Custom software development is the ultimate solution the majority of businesses come to eventually. However, before taking such a huge step forward, it’s important to have sufficient resources.
Many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the budget to opt for customized software. So every time they need certain functionality, they invest in off-the-shelf programs.
With time, the number of such programs becomes overwhelming. Working with them puts pressure on the staff and forces them to do unnecessary tasks, such as entering the same data into numerous systems in order for them to process it.
When the number of such programs starts affecting the productivity of the company, business owners start thinking about system integration.
WHAT IS SYSTEM INTEGRATION?
The global system integration market size was $278 billion in 2018, and it keeps growing at a fast rate.
System integration brings different programs together to function smoothly without interfering with each other or demanding identical actions from the users. System integration is an excellent alternative to custom software development for companies that don’t have time or funds to hire developers.
Integration allows different programs to interact with each other, building an alternative to the custom software. Small companies can benefit from the process the most since they are unlikely to need custom software just yet while the number of separate apps keeps growing.
System integration is not as simple as it may sound. And it’s not always the ideal solution for small businesses. Such action comes with ups and downs, which the business owner must consider before diving into the complex sea of integration.
ADVANTAGES OF SYSTEM INTEGRATION
The advantages of system integration may be obvious for some business owners. However, it’s important to understand the full picture.
1. Increased productivity
The most important advantage of system integration is that it boosts the company’s productivity tremendously. Working with different systems and programs takes up a substantial amount of time, forcing the employees to focus on repetitive manual actions rather than on projects at hand.
Each small mistake made when entering information into different programs could lead to serious problems. The chances of making such an error grow significantly with the addition of each new component.
Experts at Entrance Consulting share that integration allows you to cut the time spent on repetitive actions and keeps the mistakes to a minimum, thus helping you increase the company’s productivity.
2. Better management and analysis
A high number of programs makes it tough to analyze the way a company works. Running different analyses for each program isn’t just time-consuming, it’s often useless.
You can‘t compare and contrast such analysis; you have to figure out how to get to the big picture. With different programs working independently, it’s almost impossible. The lack of proper analysis can put you behind the competition and lead to unnecessary expenses.
With system integration, you can get an all-encompassing understanding of how well your business is doing and make well-founded decisions about its future development.
3. Lower cost
The cost of maintaining different systems can be rather high. Each program requires certain maintenance, which may need to be done at different times. Coordinating maintenance and upgrades can be time-consuming and costly. Hours spent on total support may exceed the hours the entire system is working.
With system integration, you can cut the maintenance cost significantly and avoid unnecessary downtime.
4. Improved customer satisfaction
System integration allows you to achieve better customer satisfaction by reducing the time you spend on providing your products and services. Working with multiple systems and programs can take up too much of your time. Meanwhile, trying to find a mistake and fix it may take even longer.
DISADVANTAGES OF SYSTEM INTEGRATION
Even though system integration seems to be an excellent solution to many problems related to using multiple software, it has several downsides.
1. Security issues
When it comes to security matters, having several programs is better than one integrated system. Once you go through system integration, any hack or fraud could get access to all of your data rather than one part of it.
System integration makes your information more vulnerable than it used to due to the channels through which data flows from one program to another.
2. Complex upgrading
When it comes to upgrading the system, your IT team is likely to have a tough time. Integration doesn’t turn several programs into one, it just ties them together. Meanwhile, they still need to be upgraded separately. The process is complex and time-consuming.
3. High cost
Even though you can save money on system maintenance, you still have to pay for each program separately. Sometimes, costs are so high that a business owner may start thinking about custom program development rather than system integration.
Even though system integration has a few disadvantages, it’s an excellent solution for small and medium-sized businesses that are losing time and money working with multiple programs. Sometimes system integration can be a cheaper solution than custom software development and provide many more advantages for the company, and sometimes vice versa. The pros and cons of each will need to be weighed and the best decision made for your individual needs.