Understanding enterprise systems integration
System integration is an approach aimed at bringing together all systems within an organization/enterprise to function together collective in attaining specific objectives. All systems in an enterprise are tasked with different responsibilities which when brought together; contribute to a greater achievement of objectives and success. Enterprise architecture is made up of several systems and applications which avails all requirements by a company to carry out daily activities, “enterprise integration also captures and describes processes, strategies, organizational structures, resources, goals and constraints of the enterprise” (Bernus et al.,1996).
Systems integrations provide solutions that deal with some basic challenges. Considerations in setting up an integration system are several and they include; reliable networks, fast networks, applications all geared towards attaining set objectives. In system integration, data is transported through several computers across several networks. These computers should be upgraded to handle various kindsof problems. Additionally, in designing a widely distributed system, speed of data flow should be considered.Transmission of data over different networks requiresan efficient system which incorporates all elements required and allows faster flow of information and data across networks.
Moreover, programming languages and modes of operation of all systems integrated in the overall integrated system are different (Hohpe & Woolf, 2012). In this regard, therefore, an efficient system should manage to incorporate all these other networks and come up with one efficient system that serves all of them. This means that the new integration system has to do away with these different technologies in setting up a new system.
There are several categories of integration system which works jointly to foresee success of an organization. Their aim is to establish an appropriate relationship between different elements or parties associated with an enterprise and achieve great success. Customer Relationship System (CRS) is an integration of all systems that will ensure that demands of customers are met at appropriate time and that enterprise provide timely response to complaints. Enterprise Resource System (ERS) is concerned with integration of all systems that ensures that all resources in an enterprise are utilized and optimal use is achieved to attain set objectives. In doing so, this system ensures that there is no unnecessary wastage of resources.
Operating Systems Integration (OSI) is concerned with evaluation, design and implementation of operating systems in an enterprise’s computers to meet set objectives. In this system, all problems relating to an enterprise are diagnosed, analyzed and appropriate solutions found. In addition is the SAP system integration. It is a system integration aimed at ensuring that SAP basis systems are designed and implemented. Its main aim is to ensure all SAP projects goals are attained, and requires wide range of knowledge to implement. Last category involves system architect integration. It aims at supporting the network, enterprise or business functions by designing, developing and implementing both operating and information systems in an enterprise. In doing so, this system will incorporate other basic systems in evaluating customer and clients’ needs plus ensuring that enterprise’s resources are optimally utilized.
Advantages of enterprise wide-system integration
System integration enables a comprehensive access to various data applications and methods hence an improved performance in relation to computational time. This implies that, by integrating several systems, an enterprise has access to wide range of information and saves time in computing such information.
Additionally, systems integration enables simple and easy access to information and data. This is enhanced by having efficient programs that simplify requirements in sub-systems and bring all information at a central point. Moreover, integrated systems enable practitioners to make changes quickly especially if they are minor. This is specifically important because it ensures minimal time wastage in transition and change from one system to the other. Lastly, systems integration “provide integration practitioners good understanding of the integrated application” (Qui, 2013).
Disadvantages of enterprise wide system integration
Wide system integration has a lot of challenges in maintaining large quantities of data involved. Data integrity is sometimes hard to maintain because some logic changes in the application might go against the well stated data integrity constraints unnoticed. Such volumes of data need professional care which at times may be hard to find.
Additionally, wide system integration can be very tedious and time consuming especially where numerous changes are needed. Changes such as updates on data structures and invocation mechanisms for similar elements require a lot of time and can be complicated by having wider systems. Moreover, in some cases, systems are so tightly incorporated that need for change in a particular system would require an overhaul of the whole system. This too can be a tiring process and consumes a lot of time. Lastly, wider systems are vulnerable and prone to new bugs. This interrupts normal operations of enterprises and steals confidentiality of data.
System integration is aimed at bringing together all single elements in an enterprise to function collectively in attaining certain objectives. It may be done within the organization itself or connect an enterprise to the outside world. In all these case, system integration still has benefits and disadvantages. However, it is important to note that well integrated systems allow efficiency and are far much better than non-integrated systems.
Bernus, P., Nemes, L., Williams, T, J. (ed.). (1996). Architectures for Enterprise Integration. Great Britain: Springer, 1996.
Hohpe, G., & Woolf, B. (2012). Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and DeployingMessaging Solutions. Westford, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
Qui, R, G. (2013). Business-Oriented Enterprise Integration for Organizational Agility. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc (IGI).
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