At its core, system integration involves assessing a company’s various software assets — including ERP platforms, CRMs, mobile apps — and then creating (or finding) a single software solution that will meet the company’s needs, while driving greater productivity and efficiency. While the nature of a company’s enterprise software platforms can differ dramatically from business to business, the basic system integration project steps are essentially the same, regardless of company type or industry. Let’s examine what you can expect as you work with system integration consultants and software architects to craft the perfect enterprise software platform for your company.
Identify All of the Enterprise Software and Apps That Are in Use
At first glance, identification may appear to be the simplest of the various system integration project steps. However, the reality is that a large enterprise may use dozens of different software programs, mobile apps, SaaS platforms and other technology. For instance, the accounting department may use an instant messaging mobile app for inter-departmental communications. The sales and marketing division may use an in-built chat feature that’s included as part of their CRM. That same company’s manufacturing division may use a chat feature in its inventory management portal. That’s three different in-house communication platforms for three separate areas of a single company. It’s easy to see how a large business could use hundreds of platforms in the course of its daily operations.
The first step in the system integration process is to identify any and all software that the company is using. Once you have a complete list of all platforms, a consultant can determine who is using each type of software and what features and functionalities they’re utilizing on each platform. Additionally, a systems integration consultant may also investigate the less-often-used functionalities that are available on the company’s current platforms. In the process, they may identify opportunities for condensing software; using a single software program in place of two or more separate platforms.
Determine How the Various Software Programs Interact
Once your system integrations consultants have a firm grasp on what software your company is using and how, it’s time to map out the interactions between the various platforms. There are a few key questions that must be answered during this step of your system integration project:
- What platforms currently have a direct connection?
- What data is currently shared between these interconnected platforms?
- What platforms will be connected as part of this system integration project?
- Is any data inputted or transferred between systems manually?
- What functionalities will the new software platform need to perform?
- Who needs to access specific types of data?
- What devices are being used to access the platform?
Your system integration team will develop a map that outlines how data flows throughout your company and how various users are interacting with that data. This provides the development team with vital insights as they begin to architect your company’s new enterprise software.
Creating a Comprehensive Systems Integration Project Plan
The system integration development process relies upon a very precise investigation of the company’s processes, data flows and functionality needs. For many companies, the goal is to develop a single all-encompassing enterprise platform that allows data to flow between various divisions and departments. That single platform would also include all of the tools, features and functionalities that the business requires.
In some cases, the company may opt to retain one or more third-party platforms. The system integration developers may need to “build around” this platform as they create a companion software program, of sorts. For instance, you may have an existing platform that is used for tasks A, B and C. The developers may create a supplemental companion platform that interacts with the existing platform and allows users to perform tasks D, E, F and G. In other cases, the system integration project plan may simply entail creating “bridges” that connect stand-alone software.
Additionally, your systems integration service provider will need to consider security. There is an added risk when potentially-sensitive information is transferred from one platform to another. An enterprise software platform also includes multiple user roles. These are used to restrict users from accessing more data than is required to fulfill their role. A good system integration development company will work with your business to understand what user roles will best suit your unique needs, while protecting sensitive data.
The team at 7T has many years of experience with system integration projects, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, SaaS solutions and mobile apps. We understand the challenges of building an efficient, streamlined enterprise software platform. Our experience speaks volumes, as we’ve worked with clients in a number of fields, including medical and healthcare, insurance companies, manufacturing and more. We can help your business develop a system integration project plan that will set your development project up for success.
When you work with 7T, you can also move forward with total confidence knowing that we routinely work with emerging, cutting-edge technologies such as data lake creation tools and Augmented Reality (AR). 7T is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with regional offices located in Houston and Chicago. Our clientele spread across the globe, so if you’re seeking assistance with a system integration project, or want to develop a custom ERP platform, CRM, enterprise mobile app or another piece of custom software, contact the team at 7T today.