The process, where more than one business process or software are brought together for purposes of data sharing, is called integration. Owing to the proliferation of technology these days, there has been a constant need for organizations to manage many disparate systems and processes. Each of the various business systems produces its unique data and also consumes its unique set of data. More often than not, data which is output by one process is usually an input to another process and this relationship leads to interdependencies among business processes. Because of this, there is a need to consolidate all these processes and systems into one by use of system integration. This, in the long run, will help the company manage its processes more efficient and less costly. Any good integration model should adopt and adhere to the following important integration patterns and practices.
First, integration models should adopt what is commonly known as continuous integration model or pattern. This model aims at ensuring that a business continues to integrate its processes and systems even after the first phase of integration is completed. Any new system or process developed in an organization after integration has been done should fit in the initial integration model. Because of this, the company doesn’t have to purchase another integration solution in the future and is thus saved of this cost. 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, the integration process should ensure that it gives special considerations to existing subsystems of an organization These subsystems is what forms the basic blocks of the integration work. A good integration process should bear in mind that each component should not be related to other components and can thus be tested as a standalone. Consequently, this makes integration work a chain of small tasks which can individually be monitored and troubleshoot easily.
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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. These specifications can be used as a user manual for understanding and integrating the individual subsystems. The specifications also define the component’s behavior in an integrated environment and its relationship with other components. The system specifications also outline important things like the data formats acceptable by the component, the expected inputs and outputs among many other things.