What is system integration and why it is (really) necessary

3 min

Systems integration solutions can provide your company with greater productivity and quality in business operations. This is because integrated systems provide an increase in the speed of information flows and a reduction in operational costs, in addition to promoting the connectivity necessary to overcome other software or hardware challenges associated with these flows.

In this blog post we will discuss the importance and benefits of systems integration in an organisation, as well as the challenges that the Middleware area can help to overcome.

What is system integration?

Systems integration plays a fundamental role within a company, as it facilitates communication between systems that do not normally communicate. So, what is system integration?

Integration ensures that all systems work together and in harmony to increase productivity and data consistency. In addition, it aims to resolve the complexity associated with increased communication between systems, since they provide a reduction in the impacts of changes that these systems may have.

Taking the example above as an example, this is a scenario of an integration that already exists between two systems that communicate directly without a middleware component intermediating their integration. Imagine that today you have to replace one of these two systems. The impact on the application that already consumes the service is very high, different from when we use a Middleware component such as Enterprise Service Bus, where these consumer applications would hardly have any impact, since nothing would change for the calling systems. This leaves the Middleware in charge of replacing the new system’s call, thus ensuring the uniformity of information across the business ecosystem.

What are the benefits, and why is system integration important?

One of the main benefits of integration is providing critical available information quickly across all systems. This allows the business to take advantage of faster and more assertive decision-making. Systems integration also promotes:

Consistency:

Systems integration allows for the automated exchange of consistent information between different systems. Example: One system may be updated with a customer’s new address, but another system may not be receiving that update. The integration of both systems in this update mitigates the problems associated with inconsistent information, improving the efficiency and overall quality of the associated business processes.

Agility and innovation:

The integration of systems and data between departments and organisations enhances innovation and a higher value offer. In addition to a direct communication line available internally within the organisation and for customers and partners, systems integration solutions can provide access to useful information, streamlining the associated business processes. For example, during the purchase of a product by a customer, the systems integration will allow that using an online platform, they can see what is or is not in stock and what the expected delivery date is. This transparency creates greater confidence in the process and demonstrates that the integration of systems, even where not visible to the user, is a fundamental part of creating value.

Integrating systems, data and processes makes the business more agile and efficient, allowing for an incremental construction approach based on abstraction and reuse, which facilitates the modelling of the global application architecture appropriately in the organisational context.

Is middleware just about creating connections between systems?

Typically, the term ‘Middleware’ refers to the challenge of interconnecting communication between systems: the mediation, transformation, and transport of information from system A to system B. However, Middleware is more than this: it is the centrepiece that manages the diversity and heterogeneity of the entire application connectivity ecosystem in an organisation, serving not only the technical purposes related to protocols, message formats and security, but also functional needs, such as the management of APIs, access and identities.

Every organisation needs to manage access and authentication on different systems. Imagine a corporation managing multiple systems with various modes of authentication and with other user bases, the same point of reflection applies to APIs; exposing APIs to the Internet without control or management of these is very high risk, the effort to maintain a structure controlled without a Middleware component is costly and will bring a lot of headaches.

In conclusion, it is clear that Middleware is not just for integrating systems and centralising from the authentication layer to the control of information transmitted between different applications. Please consult the playbook “Integration and Agility: The Secret of the Digital Revolution” to learn more about these and other integration scenarios.

Vitor DarelaWhat is system integration and why it is (really) necessary

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