Barbara Babati 18.09.2018 14 min read

System Integrators

Our blog on what system integration is has been a real success. There has been immense interest in the topic. This is why we thought to dive deeper into the topic of system integrator. Who is a system integrator? What do they do? What are their roles and responsibilities? How will they help your organization to accelerate your digital transformation?

Previously, we have been writing about iPaaS in a lot of detail. iPaaS is an excellent tool for system integration. We have also gathered the list of the best iPaaS providers. Make sure to check out those post as well, as you may find a lot of value in them.

This time we wanted to be more specific to help those of you that are specifically looking for system integrators, you want to understand how they can help your enterprise, and how they can support your integration strategy and digitalization initiative.

What do system integrators do?

A system integrator is an organization that is specializing in connecting both internal and external often disparate systems, applications, data storages or cloud-based software solutions. The ultimate goal of this process is that these different entities could communicate with each other concerning sharing data in real-time or automating business-critical processes for improved efficiency. 

While decades ago, system integrators were coding their solutions, today, many offers tools for increasing the speed of deploying connectivity between different systems. 

Not long ago, most of the systems enterprises used were all on premise. Now, more and more are using cloud-based applications, software, or databases. This cannot be an excuse for them. They need to be able to enable connectivity even in the most demanding system integration scenarios.

Most system integrators are prepared to support hybrid system integration needs. They are aware of the challenge, and most of them can deliver integrations between systems and applications.

There are a lot of system integrators out there. Depending on your specific integration requirements, you need to consider all the capabilities they offer to ensure that you can comply with your integration strategy. This is something that we will discuss later in this post in more details.

3 important system integrator capabilities

When you are looking for a system integrator, you may have a few specific capabilities in your mind that you need. Here are three crucial system integrator capabilities that most of the enterprises need:

1. Enterprise application integration

Enterprise application integration (EAI) is a form of system integration that is focusing on improving the connectivity of the enterprise. EAI is a challenging form of integrations. EAI solutions need to be highly customized, especially as EAI deals with various disparate systems within the organization. Even though the systems, software, and applications are situated within the organization, they may be geographically disparate, or the technologies were purchased at different times. This means there could be legacy systems and modern applications to connect. EAI also needs to ensure data routing, data transfer, and data transformation.

Typically, it is used to connect customer relationship management, supply chain management, business intelligence systems and software so different departments within the enterprise could share data with each other and improve collaboration.

Traditionally, EAI has been used for on premise integration. Since many organizations have started to adapt to the cloud, that has complicated the process and being able to deliver hybrid integrations became a must. Different architectures, different computing languages, legacy systems, modern applications, different data formats.

Some of the benefits of EAI is that all data is available in real-time to all the right stakeholders, as well as it enables the automation and optimization of the processes.

In this blog, we are not going to discuss EAI in more details. In case, you would be interested in this topic, you should read one of our blog posts from the archive. It’s a relatively short article that summarizes EAI including all the most important details. 

2. Business process management (BPM)

Business process management (BPM) is one of the reasons why many would invest in system integrations, and they would need to utilize a vendor specialized in the area. 

Connecting systems can help to automate processes and ultimately improving them by having visibility of how these processes work, analyzing all different scenarios, pointing out improvement possibilities, creating an improvement plan, and executing it for more optimized processes.

It’s important to note here that a single connection between two systems won’t necessarily solve your challenges regarding improving your business processes. It’s just a tool that can help you identify bottlenecks and pinpoint improvement possibilities.

BPM often involves the automation of business processes as well to some extent. 

3. Data quality

We have written a long post on data quality before. How does data quality belong to system integration? 

The truth is that while we are connecting systems and applications, in the end, we will be transferring data between various entities. Like we have written in our article, data is almost useless when the data quality is not flawless. 

Having unstructured, false data at your disposal is not going to help you make better insights and draw better conclusions for decision making.

Whether you need a data integration or a system integration solution, you should always consider whether the vendor can provide you with solutions for improving data quality. In case, your partner cannot offer that, you need to look for another provider or a tool.

The roles and responsibilities of system integrators

Integrations are becoming crucial for organizations, yet, it’s a complex task to execute right. Whether it’s data or system integration, once you hire a third party to help you with complying your integration strategy and guide you through your integration challenges, you need to be able to clearly define the roles and the responsibilities of the integration vendor.

This is no different in the case of system integrators either. The role of system integrators have strategic importance: the better they can support your integration strategy, the more edge you can gain in terms of digitalizing your operations and processes.

Previously, the list of responsibilities was short: connect various systems and application both within and outside the organization. Now they need to take into consideration other variables as well – such as being able to deliver hybrid integrations, deal with different data formats, and maintain data integrity for flawless data quality.

While system integrators plan and design the integration solutions, they need to understand how the underlying processes are going to affect the end user experience. 

By choosing a vendor that can best understand your integration strategy, you can set your integration project up for success and achieve the best possible results. 

System integration pricing 

When you start evaluating system integrators based on the price, you will notice that the differences between vendors are significant. 

Some well-known vendors will charge you a premium for their services and tools, while others will cost you a lot less.

If you want to make sure that you get your dollar gets to go as far as possible, you need to do the same what you would do in case any of your personal purchases as well: do your research well instead of just going with the vendor you’ve heard the most about. Based on our experience, the savings can be more than 80% in some cases. 

Of course, the final price tag depends on a lot of variables. It can depend on the tool that the system integrator is using, whether you need to purchase training or not so your IT team would be able to use the tool, or will the system integrator vendor provide you with a fully managed service? In that case, it means that you have already saved on paying for the tool and the training, and instead you just work for the work that is done for you. In this case, the most savings also come from the fact that you do not need to have your own in-house integration team to develop the integration solutions for you. This is extremely valuable as integration skills are scarce, so it’s challenging to find someone that could help you – and once you have found someone, you may pay a premium for it. 

If you want to read more about how integrations are typically priced, you may want to check out our article on integration pricing.

iPaaS company as a system integrator?

Unless, you have a purely EAI case, you should look for a vendor that has specialized in delivering enterprise application integrations.

If you have other integration needs as well, you may want to look for a more comprehensive tool. It’s always easier to work with only one vendor that can support you in many different integration cases than look for separate vendors for all your different scenarios.

Many has been starting to use an iPaaS for resolving all their integration challenges. If you want to know how iPaaS can support your digitalization, keep reading our blog for more details.  

Learn more about iPaaS by downloading our eBook:

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