System Integration

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System Integration?

System Integration refers to the process by which multiple individual subsystems or sub-components are combined into one all-encompassing larger system thereby allowing the subsystems to function together.
What is System Integration?

System Integration refers to the process by which multiple individual subsystems or sub-components are combined into one all-encompassing larger system thereby allowing the subsystems to function together. In other words, the symbiosis created through system integration allows the main system to achieve the overarching functionality required by the organization.

In most organizations that use system integration, there is a need to improve efficiency and thereby productivity and quality of their operations. The objective is usually to get the company’s various IT systems to communicate with each other in the background so as to avoid the time and effort spent manually sharing information with other departments/components of the organization including upper management. Through system integration, the organization will experience an increase in information flow speeds as well as reduced operational costs.

Furthermore, system integration connects the organization with third parties such as suppliers, customers, and shareholders. Each of which has their own unique interests in information generated by your company. System integration allows suppliers to keep track of raw material levels, allows customers to keep track of finished goods inventory, and shareholders to view the company position at a glance in a dashboard-style in real-time. All of these conditions can be met very simply through the use of system integration supplied by reliable systems integrator.

CRM Systems Vs ERP Systems – What’s the difference?

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system helps organize, manage, and, at the end of the day, use customer data. A CRM is a form of system integration that keeps your business up to date on each customer’s contact details, transaction history, accounts as well as communication. In other words, your company’s entire ‘relationship’ with customers is available at a glance and the primary objective of the system is to help you improve sales.

Alternatively, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is designed to manage any and all business processes and automate various backend or back-office functions that need not be carried out manually. In many ways, it is the representation of the concept of system integration. An ERP software typically integrates all aspects of operations which include product planning and development, procurement, vendor management, manufacturing, sales, and marketing, all in one database and user interface. The primary objective of an ERP, much like system integration, is usually to lower costs rather than increase revenue.

What are the methods of system integration?

Determining an appropriate systems integration solution is not a simple task by any means. You must select the correct subsystems, the correct locations, and the correct nature of the relationship. For this, it is very important that you as a company understand exactly what processes are involved, how they interact with all the stakeholders as well as the business objectives. If you are clear about why and where the business requires harmony in operations, the systems integration will go smoothly.

System Integration Method #1: Point-to-Point Integration

Point-to-Point integration/connection is not system integration in its truest sense. In that, the complexity of the functions that can be performed is limited despite the systems functioning as a whole. Typically, such forms of systems integration handle one business function at a time and are ideal for a 1:1 relationship. i.e. one system to another system. The more the number of systems in play, the greater the number of connections, and therefore, a point-to-point systems integration quickly becomes unmanageable.

System Integration Method #2: Vertical Integration

Vertical systems integration differs from the other types of systems integration in the structure that is formed. Basically, each sub-system is linked to the other on the basis of how closely they are related in the function that is performed. This leads to a ‘silo’ like structure with the bottom being the most basic function and the rest getting progressively more complex. This type of system integration is fairly simple and involves a small number of systems but on the other hand, this system integration model can be inflexible. Adding any new functionality means adding its very own ‘silo’ which, in the long run, makes things difficult to manage.

Let us consider for example that the Point-Of-Sale (POS) system tracks orders and records sales transactions while another software generates the invoices. This is where the term “silo” comes into play since the system is tightly integrated to serve a specific and narrowly defined business function, holding the data in one place without coordinating with other silos.

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