What is Software Integration?
In today’s world there are millions of business software systems and applications available on the market. As businesses adopt software, many fail to consider all business processes. Decisions to implement software in many cases are made on the independent (departmental) needs within the organisation. This also occurs as organisations grow and decisions are made to implement independent systems at a specific point that addresses an immediate need.
Software integration is commonly facilitated thanks to mechanisms like APIs (application programming interface), which are defined as sets of functions and procedures allowing applications to access the features or data of an operating system, application, or another service.
In other words, an API is a programmable connection between the systems that define what data can be transmitted from one system to another.
Why Should You Integrate Software?
Newly implemented systems do not always play nicely together, resulting in data silos where they are running their own race. As more programs are added it becomes harder to integrate them into your current workflows.
Failing to carefully consider architecture of your software suite can result in disparate applications and inefficient processes. Integrating software is like taking the individual silos (runners) and integrating them into a relay team where data is handed off to one another (baton) to get to the finishing line.
There are many benefits to integrating software such as:
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How To Integrate Software?
Within any organisation the steps for integrating software are generally the same. WorkDash provides complete integration services. We work side by side with our clients throughout the entire process. Our point of difference is that we also look at the organisation’s processes and procedures (management system) ensuring that this is correctly aligned with system integrations. We have simplified the stages below to achieving software integration.
1. Process Requirements
2. System Review
3. Systems Integration Design
4. Create System Integration Architecture
5. Begin Using the Integration System
6. System Performance Evaluation
sTEP 1: Process Requirements
Generally, the first step involves determining the processes required to achieve the intended business automation. Understanding and correctly defining these processes will ensure that any automation will operate as intended. As Bill Gates once said, “the first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
sTEP 2: System Review
The next stage is to review the type of data that requires integration and what software systems are currently being used. The purpose of this step is identifying a roadmap of what is required to achieve successful integration. Outcomes may include identifying the need to merge disparate systems, migrate data from legacy systems to modern technology, increase in functionality or redundant processes.
sTEP 3: Systems Integration Design
At this stage, the team will create a blueprint for the integration. The details of the integration plan should include details about the tools that will be used. For example, it can have a diagram that shows how the systems will link to other applications. Having a visual representation of the plan will make it easier for executives to view and share with stakeholders. It also needs to meet the needs of the process requirements.
sTEP 4: Create System Integration Architecture
The system architecture can finally be created based on the blueprint. The business team should be diligent when establishing the system and should run regular tests to ensure it is operating as intended. This step often takes the longest amount of time because the testing, fixing, and re-testing needs to ensure all bugs are fixed or minimised to a point where transfer of data between systems is not affected.
sTEP 5: Begin Using the Integration System
Once testing outcomes have been achieved, the organisation can begin using the integrated software system. This includes configuring the system for the users and setting up on the appropriate hardware. Another key element to this stage is to ensure the appropriate level of training is conducted for the relevant user. Failure to successfully do this can result in poor adoption rates and unnecessary issues being raised and subsequent trouble shooting being required.
sTEP 6: System Performance Evaluation
Regular or periodic performance evaluation of the system should be carried out to verify that it is working correctly and as intended. This will ensure quick identification and remediation of discrepancies and inefficiencies. It also ensures that any further refinement of t the system can be developed to ensure continual improvement of the system is achieved.
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