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System integration is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole. This can involve integrating existing, often disparate systems to share information and processes across various organizational levels and networks. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global system integration market size was valued at USD 278.0 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow, highlighting the increasing importance of interconnected systems in the digital age. By enabling data flow from one system to another, businesses can improve efficiency, reduce operational costs, and enhance decision-making processes.
The value of system integration is particularly evident in scenarios where businesses undergo digital transformation or need to streamline operations across multiple platforms. For instance, integrating a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can provide a unified view of customer interactions and business operations, leading to improved customer service and business insights. As technology evolves, the complexity of integration can increase, but so does the potential for innovation and competitive advantage. Effective system integration ensures that technology investments are fully leveraged, creating a seamless and efficient IT ecosystem.
System integration (SI) is the process of implementing new systems that interface with existing systems. It applies to every human discipline, either simple or complicated. SI requires a lot of planning, implementation, and optimization. Software system integration, management system integration, and business system integration are all examples of SI.
The basic goal of SI is to solve problems. Without SI, there will only be solutions that may cause more problems. System integrators are specialists in various disciplines such as finance, technology, engineering, and management.
Software system integration (SSI) usually begins with the definition of the existing systems or solutions. If the existing solution uses outdated technology, SSI would propose a new system based on currently available improvements over the existing solution. In general, the funds used in creating new systems are justified by financial experts by presenting the savings or increased revenue for implementing the proposed solution.
Management system integration (MSI) identifies the existing solutions and proposes new solutions that would tap opportunities. For instance, when wireless technology brought computing power to people in the field, the turnaround time to resolve new action was greatly reduced. New developments in software and communications technology allow people to reduce the time needed to brainstorm and make decisions.
System integration as a business will always have huge potential. Any customer with a need to optimize any aspect of its operation may require the help of people from the SI business. The SI process usually begins with a request for proposal (RFP) from the customer. For instance, if the customer is the security department of a company, the RFP could define the existing problems experienced by the security personnel.
A solutions company then submits a proposal. The proposal includes the definitions of existing problems as well as the proposed solutions. For an RFP that emphasizes the need to beef up nighttime security, for example, the proposal could include night-vision closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. The cost aspect is taken into account by proposing solutions within the customer’s budget.
System integration may involve any kind of system that implements a solution and the solution must have measurable returns. When the proposed system can save on expenses or help generate revenue, the system is evaluated based on other benefits and risks. For instance, nuclear energy is harnessed mostly because of the very low per unit cost of power, but there is a risk of radioactive contamination, which is harmful to people and the environment.