7 Steps in the System Integration Process
Companies in the advanced manufacturing space commonly use multiple systems in their daily operations. One system may monitor shipments and orders, while another might track inventory levels. One major issue with using multiple systems is they do not naturally communicate or exchange information with each other. This leads to inefficiency and the need for manual updates and data transfers. There is a way to fix all of these problems - with system integration.
What is system integration?
System integration is basically getting all of the native systems your business uses to “speak” to one another. By integrating systems, you can then develop an interface or dashboard that contains all of the information you need in one place. There’s no longer a need to jump back and forth between systems or update the same information in multiple places. Talk about a time saver!
7 step process to system integration
There are 7 steps in the process of system integration. Each step is necessary to properly get your systems communicating together.
Step 1 - Gathering information and planning
The first step is to gather all the information needed, including requirements and expectations. This means listing all of the systems that need to be integrated and researching the best method of integration for each one. For more information on the different types of system integration, check out our recent blog post here.
Step 2 - Analysis of the gathered information
After all the necessary information is gathered, it’s time to analyze it. This is a deeper dive into planning and involves laying out all the steps and structure of the integration. The goal of this step is to determine operational feasibility. There can be various ways to accomplish this, so it’s important to figure out what is optimal.
Step 3 - Design
Now that you have all the data you need and a plan has been established, the next step is to design and wireframe the structure or architecture of the integration. This starts with a strong foundation, then incorporating all the other elements so they can work as one. If you’ve opted to have a custom interface created, this step will also include the design of that piece. It’s common that during the designing process, there are a few different iterations in order to get everything right. And it’s important to get everything right in this step, because once development begins, changes can be much more difficult and expensive to make.
Step 4 - Development
Now it's time to take the design and actually develop it into working software. Depending on the complexity of the integration, this step will likely take the longest time to complete. This is where all of the code is written and the interface is actually created. Once this step is complete, there will be a working, functional model to test.
Step 5 - User testing
Like any development project, the software or application needs to be tested thoroughly. One wrong character in the code can lead to errors or bugs. Developers spend time going through the entire program and testing all of the functionality. If any bugs are found, they are tracked, fixed, and retested.
Step 6 - Implementation
The moment everyone has been waiting for - the launch of the new software. Now that everything has been developed and tested, it’s time to improve your operational efficiency.
Step 7 - Maintenance
The last step is ongoing and includes any software updates, tweaks, or revisions. It’s recommended that, as long as they are still fit to do the job, the developer of the system integration software makes the updates and changes needed. This is commonly done each month, but can be monitored more often to ensure everything is working as it should.
The system integration process takes time to complete, but it needs to be done right so the output of information is reliable and accurate. It’s highly recommended that these projects be completed by developers with experience in system integration, especially for companies with more complex systems.
If you’re interested in finding out more about an optimal solution for your manufacturing company, just click the link below. We can help you find that perfect solution, even if we aren’t the developers to actually build it.