System integration connects devices and systems, often with computers, software and networks, to optimize throughput or the process. System integrators for automation and controls design and integrate computerized control systems for industrial machines, manufacturers or facilities.
System Integration Articles
System integration can boost businesses, improve efficiency
System integration and workflow automation can improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation by putting the precise information needed in front of the user.
The global market for system integration is booming with the convergence of cloud, mobile, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. According to a study by Grand View Research Inc., the global system integration market is expected to reach $393.10 billion by 2020.
Connecting and automating data and processes are designed to increase efficiency and innovation, which are needed to improve competitiveness. System integration and workflow automation can eliminate unnecessary work and put the precise information needed in front of the user for added efficiency. This is not only true for large enterprises but also for small- and medium-sized businesses.
When companies choose new information technology (IT) systems, typically integration with their other systems is one of the first requirements. Many times this needs to be implemented immediately, especially if a customer is replacing an existing system. Integration platforms can also be used to migrate from one system to another. This can be particularly helpful in keeping business processes running smoothly between systems in a phased migration.
As systems become more complex and continue to expand, it becomes increasingly expensive to staff a wide range of IT experts. Companies looking to hire in-house need to add network administrators, specialists, hardware experts, and software programmers, among others. It doesn’t take long for it to become a very large—and expensive—department. For some companies, hiring a third-party contractor could be the only viable option.
A worthwhile opportunity for vendors
Vendors, implementers, or partners for specialized applications have an opportunity to grow their business by providing system integration services as part of their portfolio. This is especially true for business partners and consultants who specialize in targeted vertical applications; emerging market vendors such as SugarCRM, ServiceMax, and Magento; or in ecosystems of giant vendors such as Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM.
Benefits of system integration services for suppliers include:
- Increased value provided to customers makes it easier to sell core products/services
- Addressing more business needs creates greater revenue opportunities
- Connections with higher level executives in the client company result in more strategic relationships
- An intimate knowledge of customer’s business processes and data results in a higher likelihood for follow-up business.
System integration project benefits
While system integration projects have a reputation for becoming unwieldy due to extensive point-to-point programming or expensive and unwieldy system integration architecture, today’s integration platforms greatly simplify integration projects. Not only can the right integration platform speed implementation, it also provides documentation and monitoring, not available with hard-coded solutions.
Here are things to look for when choosing an integration tool:
- A code-free solution that reduces the need for deep technical application knowledge
- Visual data mapping capabilities, which simplify connections
- Pre-built and certified tools that connect to IT systems
- Large library of pre-built technology and protocol adapters for easy connectivity
- The ability to build full-featured custom connectors for applications that can be reused and resold.
- In-memory data grid architecture ensures that the entire solution is robust, stable, and scalable
- A centralized system integration platform, which handles the flow of data between applications and systems.
By providing seamless connectivity and reducing the complexity of systems integration, the right integration platform and partner can put systems integration within reach of even small organizations.
Seize the opportunity
As increasing numbers of businesses invest in system integration in order to improve their efficiency and competitiveness, providing system integration services makes good business sense. By expanding their portfolios to include integration services, business partners and IT consultants working with leading or specialized IT systems can grow their business by increasing business success in both the short- and long-term.
Glenn Johnson is a senior vice president at Magic Software Americas. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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System Integration FAQ
What are some examples of system integration?
There are many examples of using system integration in an industrial environment. One example is connecting a programmable logic controller (PLC) to a machine control system, allowing the PLC to control the operation of the machine and receive input from sensors. Another is connecting a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with a manufacturing line, which allows the SCADA system to monitor and control the production process. They also can integrate a safety system with a machine, allowing the machine to detect and respond to potential safety hazards.
What is the role of a system integrator?
A system integrator is a company or individual that specializes in designing, building and implementing systems that integrate different subsystems, such as machines, sensors, actuators and other equipment, to work together as a cohesive whole. The role of a system integrator in an industrial environment includes analyzing the requirements of the customer, designing and building the system, implementing and commissioning the system, providing training and support and maintaining and upgrading the system.
What are some different types of system integration?
In industrial environments, there are several types of system integration, including for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCSs), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and more. The system integrator is responsible for ensuring everything works together in harmony and are operating in a system that will not break down. They also can provide staff training and support for more complex projects.
What is the importance of the system integration in the manufacturing industry?
System integration in the manufacturing industry is important for several reasons:
- Improved efficiency and productivity: By connecting different systems and devices, manufacturers can automate processes and streamline operations, which can lead to increased efficiency and productivity.
- Better data management: Integrating systems allows for the collection and analysis of data from different sources, which can provide valuable insights into production processes and improve decision-making.
- Enhanced flexibility: Integrating systems allows for the seamless integration of new technologies, such as IoT devices and automation systems, which can improve the flexibility of production lines and allow manufacturers to respond quickly to changes in demand.
- Improved quality control: Integrating systems allows for real-time monitoring of production processes, which can improve quality control and reduce the risk of defects or errors.
- Increased connectivity and collaboration: Integrating systems allows for the sharing of data and functionality between different departments and systems, which can improve collaboration and communication within an organization.
- Predictive maintenance: Integrating systems allows for the collection of data from various sources such as equipment sensor and analysis of it to predict when maintenance is needed, which can lead to fewer downtime and more productive use of the equipment.
- Remote monitoring and control: Integrating systems allows for remote monitoring and control of production processes, which can improve safety and reduce the need for on-site personnel.
Some FAQ content was compiled with the assistance of ChatGPT. Due to the limitations of AI tools, all content was edited and reviewed by our content team.