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System Integration – What is Systems Integration Process with Examples? Everything you need to know about it

What is System Integration?

System integration refers to the process of integrating multiple sub-systems to create a larger system. The resulting larger system created through system integration encompasses the functions of all subsystems together. In simple words, system integration enables the resulting larger system to overarch the functionalities of each sub-system, creating a unified platform for efficient workflow processes and Operations.

System integration offers the best utility to businesses looking to improve the efficiency of workflow processes, thereby looking to improve productivity and quality of operations. Systems integration enables symbiosis of various NetSuite IT systems, enabling them to seamlessly communicate with each other, thereby, avoiding time and efforts of manually sharing the information between different business functions. Thus, by undertaking systems integration, organizations improve the flow of information between departments for improved efficiency, as well as, reduce the operational costs.

The system integration process also connects businesses with third-party stakeholders including vendors, shareholders, and customers. Each of these stakeholders has a specific interest in the information generated from the company. Besides, it also enables suppliers to keep a check on the inventory levels, while enabling customers to track their ordered products, as well as, keep shareholders updated with the performance levels of the company through interactive and integrated reports. Thereby, systems integration is meant to optimize the entire business operations by integrating all the various business functions for greater efficiency and subsequently higher productivity.

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What is ERP vs CRM Systems Integration?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a dedicated platform that is meant to enable businesses to organize, analyze, and utilize customers’ data more efficiently. In broader sense, CRM is a type of system integration that connects multiple business functions related to storage, handling, processing, and analyzing customers’ data like contact details, transaction history, contacts, and others. In a nutshell, CRM brings about the entire “relationship” of customers in an interactive form for business leaders to identify strengths and potential low performing areas that can be optimized to increase sales.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is another system integration example, which is meant to manage the entire business’s workflow processes and operations. ERP integrates all business functions, bringing about the automation of each function to improve the data flow between them and subsequently increasing the business efficiency. An ERP system integrates all aspects of business operations including sales, marketing, development, inventory, vendor management, and others. Like systems integrations, the ultimate objective of ERP is to optimize business processes by linking different business functions for improved data flow. All of this to achieve greater business efficiency, and increase revenue.

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What is the NetSuite ERP System Integration with Examples?

NetSuite ERP system integration is meant to improve the utilization of the NetSuite ERP system for greater efficiency and productivity.

NetSuite Integration Use Cases

Some of the use cases for NetSuite ERP system integration includes;

  • Lead to Customer 

Lead to customer integration enable businesses to connect and sync leads (customers’ information), creating a seamless connection for easy tracking of leads. This helps businesses to keep up with the leads, as well as, continue leveraging the contact information in the future once they have become the customers.

  • Quote-to-Cash

NetSuite ERP system integration enables businesses to keep track of all the sales. With Quote to cash integration, businesses are able to monitor the organic process of sales from the quotation stage to the closing of the deal.

  • Staff Record in a Single View (Hire-to-Retire)

NetSuite ERP systems integration also enables businesses to create a synchronized record for employees’ data from multiple platforms. The integration offers a unified platform for business leaders to view all relevant information including name, hiring date, and others seamlessly without having to switch between different systems.

NetSuite Integration Industries

Here are some industries that can greatly benefit from NetSuite Systems integration services with a smooth workflow and optimized operations;

  • Retail businesses
  • Education
  • Professional services
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale distribution
  • Digital marketing agencies
  • Healthcare services
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Finance businesses
  • Energy, and
  • Others

As one of the most advanced and comprehensive cloud-based ERP system, NetSuite brings in all the required functionalities and tools for business process automation. The SaaS-based ERP solution thus eliminates any need for on-premises system integration infrastructure. Also, as a highly compatible ERP system, NetSuite can easily be integrated with most of the existing systems of organizations. Besides, NetSuite ERP system integration also offers unparalleled scalability options, whereby, businesses can integrate more functionalities from third-party Suite apps for higher performance levels and greater revenue.

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NetSuite Integration Tools

NetSuite’s Suite Cloud is a comprehensive and robust cloud platform that offers wide-ranging integration and customization options for businesses. Some of the specific components of Suite Cloud includes;

–         Suite Script

Suite Scrip is developed in the JavaScript programming language. It’s a framework that’s meant for rapid integration solutions for businesses. The framework is meant to perform application-level scripting for NetSuite, and enable the development of a compatible and flexible integration environment that are customized to meet unique business needs. Suite Script can be used by developers to create a new application or perform required integration for a smooth workflow.

–         Suite Talk

Suite Talk by NetSuite is another integration tool that uses REST, CSV, and SOAP web services to integrate NetSuite ERP with various third-party applications. The Suite Talk can also be used by developers to create a dedicated website for NetSuite integrations, as well as, to create customized and high-efficiency mobile applications.

Suite Track enables the integration of NetSuite’s REST API to other APIs. It’s a handy tool that can also be used to create seamless data exchange and workflow processes for businesses. It’s a highly recommended system that can be used to create a unified system for efficient business management.

Apart from the above-mentioned tools from NetSuite, there are other third-party cloud integration platforms, which can be used to integrate NetSuite to various existing systems. Some of the worth-mentioning third-party cloud integration platforms including;

  • Boomi by Dell
  • Integrator.io by Celigo
  • Jitterbit

Challenges in NetSuite Integration for Business

While NetSuite ERP system integration brings in various benefits for businesses, it’s not the easiest task for businesses to achieve. Some of the NetSuite Integration challenges for businesses include;

High cost – the cost of NetSuite systems integration can be overwhelming for most SMEs. This leaves enterprises and big businesses as the only potential market that can bear the expenses of NetSuite integration.

Technical Issues – Apart from high implementation cost, there are various other technical issues that make the process of integration highly complex. This also adds to the overhead costs for businesses that would be required to invest in infrastructure and to hire professionals to perform the integration

Competency Issues: While NetSuite does offer API integration, this may not work every time for businesses due to competency issues. This could lead to potential loss of data for businesses, costing them dearly not just in terms of money but also reputation.

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What are the Primary System Integration Processes?

Determining the right approach for systems integration is a complex process, given the various aspects to consider. For instance, for a successful systems integration procedure, it’s important to consider the right subsystems, precise locations, as well as, the nature of the relationship between each of the subsystem. This means that it’s important for businesses to have the right experience and expertise of all the systems to meet the bottom-line objectives of the integration. In simple words, businesses need to have clarity for the needs, and requirements of system integration for a hassle-free integration process.

Below are three different approaches for systems integration;

Method #1: Point-to-Point Integration

The point-to-point integration can’t technically be termed as a system integration process, because of its limited scope. The approach has a limitation when it comes to integrated complex functions and subsystems. The point-to-point integration approach is best suited for businesses looking to integrate limited business functions with a 1:1 relationship. Increasing the number of subsystems for the integration will only end up in an equally greater number of connections, thus making the system unmanageable.

Method #2: Vertical Integration

Vertical integration is a unique system integration approach, where each of the subsystems is linked to the other based on the similarity of its functions to each other. This means that the vertical integration approach creates integrated “silos” of connected business functions, with the most basic function laying at the bottom of the architecture.

While vertical integration is simple to adapt the approach for system integration, it doesn’t offer the customization flexibility to add new functionalities. Thus, it’s basically ineffective for companies looking for seamless scalability and business growth.

Method #3: Star Integration

The star integration approach resembles the point to point integrations. In essence, a star integration process is simply the collection of individual point-to-point integration systems to create a larger and more complex connection. The greater the number of point-to-point systems integrated into the star integration, the greater the points and lines in between.

Ideally, the integration will resemble a star polyhedron, while connecting different subsystems. However, in reality, the star integration often results in spaghetti-like formation (which is one reason why it’s also referred to as Spaghetti integration). However, on a serious note, this also reflects the complexity of the integration process and how fast the system can become unmanageable; given that it isn’t handled expertly.

Method #4: Horizontal Integration

Horizontal integration is a specialized approach for system integration, where a specific subsystem is used as a common interface layer to connect with all other subsystems. In simple words, the approach lowers the number of connections required to integrate multiple subsystems, since these are integrated indirectly (through the specific subsystem) to the main system. For instance, with horizontal integration, the number of connections is the same as the number of the connected subsystem (5 connections for 5 subsystems and so on…). This subsequently helps lower the time and efforts required to develop, and maintain the system. The most commonly used “intermediary subsystem” that connects with all other subsystems is known as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

Horizontal integration is widely used in the healthcare sector, where it helps to create simple, and effective systems integration for complex medical systems. Also, the ESB integration interface used in the approach can be integrated easily with the existing systems of businesses for greater efficiency.

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How to Pick the Best Integration System Tech Company? 

Ok, now that we are done with defining “what is system integration”, let’s now move on to the next difficult step; that’s to choose the right system integration system tech company.

Choosing the right tech company for system integration is an important decision that will influence the overall success or failure of the project. Thereby, companies should take all due diligence to ensure choosing the right partner.

In general, the tech company chosen for system integration should meet specific benchmarks, as well as, has a proven experience for similar jobs previously. Also, the partner agency must demonstrate a robust and effective security strategy.

Here are some key aspects to consider when choosing a tech partner for the system integration process;

–         Identify your goals

All successful projects start with clearly mentioned objectives, and goals. With a definite thought process and scope, it becomes easier for project managers to interview and assess the technical and soft capabilities of tech partners for a system integration process. Here are few questions for which you need to come up with definite answers;

  • What goal/objective you want to achieve with the system integration?
  • What you want to achieve for customers/end users?
  • How much money you are willing to allocate for the integration process?

These questions should form the base to assess business requirements, as well as, willingness to commit to a detailed system integration process.

Once you are clear on these parameters, next you can move to assess the technical requirements for the system integration process. This may include the business functions, subsystems, and functionality you want to integrate, as well as, the technology you wish to receive.

Now that you have a sketch for all the above requirements, you can walk into the market confidently to search for the best integration tech partner.

–         Going to the market

Businesses with experience in the market or with a prior history of system integration may have a priority for a partner in mind. For instance, a company may have previously worked with an integration partner in the past with a satisfying experience. In such cases, it’s great to contact the company and refer to your precious engagement.

However, instead of finalizing the deal with any of the companies (even one with which you had a past working experience), send out the required documentation from the previous step to multiple tech agencies. Also, ask them for their plan on delivering the right solution, as well as, cost and timeline for the project. This will help you to compare the expertise, experience, and willingness of different companies and choose the best one.

Here are some questions that you ask from a system integration tech partner;

  • If they got the experience for the same job type?
  • The size of their previous similar projects (the largest and the smallest)
  • If they are able to complete the project within time and budget?
  • How much in-house resources/support they will need to complete the project?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

If you have a competent IT team, you may want them to participate in the integration process. This won’t just help you lower the overall cost of implementation, but also train the in-house team for the future. You can ask for the possibility of a hybrid implementation arrangement from the integration tech partner.

–         Don’t forget about security

Cybercrimes are on the rise with each year the number of cybercrimes increasing. This means that it’s important for businesses to keep up with their cybersecurity at all times.

According to statistics, over half of the cyberattacks are aimed towards small businesses, and the most vulnerable businesses include small service providers including IT managed services agencies, and technology services companies. Companies like these are natural targets for cyberattacks since they have an abundance of networks and data from customers.

Thereby, when you are looking to partner with a system integration agency, make sure to review their security policies and practices. In fact, security should be the priority for the choice.

Here are some security-related questions to ask from the system integration partner:

  • Security policies and practices practiced at the company
  • The IT and security certifications held by the company including; PCI, HIPAA, Department of Defense, etc.)
  • The insurance policy of the agency against any potential security compromise
  • The frequency of updating the security systems
  • Any additional security protections in place

Ask any expert and he shall inform you that you should refrain to partner with any system integration agency that isn’t able to promptly reply to these security concerns. Also, any company that doesn’t practice multi-factor authentication should be denied as a partner.

–         Payments & service-based models

Next, you need to take into consideration the payment model of the company. Paying upfront payment isn’t the ideal model for system integration services. Rather the better payment model is going with incremental based payments.

The incremental payment model ensures that the contractor stays on-track for the services they have to deliver within the stipulated time period against an agreed benchmark.

Alternatively, if the system integration partner doesn’t agree to the incremental payment model, press for the payment at the end of the project. This way they will remain committed to the project and put their best people in line.

Besides, global economics especially in service-based businesses is moving fast towards the service-based subscription model. The model is a huge success because it connects the release of payments against specific performance criteria or benchmarks. Thus, keeping the contractors committed and engages for the entire length of the project.

–         Finding an actual ‘partner’

The right partner that’s truly interested in working with your business will eventually understand your business environment including the needs for the integration and the best possible solution.

This means that the systems integrator would come with instant responses to all your queries, as well as, guide you about the deployment of new technologies to meet unique business needs.

The key here is “partnership”, which demands the system integration agency to offer a transparent service model and keep business updated with all strengths and weaknesses in the process.

Who is a system integrator consultant and what does he do?

A systems integrator may represent an individual or an agency that brings in the right technological solutions required to offer businesses seamless system integration implementation. A system integrator partner will ideally have access to software, networking, storage, and other technology required for the successful implementation of the project. In essence, a system integrator will be an agency or an individual who would specialize in planning, designing, implementation, scheduling, and testing of the system integration projects.

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Folio3 NetSuite System Integration Examples

Folio3 is a premium technology solution provider, offering comprehensive solutions for NetSuite system integration. For nearly a decade, the company has successfully delivered hundreds of customized NetSuite implementation projects, enabling businesses to maximize their efficiency by streamlining workflow processes and functions. The experts at Folio3 can assist businesses to design and implement customize NetSuite system integration, to meet unique business needs.

To its credit, the company is also a leading partner for SuiteCommerce Advanced for NetSuite. And owing to the experience, you can rely on the company for all sorts of NetSuite customization, and development services. The qualified NetSuite System integration expert at Folio3 makes sure that you get the best possible solution within your budget.

Some of the examples of NetSuite systems integration offered by Folio3 are mentioned below;

– Folio3 offers NetSuite integration services with all major CRM systems (on-premises or cloud-based). This means that you save time and effort by continuing to use your existing systems while optimizing the efficiency by integrating them with the NetSuite ERP system. The integration of CRMs with NetSuite creates a two-way synchronization for various business functions including; sales orders, marketing, sales, accounts, customers, and others. NetSuite integration with Magento is an example of the same

– Folio3 also offers its systems integration services for NetSuite ERP with external websites, ecommerce stores, and portal. The integration assist businesses to achieve real-time synchronization of various business functions including; item details, customer info, billing information, inventory, and others

– NetSuite integration with ecommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay enable businesses to streamline their sales process for higher revenue. Folio3’s system integration experts assist ecommerce businesses to implement NetSuite integration with Amazon, and all other major ecommerce platforms. This enables businesses to leverage real-time synchronization of various business functions including sales order, inventory management, customer info, shipping, fulfillment, and others.

Some integrations Folio3 provides are listed below:

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System Integration Development Services by folio3 

System Implementation Services

Folio3’s system implementation services are meant to optimize business processes within time and budget. As a trusted Microsoft Dynamics implementation partner, Folio3 experts understand the complexity of the process and thereby, ensure smooth implementation of the integration process using a tried and tested approach.

System Integration Services

Folio3’s integration services with Magento, Amazon, WooCommerce, Shopify, and other major platforms enable ecommerce businesses to automate various business functions for better customer experience and improved sales.

Integration Consulting Services

As a premium Microsoft Dynamics integration partner, Folio3 offers businesses with dedicated consultation services. The integration consultation services are meant to help businesses identify their needs and come up with a customized solution.

System Integration testing services

Folio3’s quality assurance experts perform rigorous testing for all the aspects of the Microsoft Dynamics development process. The testing ensures that all set targets for the systems integration, customization, and development are met.

Difference between Systems integrators Vs VARS- Primary Comparison

A Value-Added Reseller (VARS) represents a custom development company that usually customized an existing product for onward reselling as system integration. VARS Company usually integrates third-party software into its hardware for a specific customized solution. As can be taken by the name “Value-Added”, the primary objective of companies here is to offer a customized solution against a certain problem to a specific audience. In this case, the final solution is sold to clients under the original manufacturer’s support, license agreement, and support.

A system integrator works much similar to the VARS, whereby, the company integrated multiple subsystems to create a useful and multipurpose super-system for streamline business operations. However, the key difference is that while VARS only offer “value-added” products, system integrator experts also offer new products build from the scratch by the company to achieve unique business needs.

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