The disruptions of the past several years have pushed many companies into unfamiliar territory.
From accelerating IT expansion to embracing the need for always-on, always-connected solutions that let employees work anytime, anywhere, businesses have been called on to evolve operations at a breakneck pace.
The results aren’t surprising: Recent survey data found that 75% of IT technologists believe their organization faces more IT complexity than ever. Moreover, 89% say they feel “immense pressure” to ensure systems, software, and solutions work as seamlessly as possible.
While many companies have turned to custom software and solution developers to help bridge the gap between historical frameworks and new functions, there’s an alternative: systems integration.
In this piece, we’ll break down the basics of system integration, why it matters, and how it can benefit your business.
What Is Systems Integration?
System integration links different systems, software applications, and platforms together. This creates a seamless flow of information and enables all solutions to operate as one coordinated system.
Businesses use system integration for a variety of reasons. However, the main goal is usually to improve the efficiency and productivity of operations. This is accomplished by getting the company's systems to talk to each other without any manual intervention or additional steps. This helps speed up information flows within the business and reduces operational costs.
For example, employees are able to focus on high-level tasks without having to spend hours on mindless manual data entry. This prevents burnout and reduces turnover.
Or consider a company leveraging multiple legacy and current-generation technology solutions, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resources (HR), accounts payable (AP), and Internet of Things (IoT) devices enabled across their network. While each theoretically contributes a key function to the organization's overall performance, they’re often in conflict in practice.
Systems integration services look to remove functional roadblocks and allow systems to work in tandem. Larger integration frameworks offer roadmaps for current service connections and eventual evolution to help organizations increase IT visibility and reduce total complexity.
What Are the Types of System Integrations?
There are various types of system integrations that a business can leverage.
Here are a few ways' system integration can improve business processes and streamline business operations:
- The most common application integration is a programming interface (API) that allows different systems to communicate. This type of integration does not require any changes to existing systems and can reduce the time it takes to transfer data between environments.
- Another type of system integration combines multiple platforms into a single, streamlined interface. This can be helpful for businesses that have important third-party software platforms that cannot be eliminated. It can also help companies save money by reducing the number of servers and hardware they must maintain.
- System integration can also help reduce the number of errors when information is saved in multiple places. This is because systems integration can automatically sync data between multiple platforms and reduce the need for manual entry. It can also make it easier for teams to access data and collaborate.
- Finally, system integration can help reduce costs by consolidating systems into a single platform when possible and connecting those remaining in place. It can also help companies save money on storage and infrastructure by enabling them to use the cloud to store data and by limiting the need for additional systems that will not be used frequently. This type of system integration can also improve scalability and allow the business to adapt to change without sacrificing data continuity.
Why Does Systems Integration Matter for Businesses?
As existing tools expose potential weak points in operations, many companies opt for custom solutions or software development. While this process provides a way for businesses to build what they want from the ground up with the help of an experienced design and development team, it doesn’t automatically solve the problem of disparate systems. Even cutting-edge applications must interface with existing solutions to access critical data.
Systems integration offers an alternative to custom application development. By partnering with a provider capable of forging links between multiple processes across existing networks, businesses are better able to use what they already have to address emerging challenges, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
Integration-based approaches may also be more cost-effective, especially for smaller companies that need to improve efficiencies but may not have the budget for full-fledged professional software development.
As the saying goes — if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Integration makes it possible to address challenges with current IT environments without starting from scratch.
The Key Benefits of System Integration
The key benefits of system integration for businesses include:
Redundant processes waste employee time and effort. If team members are required to continually pass security checks for each application used and enter the same customer data over and over, the result is less time spent on business-critical processes. Systems integration helps remove common roadblocks between applications, making it easier for workers to access the tools they need when they need them.
Systems integration can also increase staff and customer satisfaction. Instead of fighting with fragmented processes, teams can put more effort into ensuring that the end-user experience meets expectations. Internally, integration makes it easier to track IT issues. Rather than repeatedly finding dead ends, integration helps staff pinpoint potential problems more quickly.
Effective integration also drives enhanced visibility. By connecting disparate applications and services, IT teams can see what’s happening on their network anytime, anywhere. This visibility increases IT confidence when deploying new systems or solutions and allows teams to better identify internal or external security issues — before they lead to compromise.
Why spend more than you need? Effective integration is often cost-effective to combine disparate services without spending on custom application development. Integration can also help reduce overall maintenance costs. Instead of separately managing maintenance for all apps and services individually, integration lets teams create one source of truth when it comes to maintaining, patching and upgrading key services.
Many companies have diverse applications and systems that are not integrated. This can be a problem because it takes valuable employee time to pass security checks, manually enter information, and move data between platforms. System integration eliminates these problems by connecting disparate systems through application programming interfaces (APIs) to create a unified platform for collecting and sharing information.
A well-implemented system integration strategy can also increase data forecasting accuracy by combining data from different applications and reducing the risk of error. It can also help businesses to make more informed business decisions by enabling them to see the big picture with accurate data.
Finally, a good system integration strategy can help to improve employee satisfaction by making their work environment more streamlined and efficient. This can help reduce turnover and save on hiring and training costs.
Trust Your Project to an Experienced System Integration Company (like Ntiva!)
System integration increases automation, streamlines processes, and empowers team members. It allows business leaders to access data and make decisions based on accurate real-time metrics. As a result, businesses can improve their performance and reduce operational costs.
That’s why trusting your system integration project with an experienced systems integrator is critical. An experienced system integration company offers a high-level understanding of each software solution's components, subsystems, and interface layers and provides a strategic approach based on your unique business needs.
Even better: they will also ensure that your company enjoys a high ROI on the project.
Integrating Operations With Ntiva
At Ntiva, our teams specialize in software, services, solution, and data integration at scale. We recognize that effective technology is critical to your long-term success, but we also realize that sustained growth requires the evolution of existing processes and best practices to meet changing business needs. That’s why our systems integration focus is to advance alongside your operations. By understanding what your business needs at each step of the integration process, our teams can help reduce complexity, increase performance, and maximize the impact of existing operations.
Ready to integrate operations and streamline IT processes? Start with systems integration from Ntiva.