Organizations have to rely on several different IT systems and it can often be a pain to try and get them to work with each other seamlessly. Any organization that's looking to modernize its IT infrastructure needs to ensure that the various systems it relies upon are properly integrated.
Those who don't utilize modern IT solutions risk falling behind the competition. The world of business is fast-paced and it's quick to leave behind organizations that don't adapt with the times. Relying on seamlessly integrated IT services is thus crucial to making it big in the industry.
It’s a recipe for chaos, otherwise. An organization will not be efficient and its processes will not be streamlined if team members have to juggle between different software, systems, data models, and more just to get the job done. There has to be a simpler and more efficient way of doing things, and that’s exactly what IT system integration enables.
What is IT system integration?
The textbook definition of IT system integration is actually quite simple. System integration is when multiple individual IT subsystems or sub-components are combined into one singular system that functions as one cohesive unit. It's this linking together of the different IT systems that enables them to work together without running into any issues.
The task covers both virtual and physical components, with the latter consisting of the various machine systems that have been deployed in the organization. They can include computer hardware, inventory, and more. The virtual component of system integration deals with databases, software, and applications.
Ultimately, the goal with IT system integration is to bring all of these components together so that they act as one. It is extremely important for both business-to-business communication as well as streamlining internal processes. Achieving optimum efficiency in the business can often be difficult without this.
What services are offered by systems integration specialists
As you may have guessed by now, systems integration is a job that’s best left to the experts. There’s a significant amount of technical expertise required to perform integration tasks, particularly for organizations that use a lot of different IT systems and hardware. If not done properly, there’s a solid chance of things going horribly wrong.
There’s no shortage of service providers out there that offer systems integration services. However, your mileage with them will vary depending on the level of their experience and the kind of service that they provide.
It’s better to always first understand what sort of services are offered by the provider that you’re looking at before hiring them to do the job. This will give you the peace of mind that the people you’re hired to do the job are right for it.
The services that these specialists offer include designing the one cohesive system into which all of the different subsystems will be integrated. They can also carry out functional and user testing on the system to ensure that there are no disruptions when it does go live.
Other services may include program integration and management, depending on the unique needs of the organization. Those that utilize custom solutions can also work with their specialists to have their custom solutions integrated into the new system.
A step by step guide to a system integration project
Since system integration is a complex process, it’s always best to have a proper plan in place first before embarking on the job. This will reduce the chances of any issues arising during the integration task and will lead to a higher chance of the project being completed without any problems.
Gathering the requirements for the project is the very first step. This is when you meet with your system integration consultant and explain to them the requirements that you have for the new system. This will allow them to execute the project based on the unique needs of your business.
Analyze Operational Feasibility
Once you have decided what the specifications of the new system will be, analyze the operational feasibility of the proposed system for your business. This will allow the service provider to bring their vision for the project in line with the goals of your business. It will also help reduce friction with the development team.
Create Integration Blueprints
A detailed plan is then required for the system integrator before they start working on the project. The integration blueprint will give them a solid foundation to work on, as they will know exactly which components need to be integrated and in what manner to achieve the desired objective.
This is one of the most important steps of the job and also it's often the most challenging. This is where the actual work is performed, in that the multiple subsystems are integrated together. This step should go off without a hitch if the earlier steps have been followed correctly.
The primary concern here is obviously data retention. Extreme care is to be taken during this stage to make sure that no data is lost during the integration process. As always, it’s best to create solid backups before embarking on projects where the risk of data loss is present.
Testing and Implementation
As with anything related to software, thorough testing is required before the integrated system is implemented. The idea here is to figure out if there are any bugs or issues that need to be ironed out before the organization can become entirely reliant on the new system.
If any bugs are detected during this stage, they're fixed and engineers test the system once again to make sure that everything is operating as it should be. This is also the part where you ensure that everyone in the organization is trained on how to use the new system.
For most organizations, systems integration is never a one-time job. There's a need for constant maintenance to ensure that no other bugs surface down the line, or any new components can be integrated as and when the need may arise.
Organizations evolve with time and their technical needs do, too. Therefore, it's vital to have ongoing support so that any future needs can be addressed.
What are some of the challenges of system integration?
The systems integration process can prove to be very challenging, particularly if it's going to be a very complex project. Most organizations are heavily dependent on legacy systems and it's usually not easy to get rid of those systems. It becomes all the more challenging for system integrators to figure out the best way of integrating with monolithic systems.
Trying to find the right tool for integration can often be a chore as well. There's no shortage of tools on the market that claim to provide the best and simplest integration experience. It's imperative for the tool to have support for hybrid integration, so that on-premise applications can easily be integrated with cloud applications.
Another challenge that organizations routinely run into when executing a system integration project is having to arrive at a standard data model. The data requirements are different for every business unit and they're often using different systems to collect and analyze that data. This can lead to a disconnect between the data models, thereby making the process of integration more complex.
Time and cost constraints always add more complexity to any integration project. Your organization may be pressed for time and you might want the project to be completed as soon as possible. There could be cost overruns as well if the project runs into some issues and that can add a level of uncertainty to the project that’s best avoided.
Zibtek can help you integrate your new software safely
The success of your integration project depends on the integration specialist that you choose to work with. You’ll have no shortage of options when you go out to hire one, but it’s imperative that you choose the service provider that you feel confident about.
Zibtek can certainly give you the confidence that it will tackle your project with the utmost dedication and care. It’s one of the leading software firms in the world with offices in Salt Lake City and a truly global talent pool that’s all managed from within the United States.
The company works with a wide range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to startups, carrying out software projects of varying complexity. System integration is just one of the services that Zibtek provides. Its integration specialists are highly experienced and have handled dozens of projects with organizations of all sizes.
Zibtek is a full-service software development firm so it can also help you with other projects. Whether you’re simply looking to establish an online presence, require custom app development, database management or even a custom ERP or CRM solution, Zibtek can do it all for you.
If your search for the right system integration specialist has led you here, rejoice, because you don’t need to search any further. Get in touch with Zibtek today and learn more about how they can help you with a system integration project.