If you’re looking to improve the quality and efficiency of the software systems that you use in your business, you may think that your only way out is rebuilding these
systems. But did you know that a systems integration can save you the hassle and still deliver great results?
For this to work, however, you have to do it right, which is what this article is all about.
What is software integration?
The term software integration simply refers to the process of combining two or more pieces of software into a single, unified system. That way, these programs can use common workflows and eliminate data disparities that cause inaccuracy.
To enjoy the numerous benefits of software integration, it’s crucial to pay attention to the following best practices:
1. Map your process flows
This practice is all about analyzing existing processes and how they use and manage data. Thanks to such detailed analysis, it’s easier to understand the effect that integration will have on your existing setup.
That way, you can avoid taking a path that will cause issues such as data replication or crossovers. Additionally, analysis is vital to giving you insights into the scope and complexity of your integration project, so that you can plan early enough.
2. Research APIs
Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are critical to software integration, allowing easier access to data and integration with products.
You need to determine whether an API exists for the products that you are using, and if it does, find out about other details such as any existing restrictions, frequency & sizes of updates. Such details, while seeming trivial, will have a great impact on the operation of the resulting system.
3. Integrate workflows, not data flows
Integrating systems at the database level seems like a good idea, but that can cause more harm than good. That’s because database-level integration may result in issues when updating files and records, thus impacting all the programs that run on the database.
Integrating workflows is a better move since it ensures better business logic and data validation, which enhances the accuracy of the final data values.
4. Avoid data duplication
The best scenario of integration is where the integrated systems hold data individually, rather than the data having to reside on several systems. A good way of preventing data duplication would be to enable updates on just a single system, and then roll out the changes, as opposed to updating individually.
This means having only one integrated system that maintains a particular data entity, as opposed to there being multiple such systems. Such situations often result in undesirable race conditions and issues during auditing.
5. Use a modular approach during integration
Taking a modular approach when integrating applications is a great idea if you want to reduce the overall risk of your project. That’s in consideration that in some cases, you are updating the systems while they are still in use.
As such, delivering the results of your project in stages can help to manage possible errors at the earliest stage, while speeding up the availability of functionalities to users.
There you have it,
Five best practices for software integration that will increase the chances of succeeding in your project. Considering that software integration is an intricate and delicate project that affects various operations of your business, however, it’s a good idea to team up with software integration experts for the best overall results.