System integration involves connecting two or more independent systems so that information can be exchanged between them. All systems within an organization can be integrated, whether they are databases, cloud services, applications, or ERP systems.
Since system integration leads to automatic data transfer between systems, it is a form of automation. It speeds up internal processes, reduces administrative time, and minimizes the risk of errors since you don't need to manually transfer information from one system to another.
System integration contributes to making information flows within the business unified and efficient, leading to optimized business processes. You can manage your data more effectively, making it easier to analyze existing information. Data exchange between systems becomes faster, and a significant portion of manual work is eliminated which leads to a decreased risk of errors.
This makes your company more flexible and adaptable to changing needs and requirements. It also enables faster decision-making by providing an immediate consolidated view of available information without the need to download multiple reports from separate systems.
Enhances overall experience for your customers as your customer-related systems can be integrated, both with each other and with your internal systems
Creates cost savings opportunities by streamlining your resources
Better security and monitoring
Improves collaboration and ensures more efficient communication within the organization
Most organizations have several different systems, each serving various purposes and business areas such as CRM systems, inventory management systems, financial systems, business systems, customer portals, etc. — and each system is responsible for different types of information. However, as a business, you often need information from one system in one or several other systems. This is where system integration is needed. If you find yourself manually entering the same type of information into multiple systems repeatedly, it's time to consider how efficient this process is.
In general, almost all companies that have different systems that rely on each other's data need system integration — or would at least greatly benefit from it.
Repeatedly enter the same information into different systems
Have information silos where critical information gets stuck in certain departments
Have acquired or merged with another company and need to ensure data is shared between different systems
Want to view data from your systems in real-time and make faster decisions
Want to scale your business but lack the processes or resources that you need to do so
There are several ways to connect systems, some more common than others.
A point-to-point integration simply connects one system to another. It has two ends (i.e., points), and data is transported between the two systems. If a system needs to provide information to multiple systems, it may have several point-to-point integrations connecting it to all the necessary systems.
To avoid the messy spaghetti bowl, another strategy to manage integrations is to have an integration platform. This suits companies with more complex integration requirements that also grow over time. With an integration platform, your integrations exist in a centralized hub in the cloud and are not as dependent on individual systems as point-to-point integrations. As a result, it's much easier to replace and add new systems to the business ecosystem.
Learn more about what an integration platform is and how it can help your business.
Good solution for simple integration needs
Quick to implement
Lower upfront cost
All integrations must be handled separately
Difficult to maintain as the business grows
Better overview and control
Integration components can be re-used
A more complex solution
Higher upfront cost
Longer implementation time
Integration platforms can be procured as an off-the-shelf solution, known as Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Just like when comparing custom software and a ready-made solution, the upfront investment is often slightly lower with the latter and it can be implemented quickly. On the other hand, a custom integration platform provides more flexibility. It’s developed entirely according to your business needs and is therefore preferable for larger organizations with complex integrations.
Several companies offer iPaaS, and as always with "as-a-service" solutions, you buy it as a subscription service. As a result, the provider is responsible for the underlying infrastructure as well as security and maintenance.
At Meta Bytes, we do not offer ready-made integration platforms. Instead, we develop them entirely according to your business and your requirements.
In short, almost all systems are possible to integrate. We’ve created integration flows for, amongst others:
Microsoft Dynamics AX
A clear shift driven by digitalization is a move from large monolithic systems to smaller, individual systems, each with its own purpose. A monolithic system is characterized by needing to do everything, and all components in the system being interconnected like a single large block, sharing a unified codebase. If something needs to be changed, the entire system is affected, and making changes in one component inadvertently affects the others.
However, being the best at everything is challenging, leading to the rise of microservices architecture. It is an architecture where several smaller and loosely coupled components make up the solution. They all have their own code, database, and data management, focusing on a specific business process. Instead of one large system containing all possible functions, you choose the best system for each process.
Going from one large ERP system with all possible functions to multiple applications with clearer, individual functions requires them to integrate smoothly. The more systems you have, the messier it becomes to use point-to-point integrations, making the move to an integration platform a natural one. It will allow you to easily expand your ecosystem while avoiding the need to create individual integrations. You can read more about how the central business system is increasingly being replaced by system integrations.
The advancement of digitalization has led to the integration not only of pure IT systems but also of machines or robots with various types of digital systems – effectively digitalizing the equipment. This is done, among other reasons, for reporting or control purposes. Read more about digitalization of equipment.
By integrating machines and robots into, for example, a production flow, data exchange and data collection can contribute to optimized production processes, more customized manufacturing, and more stable monitoring. In this type of integration, the machines or robots are connected – they communicate with the system.
System integration is crucial to get the most out of your digitalization efforts, so it's important to implement it in a way that creates the best conditions for your organization.
First and foremost, you should review your current situation to identify what you want to improve. Find all the pain points and areas for improvement and also envision how your dream scenario looks. This way, you know your needs and goals for future integrations, having clearly established why you need system integration in your operations. It's also important to involve the right people in your organization, including the leadership, and ensure proper delegation of responsibilities. For example, someone should be responsible for training and user support once the system integration is underway.
Finally, it's time to decide how to integrate your systems - what's right for you? Don't forget to think Finally, it's time to decide how you will integrate your systems – what suits you best? Don't forget to consider how the organization will evolve in the future. how your organization will develop in the future.
Analyse your current state
Imagine your dream scenario
Clarify all requirements and needs
Assemble a team and divide responsibilities
Consider the organization’s future needs, not only those you can see today
System integration is about connecting various systems and applications so that they can communicate and collaborate. This way, previously separate systems work more like a unit and can benefit from each other's data.
System integration is important for organizations to be as efficient as possible in their processes and workflows. With the right type of integration, information can flow in real-time, allowing you to make faster decisions and avoid information silos.
Doing a system integration can range from a smaller project taking a few weeks to a massive half-year project. It entirely depends on the type of systems, how many, and how they need to be integrated. If you are dealing with one or more legacy systems that can no longer be updated, the process becomes more complicated.
In general, all systems you use in your operations can be integrated – HR, CRM, ERP, inventory management, to name a few. It is also possible to integrate physical machines and robots with various IT applications, allowing data from these to flow seamlessly into your systems.
It can take anything from a few weeks to six months. How long it takes depends entirely on the complexity of the project.
If we build the integration platform or integrate your systems in another way, we are of course there after implementation to ensure that everything runs smoothly.