System integration is your key digital solution
Businesses frequently get so engaged in developing their next significant innovative invention that they overlook improvements to what they currently have. They’re often so set on adding that additional audience-captivating prop to their juggling act that they take their eye off the ball. If one takes a step back to focus on system integration, a more holistic view comes to the fore.
Allowing data to flow from one system (your e-commerce website, for example) to another (your shipping partner) will streamline operations – reducing errors and increasing speed and efficiency. From here, you can add the next innovative ball with relative ease.
Businesses need to think about system integration with every new step, especially given the increasingly complex need for coordination between often disparate organisational units.
“The best performances rely heavily on what goes on behind the curtain. The audience should be so immersed in the great experience that they are oblivious to what’s happening backstage.”
– Simon Bestbier, Realm Digital CEO
Benefits of systems integration
The benefits of system integration are countless. However, the following are some of the top benefits businesses can’t ignore:
- An integrated system allows data to be automatically passed between systems – saving time and reducing the chance of errors present when manually copying data
- Integrated systems help your organisation to scale, reducing the need to increase staff overheads – this could mean accepting more orders or accepting more subscribers
- Risk mitigation
If implemented correctly, system integration will help you tidy up your mesh of various IT systems and applications so that they work in unison. With this backstage support, you can create the ultimate user experience/show for your customers.
System Integration is more than simply “modernising your IT infrastructure”
Every team member wants their contribution to make an impact and add genuine value. To do this, they think they need the kind of ideas that stand centre stage under the spotlight. However, to make an impact you should start backstage. Relook at your IT architecture and focus on optimising data flow between systems. One step back to take two forward.
This might require you to rid your business of some disparate and legacy systems, however it’s not just about replacing your hardware and software. The focus should be on creating a more centralised and supportive system. For this, execution is everything.
Imagine if your employees could spend less time on laborious tasks (such as data entry) and more time thinking about innovative ways to solve other existing business challenges. Employees, departments, partners, and customers all benefit from the workflow efficiencies that come with system integration. Instant access to real-time data (where and when you need it) makes for better and quicker decision-making. For example, you shouldn’t have to wait days for accounting and stock reports. The most up-to-date information should always be at your fingertips. Creating one centralised system also means having one centralised security system protecting all your data – rather than securing many individual systems.
Horizontal integration and vertical integration
System integration can be one of two types: vertical system integration or horizontal system integration. Horizontal system integration is the integration of different processes and systems across organisations. An excellent example of this is integrating a CRM system with an e-commerce website to create a personalised user experience. Vertical system integration integrates different processes and systems within the same organisation such as integrating an e-commerce website with back-end stock management systems.
How to approach your system integration project
This is a highly intricate process. It’s easy to get caught up in the technicalities and forget some of the basic steps. Here are ten reminders:
- Use strategic thinking to avoid costly downtime or scope creep
- Consider if the legacy systems in your business are holding you back
- Take time to find the proper integration software for your needs
- Backup all your data first
- Resist the temptation to only focus on your new systems
- Simplify wherever you can
- Automate whatever you can
- Test, test, and test again at each stage in the process
- Put an integrated system maintenance schedule in place
- Invest in staff through upskilling to ensure tech adoption BEFORE launch
- Remember that integration should be an ongoing process
Many stakeholders share the sentiment that system integration can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Besides the fact that system integration is sitting in many enterprise businesses’ blind spots while they strive to innovate, even those who recognise its importance often put it off. Some elements of system integration can indeed be pretty complex, especially where legacy systems are involved. Still, often, it can be as simple as clicking a button to connect Xero and Harvest. Either way, aligning with trusted digital experts will help you select the best course of action in meeting your system integration needs. Taking the path of least resistance starts by putting your trust in the right hands.
Realm Digital’s role
Realm Digital’s lens of focus is to work closely with our clients until we identify that sweet spot. Then, we draw on our experience and run with it. We can design and build your customised architecture, or integrate new applications with your existing software and hardware – creating one unified system. By removing the complexity of multiple systems, data and functionality can flow seamlessly and with speed.
Realm’s expertise in organisational change, process re-engineering, and robotic process automation helps businesses to improve productivity and operational quality, lower costs, reduce turnaround times, and optimise business processes. We can ensure your left hand always knows what the right hand is doing in your business’ juggling act.