system integration
I want to ask the opposite question.
- What is email ingestion?
- When it is OK to use it for process or system integration?
Software Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professionals, academics, and students working within the systems development life cycle. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Email ingestion is reading emails from an inbox and processing them.
It is used to achieve a degree of automation between two companies, where neither company wants to go through the time and expense of publishing and consuming a first-class API like a REST service.
It is suitable:
When the communication is not critical, or can be retried (since email is not guaranteed delivery).
When the communication is of a "document-centric" nature.
When the chunk of data being sent is relatively large and the number of messages over time is relatively small.
There's lots of things you can do with emails.
You can put a chunk of JSON or XML in them for a machine to uptake.
You can put a GUID in the email address that steers the email to a particular record in a database.
You can extract the attachments and put them in a document system, etc.
A simple example of such intake is used by Trello. You can send an email to Trello with a specifically-crafted email address, and it will create a new Trello card in the Trello Board you specify, containing the email body as the content of the Trello card.
What is it ?
The common sense of ingestion is the act to take in something for or as if for digestion. If extended to systems, it means take into the system to process it.
This article explains more precisely that data-ingestion is to bring data into the system and prepare it for processing. It is the step after data discovery and before effective processing. Hence email-ingestion is data ingestion from an email source.
When to use it ?
There are certainly plenty of cases where email-ingestion is a sine-qua-non need, such as for example: CRM systems, text mining, email bots, document filing systems, email filtering, etc...
I think email source is only a questionable idea if used for processing structured data:
I see no reason not to use email in the other cases.