We discussed the topic of system integration and its benefits in our first article. Now we want to dig deeper and tell you more about the types and key steps that must be taken to start system integration.
When each software solution works in isolation, you must jump from one product to another, often wasting valuable time entering the same or related data into different systems. What was cheaper initially now costs you more because employees struggle with software, and you have to maintain multiple subsystems with various requirements.
For example, you chose a suitable application for accounting and another software for your inventory management. Sometime later, you needed an app to manage your sales and marketing, then added a complex customer service ticketing system. The good news is that your business is growing, but the bad news is that your business has outgrown its software.
System integration is the solution that can provide what your business needs to grow and prosper while reducing operating costs.
Why Does Your Business Need System Integration Consulting?
When your software is complicated by inefficient processes and features that cannot be changed. Whenever your employees have to enter the same information into different systems, you waste valuable resources that could be used to serve your customers better. By creating an interface that integrates your company’s disparate systems, you can automate business processes and improve information flow and data usage.
The main reason companies implement system integration is to ensure that all systems work in harmony to increase productivity and improve the quality of day-to-day operations. The goal of system integration consulting is to simplify and streamline communications between systems within an organization and third parties. System integration consulting helps speed up the flow of information and reduces operating costs.
What Are the Different Types of System Integration?
Most companies store data from many different sources or databases. As the name suggests, data integration allows you to collect and aggregate data from all your disparate services and turn it into a central access point to facilitate interactive reporting.
Legacy System Integration
Many companies continue to use outdated legacy systems to run core business functions to avoid disruption to their day-to-day workflows. Enterprises can solve this problem by integrating and modernizing legacy systems by enabling seamless communication channels with newer technical solutions and information systems.
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
As companies grow, they tend to integrate more enterprise applications to simplify their front-end and back-end processes. This results in many different applications having no common convergence point and storing datasets separately. EAI combines these disparate subsystems into a single business environment and facilitates real-time data exchange between various applications.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Integration
B2B integration is the automation of business communications and processes between multiple organizations. This integration enables these companies to trade and collaborate more efficiently with their business partners, suppliers and customers by automating business processes.
Electronic document interchange (EDI)
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a standardized format for exchanging business documents across companies. Alternatively, EDI can be described as a standard electronic format that companies use to replace paper documents, such as invoices or purchase orders. Automating paper transactions can help businesses save time and avoid costly mistakes resulting from manual processing.
How to Start System Integration?
1. Analyze Existing Systems
During the first phase of systems analysis, your team needs to answer several questions:
What software solutions does your organization use?
How do you use them?
What functionality is missing?
What functionality is unnecessary?
What are the pain points?
What are the biggest challenges?
Creating a tailored system solution for your company requires a deep understanding of your company’s needs and problems. This includes checking any third-party applications you are currently using.
Like our specialists at Itirra, your software systems integrator should be an expert who can determine which applications to replace with rewritten code or other systems. Together, you can design a robust integrated system for an immediate return on investment. An experienced architect can help you save resources and money by creating a detailed plan and managing the right people to develop the right parts.
2. Determine Fitting Architecture
Before starting, the architect determines the method of system integration and creates a detailed model showing how all the components will be connected in an integrated system. A visual representation of the entire system provides a coded integration plan, demonstrates the most efficient data communication flows across all solutions, and outlines how to integrate different users into the new system.
3. Design a User-Friendly Experience
Designing the user experience for your system integration includes:
Examining how users interact with existing systems.
Interviewing users and stakeholders.
Reviewing user reports.
Compiling wishlists while aligning with architectural models.
Users are demanding and use numerous apps daily—on phones, tablets, and computers. What matters is how the application looks and behaves. The new system should feel familiar, comfortable, easy to adopt, and users should find it fresh and exciting. System integration projects with excellent user experience save labor costs and improve corporate culture.
4. Implement and Test Each Integration
At this stage, individual components integrated into new systems and their subsystems go through critical testing. Operational testing to understand how well each piece integrates with the system and end-user testing ensures new workflows are streamlined and straightforward to use. This integration process requires careful attention and a deep understanding of the system.
With a suitable system integration partner who understands your industry and technological developments, you can ensure that you are ready for growth right from the start of your project.
At Itirra, we provide companies with customized solutions and opportunities to explore potential improvements to support their business goals. If you want to find out more or to discuss how we can help your business, contact us or schedule a meeting.