What Is System Integration? Definition, Benefits, and Real-Life Examples
System integration is becoming very popular nowadays. When the integration is properly implemented, it will naturally increase productivity by improving the quality of work.
Are you wondering what this process actually looks like in practice and what other benefits it brings? If you want to learn how system integration can help your business succeed and explore some real-life examples, keep on reading.
System Integration: Why Is It Beneficial for Your Business?
System integration is the process of linking many elements to one single IT system. Integration creates a coordinated system with joined databases and data sources.
Let’s look at some common examples of these activities. Many companies currently use a variety of IT subsystems for different activities—for example, administration, data collection, and processing payments. However, these systems often work separately, leading to lost time and even money. When systems are connected, they operate smoothly and bring many more benefits than while working separately.
It is important to highlight that integration is a complex process, and it is always better to get support from experts to achieve your goals and implement the integration properly.
The Main Advantages of Integration:
- Speeds up company processes
- Increases work efficiency
- Ensures effective information exchanges
- Enables basic system operations.
The last advantage is well illustrated by the integration we carried out for one of our clients—connecting the Chargebee platform to the PayLane payment gateway. Our goal was to allow trouble-free execution of recurring payments in the client’s system by automatically withdrawing funds from the card. Details of these activities are presented below.
Of course, every case is different, and the final decision should be based on the company’s needs. Sometimes, integration is done internally; in other cases, it is implemented with external tools. Depending on the situation, we adjust the scope of our work to create appropriate system integrations.
Example 1. Integration of Chargebee With PayLane for Proper System Operations
Our client needed a payment management system that allowed for regular payment collection from users. Such integration was needed for this system to operate properly.
Chargebee and PayLane in a Nutshell
First, let’s briefly describe what these tools are. Chargebee is a platform that automates recurring payment collection and makes it possible to charge users regularly. We integrated it with PayLane, an online payment gateway suitable for e-commerce and SaaS that allows customers to make online payments.
Integration: Explore the Process
Originally, the PayLane system was not connected to Chargebee, so the gateway couldn’t be configured in the Chargebee panel right away. That is why the integration was essential to ensure data flow between the systems. Our goal was to provide a solution that would safely connect the systems and make them cooperate smoothly and effectively.
We did API integration, which helped users connect their cards. Then, payments could be charged monthly (another implemented functionality covered discounts and invoices). Integration brought numerous benefits. The main advantage was cost-savings because our client didn’t choose the default payment gateway with a higher price but decided to integrate a different system. In this case, it was much more beneficial and valuable.
Example 2. Integration of Tools Supporting Everyday Work
Many tools are used at work (e.g., Google Docs, emails), the integration of which can bring many benefits. It helps save time and eliminates repetitive tasks that often make you tired. Fortunately, there are tools on the market that allow for this type of integration, and one of them is Zapier.
Zapier: A Short Definition
Zapier is a handy tool. It allows you to automate work by linking your apps so that they share data. You can use it for Slack, Dropbox, Asana, Gmail, and more. While the application data is seemingly unrelated, Zapier helps create chains of connections, making the company’s day-to-day tasks much easier.
Zapier at Studio Software
At Studio Software, we take advantage of different opportunities to improve our work and increase daily efficiency. One example is linking Gmail to our CRM by using Zapier, which has automated the process of adding a contact to our CRM. All necessary data from potential customers are now automatically saved in our CRM, so we don’t have to do it manually. Zapier won’t solve every integrational problem you struggle with, so sometimes it may be better to implement the integration using the systems’ APIs.
Example 3. SetPin: Booking and Airbnb Integration (Complex)
Another interesting example where integration plays a significant role in the system’s efficiency is the integration of SetPin software (check out our case study).
SetPin: A Short Definition
SetPin is a web application that we created that allows remote management of electronic locks in hotels and apartments, making the accommodation process possible without physical keys. Our solution is complex – we implemented both: hardware part (communication with electronic locks), and the software part (functional web application).
The software is integrated with popular booking systems (including Airbnb and Booking.com) so that guests can automatically receive codes to open the door. We implemented an advanced API integration to make a functional system that works smoothly. The codes are created automatically and sent to the customers via SMS or email.
System Integration Challenges: What is Important in the Process Itself?
Successful integration needs good preparation. Even relatively simple projects can sometimes become difficult and complicated. These activities require expertise, and we always create a detailed plan with a step-by-step checklist to make it successful. Let’s have a look at the most important tasks:
1. Analyzing the API documentation of both products. Checking the documentation allows us to see how the API data works, what protocols it uses, and what possibilities it offers (e.g., if it will notify itself when it performs an action or repeats the action in case of an error).
2. Checking test environments (sandbox) and obtaining separate access data for these environments. Each website should provide a so-called sandbox for testing—a place where we can easily test the entire system operation (e.g., make a test payment, or connect a test payment card).
3. Creating separate configuration files in your application for specific environments (e.g., dev, stage, or prod). The local or development environment should use sandbox access data (URL, login, and password), and the configuration file in the production environment should contain data production.
4. Large-scale testing. Before the system goes live, we always carry out complex testing to eliminate potential errors. Making and following a checklist is very important because it is easy to forget to check various details. Testing different scenarios is a great way to check every possible situation and improve the quality of work.
System integration: Summary
A properly implemented integration brings many positive changes to a company. It is a great solution for those who struggle with working on multiple independent subsystems. Integrated systems often bring a lot of savings—they allow you to automate and, thus, speed up work. The need for integration varies case by case, so it is important to get support from specialists who can advise you on what will work best for your company.
Are you thinking about integration? Contact us, and we will advise you on the best solution for your business.