The growing importance of system integration
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, business owners need to ensure that they have a complete process in place that is supported by technology and fully integrated rather than having a number of systems and subsystems that create silos and are difficult to manage too. In today’s world, there is an abundance of software solutions available for businesses that help them improve productivity and efficiency. The only problem seems to be the ‘variety’. Meaning – a number of disparate systems working individually to provide certain functionality. Well, these systems need to be integrated in order to provide value to the business in terms of operational efficiency. This does not mean mere communication between the systems – integration helps you drill down into the data across the various functions – hence adding value to the entire system.
For example, there is a frequent - disconnect between the backend Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software systems and Web interfaces such as web stores. These are two of the most crucial software for modern operations and are often managed as separate silos with little or none communication between them.
Let’s elaborate this example. Consider a business that is rapidly growing – as a result of the newly implemented ecommerce solution. The business attracted a whole new client base due to this new approach. Now, the orders become overwhelming and this further results in rapid stock-outs. The most appropriate solution is to have an ERP system with reorder levels that would help prevent these kinds of circumstances. However, sometimes stock outs are inevitable and cannot be avoided. This is where system integration comes into picture. With a proper integration between the ERP and ecommerce software, customers can be informed of the fact that the order will not be available and cannot be fulfilled. This greatly improves customer satisfaction.
Furthermore maintaining systems independently could be a daunting task. Business system integration allows for automatic product updates that appear on the website and the changes made in the inventory are automatic too. It’s hence a no brainer that these two systems should be integrated at the database level to facilitate proper functionality.
Another scenario to consider is when there is a problem with either the web store or the backend ERP system. It is much easier to support and troubleshoot a tightly integrated system and pin point where the problem is, rather than troubleshooting two separate systems. Furthermore, updating and upgrading systems that are tightly integrated into each other is much easier too.
Overall, with business system integration you can provide your business with a long term sustainable solution at affordable costs too! This is exactly why decision makers should always seek as few systems as possible that are seamlessly integrated, rather than employing disparate systems to accomplish certain business tasks.