What is a Systems Integrator?

July 14, 2021



min read

What is a Systems Integrator?

A systems integrator is an enterprise or individual that combines a company's software, hardware, and storage resources to create a complete computing system. Using an integrator over customized implementations aims to create an all-encompassing IT solution at a lower cost. It's much cheaper to combine resources than to buy separate subsystems that are harder to manage.

The emergence of cloud computing means that system integration now involves incorporating cloud applications into a company's computing infrastructure.    

Types of Systems Integrators

Systems integrators vary from one industry to another. Each system is created with its distinct input commands that work according to the business's needs. There are three main types of integration services based on specific fields and types of use.

Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

EAI is the process of uniting business-related databases to ensure that information flows efficiently. An effective EAI setup ensures that any changes made to one application reflect system-wide.  

Some standard EAI technologies include:

  • Service-oriented architecture
  • Web service integration
  • Content integration
  • Business processes

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

EDI is the transfer of business-related data between business partners. Moving from paper-based document transfer to an electronic one makes business processes more efficient and cost-effective.

Data Integration (DI)

Companies typically have several databases. Data Integration allows businesses to consolidate all these data sources into a single central point for efficiency and easier management.

The process involves extracting data from its source, changing its format then combining it into a usable central data point. Data integration is usually the first stage of transforming more extensive separate databases into cohesive sources of information.

Real-world Software Application

A simple example where B2B system integration works to create efficiency is between SetPin and AirBnB. SetPin enables remote management of door locks for commercial and residential establishments. Airbnb is a platform that helps users find accommodation using an app.

SetPin integrated its systems with AirBnB to enable guests to receive a code that unlocks their doors after booking accommodation. This process is implemented using API integration.

A solid systems integration mechanism will ensure that data exchange between these two platforms is done efficiently with minimal system errors.

Real-world Hardware Application

Automation integrators work in various fields and use robotics and automation to streamline industrial processes. Some of the industries where it is present include:

  • Automotive engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Packaging
  • Oil and gas

If you want to start a flip-flop-making company, you may have a business plan and a capable team, but how do you get it up and running.

Automation integrators step in to bring together hardware, software, and technical know-how to start manufacturing efficiently.  

Systems Integrators vs. VARs

These two roles have overlapping features. The critical thing differentiating the two is that a VAR (Value Added Reseller) is a stocking distributor while a Systems Integrator provides customized service at a client's facility.

In essence, a VAR is a product supplier while an integrator works with their customers to implement systems.  

Methods of Implementation

Nailing down the most suitable B2B integrated solution is not a simple task. A clear understanding by the company and the vendor about the required resources and implementation creates common ground.

These are the critical integration methods to be considered.

Vertical Integration  

In this format, unrelated subsystems connect to form a functional unit. Each of the subsystems should benefit from each other. This concept is referred to as 'creating silos' because each data element is stacked on top of another upward.

The main benefits of vertical integration include:

  • Streamlined communication with vendors
  • Relatively easy control of processes
  • Lower operating expenses

Horizontal Integration

Under this system of integration, a customized subsystem is designated to interact with other subsystems. The system mainly supports one-off processes. Benefits include:

  • Operational efficiency
  • It can easily be scaled to incorporate new technology
  • Versatile communication capability

Point-to-Point Integration

This integration interconnects each system with other subsystems, creating a series of interwoven connections.

An example of point-to-point integration is when a company has an accounting system to track finances, an analytics system to manage web traffic, and a CRM. All these systems will essentially run independently, but data could be shared or combined when required. Some of the benefits include:

  • Easy implementation of new features
  • Relatively simple to manage
  • Deployment flexibility

What you should know before implementing system integration

Before engaging a company to implement a system integration strategy, it is essential to ask the right questions. These are a few issues to consider:

Which is the right integration strategy for my company?

If you're outsourcing this service, the service provider should provide credible reasons to justify a specific strategy. Make sure that the recommended approach will offer enough B2B benefits to warrant its implementation.

Appropriate planning with a suitable vendor will offer significant benefits.

Which integration interfaces are available?

There are several connector choices to pick from, ranging from B2B-EDI to custom development. Weigh the different options such as horizontal integration vs. vertical integration and ensure that the vendor recommends the most effective and practical option.

How will the integration affect the existing systems?

Before the process begins, the integration vendor should let you know if the current IT infrastructure can withstand upgrades and how much it will be compromised. An IT ecosystem consists of various evolving technologies, and the effect of integration should not be understated.

How will integration improve future processes?

Always find out the possible scalability of a new project because it has a ripple effect on the overall business processes. Effective system integration should be flexible and versatile enough to withstand future upgrades.  

The Bottom Line

A systems integrator should create a positive change by offering various solutions to make multiple subsystems work together. Some of the evident benefits of integration include:

  • Ability to automate and speed up work
  • Savings from more efficient business processes
  • Easy scalability and future-proofing
  • Improved collaboration with partners

About Launchpad

Launchpad has all the expertise you need if you're looking for a comprehensive software solution for all your integration needs. The U.S-based team is revolutionizing the way business is done by creating AI-powered software and self-supporting assembly systems.

Launchpad can help you shorten the delivery turnaround time using cutting-edge tech if you have a business with a high turnaround.

Contact our team to schedule a consultation meeting.  

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