With the continual evolution of technology, businesses considering IT system integration can benefit greatly. System integration offers numerous advantages, including streamlined production, reduced operating costs, and improved decision making, just to name a few.
Yet research shows almost 40% of organisations believe the integration of applications and data is the biggest challenge to achieving digital transformation.
Given the advantages that system integration can bring to your business, this article will explain what it is and how it can help.
What is IT system integration?
System integration is the process of connecting different components to cooperate, forming a more extensive system after they are integrated. System integration can be either one-way (mono-directional) or two-way (bi-directional). When systems are integrated, data and functionality should flow seamlessly between them, communicating optimally with one another and reducing complexity.
Historically, integrating systems and applications from different providers used to be a complex process. Custom-coded, point-to-point integrations were required, making the system inflexible and weak and requiring constant maintenance. Every software update and every process change could jeopardise the entire integrated system since it was dependent on a single software platform.
With today’s technological innovation, robust integration solutions are available. As a result, new technologies such as the cloud, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can communicate quickly with existing systems. With a solid integrational platform, the most sophisticated integration projects can be undertaken in a matter of months, rather than several years.
Types of system integration
System integration can vary in size and complexity and can be of different types, such as:
- Legacy system integration: organisations dependent on legacy systems that are no longer supported may continue working with those systems by integrating them into newer systems. Digital transformation can be accomplished even if legacy systems continue to be used.
- Third-party system integration: it may not be possible or feasible to build custom software; rather, third-party software products may be used, which can be integrated with existing systems and applications already in use in the organisation.
- Business-to-business integration: allows businesses across a supply chain to easily make data and information accessible to partners and suppliers, which reduces redundancy.
- Big data integration: analysing large and complex data sets may require integrating data from multiple business systems, diverse sources, and different formats into a single view.
- Cloud services integration: Cloud services can link different applications, systems, and databases together so they can be accessed from multiple devices over a network or the internet.
Why is system integration important?
System integration enables organisations to thrive in the digital era, making better informed and more effective decisions about future growth and ventures.
When a company expands, the IT environment may not keep pace with the organisation’s growth and its growing number of employees. New or more complex processes may be needed and different business departments may find themselves working in separate systems that do not communicate or share data. This makes processes inefficient and costly.
Proper system integration allows automatic data transfer between systems, which results in smoother workflows, improved process efficiency, and a much lower incidence of error rates. Productivity is then enhanced across all facets of the business operation, allowing a clearer view of possible future directions to expand growth, as there is a better understanding of workload and capacity.
Organisations that have data stored in different systems and applications are unable to properly analyse performance. A centralised system that gathers all data improves data analysis, ensures consistency, and increases the data’s value, enabling business leaders to dive deep when considering a course of action to take for future growth, marketing campaigns, or other critical business decisions.
When information is stored in various systems, it must be downloaded and analysed separately, increasing the time required and increasing the chance of human error. Integrated systems provide instant access to the most recent data and statistics, which simplifies the analysis process. Using integrated systems instead of separate ones enables you to avoid the need for outside resources to analyse data. An integrated system facilitates comprehensive analysis, enabling the ability to see patterns that might be difficult to detect on multiple data sets if they are dispersed.
Boost your business decision making with integrated IT systems
Having all the information in one place or system allows for real-time, accurate data across traditional organisational boundaries, providing a complete and comprehensive view of the organisation. A better and more accurate decision-making process allows organisations to grow and save money.
The gathering and utilisation of information help to minimise uncertainty and confusion, allowing for goal-directed choices and having a big impact on every aspect of the enterprise. By having access to a wide variety of data in one place, information-based decision making is encouraged.
Integrated software makes it easier than ever to make clear and certain decisions about expanding to new locations, employing remote workers, and establishing additional sales and marketing channels. Because information can be accessed from any location at any time, a company can grow its business without the time-consuming process of transferring data from one location or device to another. In addition to scaling up your company faster, integrated systems make your organisation more resilient and adaptable, ready to respond quickly and appropriately to market changes, supply chain adjustments, or employee changes.
The IT consultants at INTELLIWORX can work with you to design and develop solutions to integrate the data, processes and applications your organisation depends on to make better and more effective decisions for the future.