6 steps of system integration process

When acquiring software, many companies decide to buy only the components that they actually need at the moment. This way may be cheaper and thus seem more profitable at the beginning, but can very quickly become counterproductive. As your organisation evolves, you start using more and more independent tools, this results in productivity drop and inaccurate data analysis. Luckily, system integration is here to save your business.

What comes as a surprise to many entrepreneurs is how time-consuming and complicated the process of integrating various systems may be. They often prefer to acquire new off-the-shelf packages instead of putting their already existing subsystems together. However, this decision not only takes time which employees need to spend on understanding the new solution, but also valuable data.

If you would like to know why system integration is a challenging process and what every phase of the system integration lifecycle looks like, please continue reading.

           

What is system integration

To put it simply, the procedure assumes connecting multiple separate components which often come from different vendors to work as one. Here you can find what putting the subsystems together has to offer, including improving employee productivity and ensuring seamless data connectivity which enables you to better analyse business processes.

System integration is a great solution for companies who struggle with working on multiple independent subsystems and experiencing wasting time due to the necessity of re-entering data to each of the tools manually. If you wonder whether your company may need system integration, I have explained this and other ways that using too many independent components can influence your business here.

 

Steps of system integration process

Boosting up the productivity and improving the workflow of your company is essential if your aim is to succeed. System integration is a great way to achieve these goals, however, the development process may be long and complicated. A system integrator – that is a company or a team of professionals – has to make sure that data flows seamlessly between all of the components. In order to do so, they usually split their work into 6 equally important phases and these are:

 

  1. Requirements gathering

In general, the first step consists of one or more meetings when you share your ideas and requirements with a system integrator. It is crucial that you know exactly what you and your team expect the future system and its components to do. In order to provide you with an efficient solution, an IT company has to make sure your employees and customers will find the software comfortable and easy to use.

 

Why it’s important

There is no such thing as a standard system integration. Every company uses different subsystems in order to achieve different goals. It is extremely important for a system integrator to know your requirements very well.

 

  1. Analysis

After your expectations and specifications of your future software are listed down, business analysts conduct a thorough analysis in order to determine operational feasibility. They are experienced in translating your requirements into needs and improving the communication between you and the development team. It allows an IT company to connect their vision of the system with yours.

 

Why it’s important

What you want is not always what you actually need. Listen carefully to the company you have chosen and their advices. A successful collaboration will help them to provide you with the best solution suited to meet all of your needs.

 

  1. Architecture design

Thanks to the analysis, a system integrator is ready to perform the process of putting your subsystems together. However, before they start, they need to build a strong foundation in order to eliminate all of the risks. That is why the next phase is dedicated to writing a plan of how multiple components should be integrated so that they can function as a whole. Usually, blueprints of the integration are created to help both sides to visualise the process.

 

Why it’s important

A system integrator aims to provide you with a solution which will boost your productivity and improve your workflow but their main objective is to ensure seamless data connectivity between all of the components. A proper architecture design allows them to perform an efficient integration.

 

  1. System integration design

This is the longest and the most challenging phase of the process where the actual integration is performed. Based on the architecture design which is rather a logical design, its physical equivalent is developed.  If all of the previous steps have been followed with a close attention to detail, a system integrator should perform system integration successfully and easily, without losing valuable data.

 

Why it’s important

Depending on their number and size, connecting various independent systems into one while ensuring regular data flow may take some time. However, this phase requires great precision.  A successful integration can help your company to grow by automating many business processes and providing you with accurate data.

 

  1. Implementation

Once the system is ready, it is verified and tested. If test engineers detect any bug, it is fixed and the system undergoes operational testing one more time to ensure the product you receive is errorless. Only then your order goes live so you and your employees can start enjoying it. Even though the new solution is based on your previous components, it may take time to get familiar and comfortable with it.

 

Why it’s important

After the systems are integrated, it is your turn in the process of improving the workflow of your company. In order to notice the results of the integration, you need to make sure everyone in your team understands exactly how the new solution works. That is why the implementation phase may take a while.

 

  1. Maintenance

The competitive advantage of having your subsystems integrated by a professional company over buying a new off-the-shelf solution is that a system integrator makes sure your product works flawlessly even after it is released. If you find it hard to use or missing a feature, the components can be modified or added anytime. You can also report every bug you detect and the company that has built the system for you will take care of fixing it.

 

Why it’s important

As your company evolves, the system can evolve along with it. There is no need to acquire a new product as it is much more beneficial to upgrade the system you already know and find easy to use.

 

TO SUM UP

As you can see, the system integration process is highly challenging. It is best to have the integration performed by a group of specialists as every phase of putting together components, which all come from different vendors, requires close attention to details. However, using one system instead of a few transforms the way you work and enables your company to grow.

If you would like to talk about how HeadChannel Ltd. can help you to improve the workflow of your company, give us a call on +44 (0)20 7099 6399. We have performed countless system integrations and every one of them has made a huge difference for the company.

 

Author Biography

Karolina Piskorz is our Content Marketing & PR Specialist. She makes sure our content is engaging and helpful. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, practising yoga and travelling all over the world.

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