System Integration methods – In the previous article we have talked about System Integration: what is it and how it can help your business. To sum up, System Integration is the process of linking various independent components, for example IT systems, to communicate with each other and act as one co-ordinated system.
Now, we are going to dig deeper into the System Integration methods and what benefits you can get by integrating your system.
System Integration Methods
According to Moore, system integrator works integrating discrete systems using several techniques such as computer networking, enterprise application integration, business process management, or manual programming.
System Integration is usually completed to comply with your business goals using the very latest technology. It can be implemented using various methods classified according to their characteristics:
With vertical integration, subsystems are integrated according of their functionality by creating ‘silos’ of functional entities. This system creates a silo starting from the basic function and build each layer and element upward (vertical). This is the most basic and cheap integration that involves a few vendors, partners, and developers in the beginning, but becomes more expensive over time because to meet further business requirements, new silos must be created. Re-using the subsystem to create new functionality is not possible.
Horizontal integration involves creating specialized subsystem dedicated to communicate between other subsystems, ensuring that there is only one interface between any subsystem to communicate. The benefit of this method is that each sub-system may be replaced with another without affecting the others by using totally different data and interfaces. This reduces the costs of integration and provides extreme flexibility, allowing complete replacement of one subsystem with another subsystem which provides similar functionality but exports different interfaces.
Star Integration or Spaghetti Integration
This point-to-point method connects each system to multiple subsystems, making the diagram look like a star. However, the more subsystems there are, the more connections are made, and the more bulkier the system will be, making it ended up look like a plate of spaghetti. Managing complex system with this metod can be quite demanding as a change in every system will affect the subsystems connected to the system. However, from the feature perspective, this method often more preferable due to the extreme flexibility of the reuse of functionality.
Common Data Format Integration
Integrating different data system usually requires data transformation. Data coming out from one system will need to be transformed into different data format that is used by the receiving system.
With this method, a common format is established to remove the reliance for an adapter to translate between various application formats using an enterprise application integration (EAI) system. Enterprise application integration (EAI) system usually defines an independent application data format. Data transformation service to help converting between specific and common format is usually done in 2 steps: Adaptor changes information from application format to the common bus format. Then, the implementation of semantic transformation (for example, converting the post code to the city name, splitting/merging objects from one application to objects in another application, etc)
Benefits of System Integration
System Integration can be your company’s key to success. Not only it ensures seamless data connectivity and reduces the possibility of errors, it also improves both the internal workflow of your organisations and maintains your company position in the market. By integrating your system, you will be able to:
– Improve real-time visibility that will allow you to work with the latest information. When different departments are not integrated, acquiring information manually can take hours, and it sill may not be accurate. System Integration will minimize the risks caused by inaccurate and delayed information and enable you to make critical decisions based on those data.
– Boost employees productivity and process efficiency with automation that eliminates manual work. As a result, your employees can finally focus on their actual tasks instead of repeatedly entering data to every subsystem uses by the company. Having most of your processes integrated will also reduce the necessity of hiring new employees.
– Increase your sales with improved customer experience and better customer service as a result of data connectivity across all departments. From the customer’s perspective, it enables them to see the availability of the product they are looking for, and provide them with smooth and easy buying process. From the employees’ perspective, it allows the to address the enquiries immediately and eventually, meet the needs of the customers.
– Save time and money with better decision making and automated system that allow you to focus on gaining new customers and developing new skill and therefore provides you with more opportunity to grow.
– Collect data that will be valuable for decision making, thanks to centralised system that gives more accurate result.
Find out which system integration method is the most suitable for your company. Consult your business needs with Bridge Technology Services (BTS.id). Contact us:
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