The Importance of Systems Integration

Whether the task is entering items to create an invoice, ordering inventory, making a schedule, sending an email, or something far more complicated the success relies completely on systems integration. The definition of integration is linking different computer systems and software applications to function as a coordinated whole. This sounds easy enough like the only requirement is to get the right software for the computer. The problem is two-fold.

Compatibility

It is essential to know what operating system is in the computer. Microsoft applications will not work on Apple computers and mobile devices, and the inverse is also true. The software and any added applications need to match the computer system. Most users know this, and so do staff at stores and online live chats. The concern regarding compatibility is only an issue for people just purchasing their first computer or other electronic equipment.

Standard Software

The second component of the problem, which is much more common, is that mass-produced software products cannot suit all the needs of all the businesses within an industry. The products off the shelf are created to serve the basic needs and standard procedures of an industry. Software for completing payroll functions, for example, will include spaces for the name, date of birth, filing status, wage, and total hours worked.

Deductions will be taken out and the paystub will include that information as well. A business that offers bonuses, reimburses people for mileage, and pays out commissions will have to enter that information on a separate stub or report. That is just one example but suffice it to say each time a change must be made productivity suffers.

Adding Custom Applications

One way to fix the problem long-term and become more efficient is to have experienced software and application developers add custom components to the existing programs and software. The new applications will be fully integrated into the current systems. The investment is a small one and can drastically increase productivity. The best way for owners to determine if this process is worth the investment is to monitor time spend making changes, adding information several times, or fixing issues when something is omitted. Figure out the cost and compare it to the estimate for new applications.