System integration is a process where two or more different systems or processes are brought together to facilitate data sharing. In today’s world where there is such a great rise of technological innovations, each company is faced with the challenge of maintaining different systems which manage different processes. Each of these dissimilar systems has its set of data it accepts as input and also a different set of data it produces as its output. From time to time, data output by one system becomes an input for another process or system and this leads to great interdependence between business processes and systems. Because of this, there is a need to consolidate all these processes and systems into one by use of system integration. Integration plays a major role in streamlining business operations as well as in cost management of an organization. Any good integration model should adopt and adhere to the following important integration patterns and practices.
Firstly, any integration of systems should adhere to the pattern of continuous integration. This pattern ensures that integration is ongoing even after the first integration is conducted. New systems acquired in an organization should be easily integrated into the integrated environment. As a result of this, the organization is saved of future procurement costs of integration solutions. Also, this model ensures that integration work that may arise in the future is autonomous and is independent of the development team and thus ensures that the established integration solution is not interfered with.
Secondly, it is important that any integration process pays proper attention to existing subsystems. The subsystems are the key components of any integration work. For a good model, it is required that each subsystem is a standalone and can be tested as a standalone before it is added to the whole integrated system. With the existence of subsystems, integration work is granularized and troubleshooting is made easier.
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Thirdly, the process of system integration should follow closely the configuration control process. This process elucidates the step by step order of tasks which must be performed by the system integrators. This process additionally spells out the correct software and hardware to use for the integration process. This process must be conducted carefully since it is the central point of reference for all the configurations done during the integration process.
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Lastly, any integration process should adhere to the system specifications of the subsystems. The requirement specifications are the how-to information necessary for the understanding a component clearly before it can be added to the integration process. The specifications also define how a component operates and how it will interact with other components after the integration is completed. Additionally, the specification define the data formats the components consumes and produces.