System integration can boost businesses, improve efficiency

System integration and workflow automation can improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation by putting the precise information needed in front of the user.

08/08/2016


Glenn Johnson is a senior vice president at Magic Software Americas. Courtesy: Glenn Johhnson, Magic Software AmericasThe global market for system integration is booming with the convergence of cloud, mobile, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. According to a study by Grand View Research Inc., the global system integration market is expected to reach $393.10 billion by 2020.

Connecting and automating data and processes are designed to increase efficiency and innovation, which are needed to improve competitiveness. System integration and workflow automation can eliminate unnecessary work and put the precise information needed in front of the user for added efficiency. This is not only true for large enterprises but also for small- and medium-sized businesses.

When companies choose new information technology (IT) systems, typically integration with their other systems is one of the first requirements. Many times this needs to be implemented immediately, especially if a customer is replacing an existing system. Integration platforms can also be used to migrate from one system to another. This can be particularly helpful in keeping business processes running smoothly between systems in a phased migration.

As systems become more complex and continue to expand, it becomes increasingly expensive to staff a wide range of IT experts. Companies looking to hire in-house need to add network administrators, specialists, hardware experts, and software programmers, among others. It doesn't take long for it to become a very large—and expensive—department. For some companies, hiring a third-party contractor could be the only viable option. 

A worthwhile opportunity for vendors

Vendors, implementers, or partners for specialized applications have an opportunity to grow their business by providing system integration services as part of their portfolio. This is especially true for business partners and consultants who specialize in targeted vertical applications; emerging market vendors such as SugarCRM, ServiceMax, and Magento; or in ecosystems of giant vendors such as Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM.

Benefits of system integration services for suppliers include: 

  • Increased value provided to customers makes it easier to sell core products/services
  • Addressing more business needs creates greater revenue opportunities
  • Connections with higher level executives in the client company result in more strategic relationships
  • An intimate knowledge of customer's business processes and data results in a higher likelihood for follow-up business. 

System integration project benefits

While system integration projects have a reputation for becoming unwieldy due to extensive point-to-point programming or expensive and unwieldy system integration architecture, today's integration platforms greatly simplify integration projects. Not only can the right integration platform speed implementation, it also provides documentation and monitoring, not available with hard-coded solutions.

Here are things to look for when choosing an integration tool:

  • A code-free solution that reduces the need for deep technical application knowledge
  • Visual data mapping capabilities, which simplify connections
  • Pre-built and certified tools that connect to IT systems
  • Large library of pre-built technology and protocol adapters for easy connectivity
  • The ability to build full-featured custom connectors for applications that can be reused and resold.
  • In-memory data grid architecture ensures that the entire solution is robust, stable, and scalable
  • A centralized system integration platform, which handles the flow of data between applications and systems.

By providing seamless connectivity and reducing the complexity of systems integration, the right integration platform and partner can put systems integration within reach of even small organizations.

Seize the opportunity

As increasing numbers of businesses invest in system integration in order to improve their efficiency and competitiveness, providing system integration services makes good business sense. By expanding their portfolios to include integration services, business partners and IT consultants working with leading or specialized IT systems can grow their business by increasing business success in both the short- and long-term.

Glenn Johnson is a senior vice president at Magic Software Americas. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

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