The 6 steps of the systems integration process
Acquiring individual software components initially seems cost-effective but can lead to inefficiency and data inaccuracy as a business evolves. Systems integration, though complex and time-consuming, offers a cohesive solution, enhancing productivity and data analysis by seamlessly connecting various subsystems.
When acquiring software, many companies buy only the components they need at that moment. This way may be cheaper and thus seem more profitable at the beginning, but it can very quickly become counterproductive. As your organisation evolves, you start using more independent tools, resulting in a productivity drop and inaccurate data analysis. Luckily, systems integration is here to save your business.
What surprises many entrepreneurs is how time-consuming and complicated the process of integrating various systems may be. They often prefer to acquire new off-the-shelf packages instead of putting their already existing subsystems together. However, this decision takes time, which employees must spend on understanding the new solution and valuable data.
What is systems integration?
Simply put, the procedure connects multiple separate components, which often come from different vendors, to work as one. Here, you can find what the subsystems have to offer, including improving employee productivity and ensuring seamless data connectivity, enabling you to analyse business processes better.
Systems integration is an excellent solution for companies who struggle with working on multiple independent subsystems and are experiencing much time being wasted due to re-entering data to each of the tools manually. If you wonder whether your company needs systems integration, you can read more here.
The six-step systems integration process
Boosting productivity and improving the workflow of your company is essential if you aim to succeed. Systems integration is a great way to achieve these goals. However, the development process may be long and complicated. A systems integrator – that is, a company or a team of professionals – has to ensure that data flows seamlessly between all components. To do so, they usually split their work into 6 equally important phases, and these are:
Generally, the first step consists of one or more meetings when you share your ideas and requirements with a systems integrator. It is crucial that you know exactly what you and your team expect the future system and its components to do. To provide you with an efficient solution, an IT company must ensure that your employees and customers will find the software comfortable and easy to use.
Why it’s important? There is no such thing as a standard systems integration. Every company uses different subsystems to achieve other goals. It is extremely important for a systems integrator to know your requirements very well.
After your expectations and specifications for your future software are listed, business analysts conduct a thorough analysis to determine operational feasibility. They are experienced in translating your requirements into needs and improving the communication between you and the development team. It allows an IT company to connect their vision of the system with yours.
Why it’s important? What you want is not always what you actually need. Listen carefully to the company performing the systems integration and their advice. A successful collaboration will help them to provide you with the best solution suited to meet all of your needs.
Thanks to the analysis, a systems integrator is ready to perform the process of putting your subsystems together. However, before they start, they need to build a solid foundation to eliminate all risks. That is why the next phase is dedicated to writing a plan of how multiple components should be integrated so that they can function as a whole. Usually, blueprints of the integration are created to help both sides visualise the process.
Why it’s important A systems integrator aims to provide a solution to boost productivity and improve workflow. Still, their main objective is to ensure seamless data connectivity between all of the components. A proper architecture design allows them to perform an efficient integration.
Systems integration design
This is the process’s longest and most challenging phase, where the actual integration is performed. Based on the architecture design, which is a logical design, its physical equivalent is developed. If all the previous steps have been followed with close attention to detail, a systems integrator should perform systems integration successfully and easily without losing valuable data.
Why it’s important Depending on their number and size, connecting various independent systems into one while ensuring regular data flow may take some time. This phase requires great precision. A successful integration can help your company grow by automating many business processes and providing you with accurate data.
Once the system is ready, it is verified and tested. If test engineers detect any bugs, it is fixed, and the system undergoes operational testing one more time to ensure the product you receive is errorless. Only then does your order go live so you and your employees can start enjoying it. Even though the new solution is based on your previous components, it may take time to get familiar and comfortable with it.
Why it’s important After the systems are integrated, it is your turn to improve your company’s workflow. To notice the integration results, you need to ensure everyone in your team understands exactly how the new solution works. That is why the implementation phase may take a while.
The competitive advantage of having your subsystems integrated by a professional company over buying a new off-the-shelf solution is that a systems integrator ensures your product works flawlessly even after it is released. If you find it hard to use or missing a feature, the components can be modified or added anytime. You can also report every bug you detect, and the company that has built the system for you will take care of fixing it.
Why it’s important As your company evolves, the system can evolve along with it. There is no need to acquire a new product as upgrading the system you already know and find easy to use is much more beneficial.
As you can see, the systems integration process is highly challenging. It is best to have the integration performed by a group of specialists as every phase of putting together components, which all come from different vendors, requires close attention to detail. However, using one system instead of a few transforms how you work and enables your company to grow.
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