System integration challenges are among the most significant technology obstacles that modern companies are facing. This is often due to heightened reliance upon technology, combined with the sheer volume of stand-alone systems and platforms. Just consider all of the technology that a typical business utilizes in the course of an average day. Companies use email and instant messaging, cloud-based databases and data lakes, analytics and metrics platforms, mobile apps, accounting software, web-based software portals, CRMs, ERP platforms and custom or industry-specific enterprise software solutions. A single business can literally have dozens of different platforms or high-tech systems in place, and often, data must flow from one platform to another. This is where system integration becomes indispensable. Here are the many system integration advantages that you’ll enjoy if you pursue a strategy that aligns with your business and its goals.
The Problem of System Integration, Solutions and Impact
Companies may see significant (and costly) inefficiencies as humans or makeshift measures are used to bridge the gap that exists between disparate systems and platforms. In fact, business leaders are often shocked by the extent of the positive changes that can arise from a well-planned system integration project. And you’ll see more than just improved efficiency and productivity. It’s common for companies to enjoy benefits arising from new and expanded capabilities that are a direct result of an investment in system integration.
Certainly, leveraging an iPaaS solution is one strategy; but there’s another very good option that ought to be considered: development of custom enterprise software that combines functionalities and features from multiple platforms. Software developers package these features into a single, streamlined interface. For indispensable third-party or other stand-alone platforms that must be retained, a custom enterprise software platform can be engineered to achieve full system integration.
What Are the Types and Definition of System Integration?
There are two basic types of system integration: vertical system integration and horizontal system integration. Vertical system integration entails connecting unrelated platforms and systems so they function as a single, cohesive unit. The vertical integration method often involves the usage of “silos,” whereby each part of the system pushes data / processes upward, so to speak.
Horizontal system integration is far more complex, as this strategy uses a specialized sub-system that communicates with the various platforms and systems. It’s also commonplace for developers to create an application layer that allows for “programmatic connections” between various systems, platforms and applications.
There is also a third type of system integration, known as star integration or spaghetti integration. This approach is a bit less common. It involves a point-to-point integration of the disparate platforms and systems. So you might have platform A, connected to web-based software platform B, which feeds data to mobile app C. When rendered as a diagram, this form of system integration can appear to be quite “messy” — a bit like spaghetti, hence the name.
What Are the Advantages and Benefits of System Integration?
Company leaders may be hesitant to invest in system integration solutions, as it’s hard to fully appreciate the extent of your inefficiencies and data flow gaps until they’re fully resolved with a solid system integration project. But rest assured, there is tremendous ROI potential in a system integration development project. Let’s take a look at some of the additional benefits of system integration and an investment in technology that promotes streamlined integration.
More Efficient Processes — A well-architected system integration strategy will streamline or even fully automate various processes within your business. When humans are no longer forced to bridge the gap between systems, this frees us to focus on more productive, higher-level tasks. Improved efficiency and streamlined operations are major system integration benefits.
Improved Sales Volume — eCommerce and retail sector companies (and others who rely upon sales) usually see a marked increase in sales volume following an investment in system integration. Consumers will have more buying opportunities and a better buying experience when inventory is updated in real-time. What’s more, team members are empowered with data that allows them to automate restocking orders, handle inventory management with greater ease and streamline sales-related activities.
Access to Real-time Data — In many industries, access to accurate, real-time data metrics can be a game-changer. System integration allows for far greater business agility and smarter business decisions, since you’ll be basing your evaluations upon accurate, current data.
Leverage New Data in New Ways — One significant system integration benefit surrounds data and the type of data a company is able to collect and store. A fully-integrated system will open the door to new data collection opportunities. More data means more metrics and more insights, which can allow for improvements, enhancements and other positive changes across nearly every region of a company.
Significant Cost Savings — Without question, financial savings are among the most attractive benefits of system integration. A custom-built system integration strategy will reduce overhead costs and other expenses by consolidating systems into a single platform, when possible, and connecting platforms that will remain in place. There’s also the cost savings associated with greater productivity and better decision-making that comes from access to more accurate data.
Improved Scalability — Most modern system integration strategies entail the usage of cloud-based storage, cloud computing and other cloud resources. Scalability is an important part of the equation, both from a financial standpoint and from a strategic perspective.
The cloud is very affordable, since you enjoy all the benefits of on-premises resources, but without the costs of acquiring and maintaining the hardware. It’s also scalable since additional cloud resources are automatically made available as your operation grows. Scaling back is easy too, as you’re typically only charged for the resources that the company has actually utilized.
Trusting Your Project to a Reputable System Integration Company
Clearly, the system integration benefits are many and varied, bringing a consistently high ROI for this type of project. Business leaders can expect to see significant improvements operationally, strategically and financially. Of course, to maximize system integration benefits, it’s critical that you choose a system integration developer who will deliver a strategy that aligns with your business and its technology.
At 7T, we specialize in helping our clients achieve digital transformation through emerging technologies, ranging from mobile app development to custom software projects such as CRM platforms or ERP development. We’re ready to deliver collaborative, multi-phased software development services, including system integration software development solutions.
7T has offices in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Austin, but our clientele spans far beyond Texas and the midwest. If you’re ready to pursue a system integration development project with today’s most innovative technologies, contact the team at 7T.