Systems integration is a process that companies are increasingly utilizing as they realize the value and profit that can come from it. Though it may seem profitable to use multiple systems as needs come up, buying separate software components can quickly become counterproductive. For example, what happens if you decide to invest in CRM software such as Salesforce, but only to later decide you need to enroll all your active customers into your new customer engagement program software? Will you manually copy and paste each customer? Integrating systems over buying an off-the-shelf solution can improve employee productivity and ensure seamless data connectivity which enables you to better analyze your business processes.
What is systems integration?
The process involves taking separately working systems, often from different vendors, and making them work together as one. Integrating systems is a great solution for companies who are slowed down by working with different, separately working software and experience a lot of lost time due to re-entering data to each of the tools.
Boosting up the productivity and improving the workflow of your company is essential if your aim is to succeed. Integrating systems is a great way to achieve these goals, however, the development process may be long and complicated. A systems integrator – such as fivestar* – will make sure that data flows seamlessly between all the components by breaking up work in these 6 steps:
6 Steps to Systems Integration
1. Requirements gathering
It is important that you and your team know exactly what you need an integrate system to do. What are the tasks you want to achieve by connecting these systems? Can you think of other tasks that you might need in the future? With this list, your chosen systems integrator will be able to let you know which parts are achievable - and which may be hard work or impossible. In addition, they will be able to make sure your employees will find the software easy to use.
2. Conduct an investigation
After you write a list of all your needs, your company will conduct an analysis in order to determine operational usefulness. It allows your chosen systems integrator to connect their vision of the system with yours and a successful collaboration will help them to meet all your needs.
3. Create a summary of the architecture design
Before your systems integrator begins working on putting together the subsystem, they need to eliminate the risks. They do this by writing a plan of how multiple components can function, often through blueprints or data flow diagrams to help you visualize the process.
4. Roll out plan
Based on the architecture design, a physical equivalent is now developed. If all the previous steps were conducted with detail and a close working relationship, your systems integration should be successful without losing valuable data. It’s possible that there may be bugs that need to be worked out – which is why it’s not wise to have go-live across your systems all at once. Going-live during quieter times ensures that you don’t cause yourself too many headaches at once.
Once all the bugs are fixed, your system has been tested and you’ve verified that they work as planned, you are ready to go-live. At this point your employees can start using and enjoying their new software, though it may take time for them to become familiar with it.
6. Support and maintenance
Having an integrated system created over buying an off-the-shelf product ensures that a professional company creates a product that works seamlessly even after it is released. If you need a feature added or if you are finding it difficult to use, the product can be modified for you. You can also let your systems integrator know that you detected a bug and they will help you fix it.
Though the systems integration process might seem challenging and overwhelming, working with a team of professionals will help you build a reliable system. Doing this will transforms the way you work and will enable your company to grow. If you would like to know how your systems can work better together, then contact us today to show you a roadmap.
Interested in working with fivestar*?
If you decide that it is valuable and profitable for your business to have custom software, fivestar* can develop solutions that centralize workflows, optimize processes, and enable decision-making through real-time data and business intelligence.