Although the term system integration means to have to systems working together in a complementary way, the technical aspects to this concept is very broad as it highly depends on the context. Some of the common forms of integration include:
- Third party API integration: This is usually used when we want to utilize a specific service from an existing provider. The provider provides the APIs that we will use to run this service. One of the famous examples is sending SMS from your website, you get API from one of the providers like Twilio.
- Website/mobile app integration with system: This is often requested when you have a system (or ERP) that you rely on in your company’s operations and would like your website (especially in the case of ecommerce) to display and be functional in synch with the system without having to do the double work. This will require cooperation with the provider of your system, and there will be many ways to keep the system and the website synchronized. An analysis of the capability of the system is required and based on that the proper means of integration is done.
- External organizations want to benefit from a service that you provide: This is usually done when you have a popular system and there are many external organizations that would like to use your service. One example is that if you provide a delivery service, and there are some merchants who would like to utilize your service to deliver their goods to their clients. In order to integrate your system with theirs you will need to create the necessary APIs so that the order from their system is directly sent to your database and a result the risks of mistakes are significantly reduced.
We have only mentioned the most frequently requested integrations however the complete list is long. It is very important to note that the integration if not done properly could lead to detrimental results. There are several reasons that should be pointed to attention:
- In many cases the integration will require cooperation between two providers to serve the same client. Therefore close coordination is required from all parties. Which means the coordination time should be taken into consideration when setting the project plan.
- Hackers view integrations as potential weak links to penetrate a system. Special attention must be paid to how the integration is technically designed and executed in order to ensure proper performance, without compromising security
- When doing integration, (as is the case in designing any system) scalability, portability and usability should be kept in mind. The system sharing the information should organize the data in a way to make the job of the receiver easier to process, this is why a good understanding of the business process is required from the early stages of the project in order to avoid loss of time and money later on due to changes in the technical designs