Modern-day advancements in technology have allowed businesses all over the world to move their operations to digital systems. In the past, organisations were not as confident when adopting new technology. Most of them started on a small scale. Over time, seeing the various benefits of adopting the newest technology, many of them grew confident and underwent a total digital transformation. However, when you have multiple branches of operation within one organisation, it can be difficult to make all the systems work alongside each other. Therefore, it is important that we talk about the various benefits of systems integration, the art of bringing together the various modules and making them work as one unit.
What Is Systems Integration?
These days, most business organisations are eager to ride the high-technology wave. They are all caught up with the latest advancements, and are almost completely digitised and digitalised! But that alone does not guarantee smooth sailing. As mentioned before, this comes with one complication: managing the systems side by side. That is where systems integration comes in.
Suppose you are a business owner. Your organisation is divided into various departments. This helps you to keep the different business functions organised. Ten years ago, you had thought of implementing accounting software for your finance department. Five years after that, your sales department was digitised. Now, you are thinking to switch to more advanced accounting applications and also introduce a new system for HR.
All three software systems, though seemingly independent of each other, are somehow related. There might be some data that both the HR and finance departments need. Your sales and finance departments must be sharing data as well. Since you introduced all three systems separately, you might have even used three separate vendors to install these systems at your organisation. You must do something about linking these systems so that they work together instead of staying disjointed. This process of interlinking multiple systems and/or applications is called systems integration. Efficiency can be achieved by performing HRM-Sales-Accounting software systems integration.
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Now, let’s talk about the various benefits of systems integration.
Key Benefits of Systems Integration
The implementation of any new software system across an organisation is a painstaking process. Why would you want to throw off the post-implementation balance that your business has achieved?
Running multiple software applications without integrating them has numerous disadvantages. Here are a few benefits of system integration and the ways that each helps overcome the problems caused by disorganised systems.
1. Automation and Streamlining
One of the most significant consequences of the systems integration process is the fact that all relevant and correlated data is aggregated. This means data fetching and processing is much easier and smoother for all subsystems. If the development company you hire for your systems integration procedure does its job well, then you will end up with an integrated system that helps you automate and streamline all your business processes owing to perfectly established data flow channels.
2. Accessibility, Accuracy, and Coordination
More often than not, the systems integration process involves compiling data from multiple sources and storing it at a singular location. This means you no longer have to wait long periods for data to be manually synced across multiple systems. Instead, if one subsystem makes any change to the data, it is automatically updated for other systems as well. Thus, one of the major benefits of system integration is the real-time availability and accessibility of data.
The automatic updating and synchronisation of data also lead to higher accuracy since the chances of users accessing outdated data are minimised or completely eliminated.
Due to the latest data being easily accessible for all subsystems, all users are able to work together, leading to improved team coordination. It is also easier to train users on a more simplified system. Additionally, prompt availability of data leads to faster decision-making across all departments, improving the overall business process. Employees will always be aware of recent developments and take any future actions accordingly.
3. Efficiency and Productivity
A disconnect between various departments of an organisation can lead to lower quality of performance. If one subsystem makes a change to their share of data, other subsystems may have to catch up by physically keying in the updated data to their respective data stores.
An integrated system helps achieve higher efficiency by eliminating the need for repetitive manual data entry. Since the system updates the central database automatically, the employees can receive accurate data for further processing. This allows for a lot of time to be saved. Each of the departments can also focus on their respective tasks without having to worry about staying in sync or the activities of other departments. The saved resources can then be spent on more important business activities. Thus, making the workforce not only more efficient but also highly productive are two key benefits of system integration.
4. Cost Efficiency
As we discussed in the previous section, an integrated system eliminates the need for repetitive tasks. Thus, the essential tasks can now be performed more efficiently using the same resources, cutting down on unnecessary costs.
The central storage also eradicates the need for multiple data stores for the same data. It is capable of storing data that is unique to each subsystem as well as methodically categorising any overlapping data. This cuts the cost of excess, unnecessary data storage space.
Another one of the major benefits of system integration is that you do not need to develop a new expensive and expansive system from scratch when you realise the need for a better coordinated organisation-wide software system. Instead, you can hire a specialist to integrate the existing systems to make them work in harmony. This not only saves you money but also precious time and effort that would otherwise go to waste training employees to adopt a brand new system.
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5. Availability of New Performance Insights
With data that is scattered across multiple departments or subsystems, the ever-expanding volume of data makes it increasingly difficult to keep a close eye on the overall performance of the business. Collecting and combining data or consequent analytics reports is a time-consuming hassle. You may have to perform multiple imports and exports and make sure that there are no inconsistencies.
With an integrated system, not only is all of the relevant data available to you at all times but each department’s efficiency is also easily determinable via a central dashboard. An integrated dashboard will have access to the central data store. It will allow you to view relevant data as needed, making your analytical or performance reports more meaningful. By selecting the right parameters, you can either view department-wise progress or perform a holistic review of the business all in one place.
Thanks to the progress that we have been making in terms of data storage, integrated systems now heavily rely on the cloud. Having a separate storage or computing platform for each subsystem requires an exorbitant amount of resources. As data volume increases, you must increase the capacity for each subsystem separately.
When you have an integrated system, this replication is removed. All the subsystems can make use of common resources as needed. If your business operation grows in terms of computation or storage, you can easily request additional resources from the cloud provider. Thus, scalability is one of the key advantages of integration.
So far, we have been talking about the various benefits of system integration. When it comes to security, this can go in your favour or against you.
Isolated systems make it difficult for attackers to compromise all subsystems at once, especially if each subsystem employs a different level of security. However, successfully managing security for multiple systems might be difficult for you to accomplish.
With a centralised system, all your data would be equally vulnerable to compromise. But this problem can be overcome by using a more powerful security tool or algorithm. A single platform’s security would thus be much easier to manage.
We hope that the key benefits of system integration that we have discussed in this article have helped you realise why integration is important for a business.
A comprehensive computer system integration makes data storage and management trouble-free. It provides a central system that is built around a scalable and secure architecture. The improved data collection and retrieval process, coupled with other advantages, allows your business to achieve operational and cost efficiencies.
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