What is System Integration & How do you Plan One?

Here at Liongard, we know how important efficient system integration is to you as a managed service provider (MSP). In fact, it’s the critical factor in any organization’s digital transformation. Not only is it integral to reduce your organization’s operational costs, but it can also elevate the quality of operations and improve information and data flow speed.

Because virtually every company in the world relies on IT systems and infrastructure, deploying a successful system integration is one of the most crucial aspects of running an organization. In fact, according to a new report by Global Market Insights, the market valuation for system integrations may rise past $575 billion by 2027!

The demand for a comprehensive software system integration solution is growing just as rapidly as the market, and that’s what we do here at Liongard. We seamlessly integrate with the legacy systems you’re already using as an MSP, with a focus on top-notch security. We grow with you, consistently upgrading our systems integration process to connect better with the modern organizations and enterprises we serve.

What Is System Integration?

System integration is the process of connecting many different components (sub-systems) into one larger system that functions efficiently as a single unit.

So, why are system integration and a comprehensive platform so important?

  • Integration allows for much faster communication between different systems.
  • Integration provides a more satisfying experience for end-users and other third parties.
  • Integration helps every business achieve the ultimate goal: reduce costs and improve the productivity and efficiency of operation.

What Is the Purpose of System Integration, and Why Is it Important?

In simple terms, the purpose of system integration is to fit together different system components to create a functional, interwoven system that brings every application together on one data integration platform. That means connecting different functions on different systems (even outlying processes) while still including the existing systems and any customized or off-the-shelf software your business uses.

Using an integration platform for your organization lays the foundation for future success and growth. It also provides a ton of benefits, but only when using a successful system plan.

However, creating a successful system integration plan means having a rudimentary understanding of the different system integration methods. Understanding the various methods can help you understand the potential benefits, too.

Different Methods of System Integration

We won’t lie to you: finding the right integrated system solutions for your organization can be challenging. That’s why it’s crucial to have an expert on your side, like the IT experts at Liongard.

We work within the legacy systems you already utilize and deploy a hybrid integration platform to help your business boost the value and productivity of your daily operations. Our software solutions use all four integration methods:

Vertical Integration (Creating Silos)

The process of vertical integration within systems integration (also known as creating silos) includes connecting different, unrelated components and sub-systems as one working, mutually beneficial system.

Some of the most important benefits of a vertically integrated solution include:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Efficient communication between vendors and suppliers
  • Increased control over business processes
  • Greater productivity and business value
  • More satisfying end-user experience

Each platform layer should work from the bottom-most functions upward, with the ability to scale over time to meet ever-expanding organizational requirements.

Horizontal Integration (Enterprise Service Bus)

Also known as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), horizontal integration is another vital part of systems integration deployment. However, the cornerstone of this integration is more than just one process. It requires a customized sub-system with the specific purpose of coordinating with other sub-systems. A specialized single interface element permits connections via programs between the enterprise applications and other applications for a comprehensive integration process.

Some of the best benefits of a horizontally integrated system include:

  • Exceptional preparation for the future
  • Ability to scale for ever-shifting workloads and business processes
  • Improved efficiency in day-to-day operations
  • Capability to utilize evolving technologies
  • Streamlined coordination and communication
  • Ability to change or replace each sub-system easily

Point-to-Point Integration (Star Integration)

The point-to-point method of integrating system components uses an interconnecting pattern of each primary system to the remaining sub-systems. Picture it like a star drawn on paper, with lines connecting each point.

There is a drawback. This system is only helpful for specific organizations and purposes, usually those with separate processes for separate functions. For example, one section would be specifically for end-users, another for data processing, accounting, web services, customer service, etc. In fact, the project scope of point-to-point integration deployment can range from very simple to highly complex.

Its use may be a bit narrower or for more specialized companies than the other methods, but there are some benefits:

  • Greater deployment versatility
  • Directness in operation
  • Streamlined functions and features

Common Data Format

The common data format is another important part of systems integration. Much of the data that comes through the system at one end must transform before it reaches the other end. This type of system integration process allows each system to complete only one data conversion, from the original format to the common. That limitation solves the problem of a system-to-system basis for each transformation, which can cause a rising number of time-consuming transformation tasks.

The common data format method can also use an enterprise application integration system, which provides a versatile way to switch between formats within a data transformation service.

Examples of necessary data transformation include:

  • Converting names of states into abbreviations for a mailing list
  • A user interface that takes names from customer data and converts them into randomized numbers for confidentiality purposes.

The benefits for a system integrator using a common data format include a greater level of automation and effortless data conversion.

Essential Questions for Overcoming Software Integration Challenges

Are you ready to take the necessary step into automation and system integration? A vital part of the process is considering every aspect individually and your system as a whole and asking the right questions. You should lay out integration scenarios, weigh pros and cons, and estimate system impact.

However, this can help you secure the foundation for a successful integration process and improve the efficiency of business operations. Here are some questions to consider when choosing your systems integrator:

What is the right integration strategy for an organization?

The correct strategy for integrated systems is to find one that will benefit your organization and fits your unique needs. Then, ensure that your systems integrator has the experience and skills to connect systems that will help lower costs and increase productivity.

You should examine your IT infrastructure and existing hardware to find your business objectives and core needs and allow for seamless data integrations.

What type of integration interface options are available?

There’s a full spectrum of connector choices and interface options available. For example, you may choose a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM systems) or an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP). These can utilize managed file transfer tools or even electronic data interchange software to transmit files from your data warehouse to customers efficiently, suppliers, or business partners.

Consider and evaluate system impact, integration scenarios, deployment methods, system design, infrastructure, etc.

Will the process of integration affect current systems?

A quality systems integrator will offer a complete and comprehensive picture of your IT infrastructure at the beginning of an integration project. The system must function correctly and efficiently, or your organization could be at risk for recurring issues or low productivity.

Will the process of integration affect future processes?

Another essential question to ask yourself as an MSP is how the integration will affect future processes. It’s important to consider that as your organization grows, you also require your IT system and infrastructure to scale right along with you. Therefore, a systems integration platform needs to be flexible, versatile, and integrated with your existing systems with no issues or negative impact on operations.

How to Eliminate System Integration Issues and Complexities

Deploying a systems integration platform can provide your organization with the necessary connections to:

  • Boost productivity
  • Lower cost of essential operations
  • Streamline the information flow.

In addition, you can use these techniques to reduce the number of issues and complications you face as an MSP.

Consolidate Contrasting Applications and Systems

Don’t waste time relying on legacy systems simply because they worked in the past or you think it’s too expensive or time-consuming to upgrade. If your system is obsolete, it could (and most likely already is) impeding your business’s ability to function efficiently.

Full automation and integration (or with a unified, specialized subsystem) can help improve your organization and give it the seeds to grow and thrive. Consolidate your applications to get the most out of your integration.

Built-In Connectors for the Most Common Applications

One of the best aspects of a well-designed integration system is that it offers you a single, centralized space with pre-installed applications and software. You should be able to use it within your physical location or on a cloud network to access all your MSP tools wherever you are. You can also use an integration platform to customize and evolve your available applications to better fit your business as it expands, allowing for faster information flow and data movement.

Automate Everyday Business Processes

Automation is an absolutely critical part of staying modern in today’s business world. Not only does it save time and money, but it can eliminate the risk of costly errors and streamline your business operations. Liongard can help maximize your MSP team’s productivity. Our IT automation software gives you complete visibility across your systems.

Lower Dependency on Customized Application Solutions

It’s crucial to take a versatile approach to your integration project. Don’t become too reliant on customized application solutions, which often require extra resources. Obscure or customized applications can also require constant communication with the software developers and vendors every time there’s an issue.

Free Up Valuable Resources for Other Projects

Another benefit of using an automated centralized platform for your IT infrastructure is freeing up valuable company resources that you can funnel into more important areas of the organization.

If your employees spend too much time on tedious data entry, implementing automation and integration will free up time to work on more complex and critical tasks.

FAQs About Integration Systems

What is meant by system integration?

Integrating systems is a way to make different subsystems function as one. It takes various processes and systems and streamlines them to create one system that works efficiently and can help lower costs and boost productivity.

What is system integration with an example?

A great example of an industry that hugely benefits from system integration is the healthcare sector. Hospitals, doctors, clinics, etc., must use a system integration method to move patient records, prescription orders, and test results efficiently, ensuring HIPAA compliance and other business requirements. Without a scalable integration solution, the results could be disastrous.

What are the system integration methods?

It’s not easy to find the right system integration method for your organization, which is why Liongard is here to help you choose between the best methods and strategies to best suit your company’s needs and objectives. The right decisions include selecting locations, designs, and sub-systems. The four different methods include:

  1. Vertical Integration
  2. Horizontal Integration
  3. Point-to-Point Integration
  4. Common Data Format

What is the role of a system integrator?

The role of a system integrator is to help bring order to disparate systems and the IT infrastructure of the businesses they serve. Here at Liongard, that’s what we do.

We can help you deploy one system and one comprehensive approach that will provide a centralized platform to run daily operations and processes. An integrator helps MSPs with the day-to-day operations and IT systems and services that are a necessary part of almost every single business around the globe.

Contact Liongard Today for a Comprehensive Integration Solution

Our exclusive platform will give you complete visibility and help streamline your systems and operations. At Liongard, we design our solutions to mesh effortlessly within legacy systems, with an emphasis on security. Book a demo to learn more about how our automation solutions and system integrations can help your organization succeed.

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