As companies grow, so do their software needs. While it’s a good idea to buy the off-the-shelf software products you need initially, but as your business grows, you’ll be buying more and more software solutions. For example, you can choose one general application for your accounting and then another for your inventory.
Time goes by, and you need an app to manage your sales and marketing, followed by a great customer service. Here, the good thing is that your business is growing, and the bad thing is that your business has outperformed your software.
Since each software solution operates independently, employees often waste valuable time entering the same or related data into different systems as they jump from one system to another.
What used to be cheap at the beginning of your business, seems expensive now as your employees spend most of their time in maintaining multiple systems. In such scenario, it would be best to re-think about which approach, and strategy should be implemented.
But in our opinion, you should go with system integration as this is the best approach that will help in minimizing the operational costs required for your company’s growth and prosperity.
If you don’t know about system integration, you need not to worry as going forward we’re going to discuss all these things. Let’s get started.
What is System Integration?
System integration combine different systems and applications to work as a coordinated system. Application integration involves collecting data from a variety of applications into one central, unified hub for users. It is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of your industry and in-depth knowledge of various technologies. System Integration enables ERP, which will help you provide more valuable data for more effective decision-making.
Why does your Business Need Integration?
Your software has become complex because of inefficient processes and readymade features that can’t be altered. If your employees want to enter the same information into different systems, you are wasting valuable resources that can be used to serve your customers better. By creating an interface that integrates the multiple systems of your company, you can automate business processes, improve information flow, and data usage.
5 Benefits of System Integration
System integrations enable seamless processes through integrated workflows that allow you to make quick and informed decisions to serve your customers. Let’s have a look at some more benefits:
1. Better Data-driven Decisions
When you have all your data in one central place, you can spend rest of the time on analysing this data and making high-level decisions instead of using most of your resources to research and compile data in usable form. As part of an in-depth system project, you can create a single dashboard with the insights, and customer data you need together to compare and identify trends.
2. Ease and Efficiency of Employees
Instead of working across multiple systems with duplicate data entry, your employees will be able to work from a unified system when accessing various tools. A robust system integration approach allows your team to spend resources on high-value tasks rather than simple tasks like data mining. Integration reduces the chances of human error in exporting, importing, and copying data which gives you more accurate information to run your business.
3. Improve System Security
Securing multiple systems or relying on software solution providers creates additional risks for your business. Integrated systems may have the security tools needed to control user access and maintain customer and company data security and integrity.
4. Real-time Data
If your data is stored in a variety of systems that require resources to be collected, then reviewing your data will not be as fast as you would like it to be. If you have a lot of data or many personal systems, your problem will be more prominent.
With System Integration, your data can be transferred from third-party applications to your central system in real-time. Once completed, it will help your team to understand all aspects of your company in a better way and use the data needed to make quick and intelligent decisions.
5. Rapid Growth of the Company
By spending less work on low-value tasks and more access to high-quality data, your team will be able to focus on higher-value growth efforts. Integrating your employees and customers will benefit ease of use, and your leadership can focus on revenue generation and creating new services for your customers.
5 Steps for System Integration
There are several critical steps you can take to begin the process of integrating your new customized solution. You may want to adopt this approach regardless of the size of the project you are handling.
At the beginning of the process, in the system analysis phase, your team will answer several questions, including which software solutions your organization uses, how you use them, what functionality is missing, what is unnecessary, what are the pain points, and what are the challenges.
Creating a customized system solution for your company requires deep knowledge of your company’s needs and issues. This includes checking all third-party apps you are currently using.
Why choose an expert for this analysis?
After all, you know what you want. While you are an expert in your work, your software system integrator should be an expert in integration work. Using the knowledge gained while working on hundreds of projects, a custom software integration company can suggest which applications can be easily replaced with newly written code and replaced by different systems. Their goal should be same as yours – a seamlessly integrated system. Together, you will design a powerful system integration that will deliver an instant return on investment.
Before starting, the architect will determine the method of system integration and create a detailed model showing how all the components are connected as an integrated system.
This visual representation of the entire system provides a coding integration plan and demonstrates effective data communication across all solutions. This integration data model explains the data flow required to design how different users will integrate with the new system.
Why do you need an experienced architect?
The old saying “count twice, cut once” applies to application design, especially for system integration projects. You will save resources and money by creating a detailed plan and hiring an experienced architect who can see the big picture and divide the right people for developing the right parts. Your architect will understand the complex approach of your different subsystems and they will use the right integration method.
Designing a user experience for your system integration will include looking at how users interact with existing systems, talking to specific users and stakeholders, and checking user comments and wish lists while coordinating with the architect model. The new integrated system should feel comfortable and familiar enough to be easily adopted, and users should find it new and exciting.
Does design matter?
Today’s users are highly sophisticated who uses a variety of programs every day – on phones, tablets, kiosks, and computers. What matters is how the apps look and how they behave. A system integration project conducted with an excellent user experience will save human resource costs and improve company culture.
As individual components integrate with the new system and its subsystems, critical tests will be performed. Operational testing to ensure that each component integrates well with system and end-user testing to ensure that new workflows are streamlined and easy to use. This integration process requires careful attention and solid understanding of system.
Can’t you just turn it on and press the go button?
You can, but it should not be recommended. You need an agile approach that completes the integration phase in a way that can be adjusted to a schedule that includes feedback as you go along, rather than a big fuss at the end. Designing, building, and frequently testing will help you better implement your system integration.
As your company grows and changes, so does your software. You can also choose to add features, introduce new services, or add additional solutions to your architecture. You can replace the system with an expensive fee with custom software designed to reduce that lifetime cost if you decide to start small and connect two systems and then develop your custom integrated system.
Do I need to evolve?
The growth rate depends on the type of company you are running and the changes you are making. Being a system integration partner who understands the evolution of your industry and technology will ensure that you are ready for growth related to your customers and services from the beginning of your project.
In broad technical terms, integration is the process of connecting your subsystem to a unified system serving your business operations. For this, it is necessary to understand several methods of integrating subsystems.
If you want to learn more about systems integration, contact Integrative Systems.