What it is
Software integration is the process of combining diverse sub-systems in order to create one coherent, major multi-functional system. It involves conjoining normally standalone software applications to act as a whole. It can be said that with the advent of the internet and cloud platforms, software integration exploded in demand. Legacy systems, through other sub-systems are now able to add utilities as one individual sub-system contributing the bigger picture.
There are four types of software integration methods.
- Allows integration based only on functionality.
- Cheapest method for short term needs as it only involves necessary parties.
- Interconnects one sub-system with the rest of the sub-system.
- The challenge to this model is adding a new sub-system to the star (think of a ring), disturbs the architecture and can cause problems.
- Enterprise Service Bus
- Actuates communication between a sub-system that is customized and the rest of the sub-systems.
- This connectivity provides a great deal of flexibility.
- Common Data Format
- This method is completely independent of data formatting.
- The result is that the adaptor does not need to convert data into other formats.
Software integration is used to simplify many complex tasks or activities. With enterprise integration the most robust, it is the goto for difficult operations. This method will combine all sub-system connections into one cohesive layout know as an IDE (integrated development environment) and clean up point to point communication using API's.
An API (application programming interface), is a fragment of the code needed by each side to exchange the information required to service a task or activity. Imagine you are driving a car. You know if you turn the steering wheel right, you will turn right, and the same for left. You don't think about how the engine is working or how the wheels adjust to the turn. The steering wheel (API in this case) is only concerned with turning or going straight. It is the only point of communication between the driver (programmer) and the engine and hides all the complexities of the act of turning to the side.
API's talk to the connections between computer systems and access information without disruption to the actual use of the applications involved.
- In most cases you will be using a central reporting dashboard.
- There may be a reduction in cost of peripheral modules that will not be used as part of the larger project build-out.
- Time savings
- Software integration will eliminate duplicate data entry.
- Reduction in the double handling of data across the sub-systems.
- Reduced training time, maintenance and upkeep.
- Increased productivity and efficiencies
- Greatly reduces the laborious time spent on each applications admin tasks.
- Staff time dedicated to tasks is reduced allowing for other work to be performed sooner.
- Audit reporting, investigation, external audit requests can all be facilitated quicker.
- One Dashboard
- used to review, report and monitor activity across all sub-systems in real-time with no lag.
Do You Need to Integrate?
Large or small, your business will face challenges if you are dealing with various enterprise applications of scale. The list below can get you thinking whether the time is near or now to seek out a software integration solution.
- Your internal users found cloud-based applications which allows for them to work as they need to, despite a module existing already on the local on-premise system.
- The organization had identified a need for specialized applications to handle new demand, products, customer needs or new business processes.
- Your ERP system, purchased at high cost in maintenance and upgrades etc, is now being used only for its 'back office' functionality, knowing that other solutions will be implemented soon.
- The business is being transformed and while you embrace new cloud options, you still want to use existing on-premise applications. This is a popular choice and known as postmodern or hybrid ERP design.
Choose your software integration using a knowledgeable team. The savings are real and the ability for your staff to access information, reporting in a timely manner, clearly sets the bar higher for the company in new customer retention while maintaining strong customer loyalty.