What does 'software integration' mean?

By Angus McDonald - 17/11/2020 7:42:29 AM

For many organizations, their day-to-day operations involve handling a lot of data and many resort to using some kind of software to achieve greater efficiency. In some cases, there will be a need to use more than one solution, since there are various distinct tasks.

This is where software integration comes into play.

So what exactly is software integration?

Software integration refers to combining two or more different software to create one unified system where data can be easily shared when necessary. This process can be done for a number of reasons such as:

  • The need to perform a task that requires data and other functionality from different systems within the organization.
  • Connecting a new application to legacy infrastructure, or full on migration to a modern digital transformation solution.
  • Creating a data warehouse to complete the sees data all the way from its generation to storage.

Common methods used for software integration

Vertical integration – Here, software is integrated based on the particular function of each subsystem, resulting in a collection of silos. It is quick and cheap in the short term but can get expensive and trickier down the road since you can’t reuse an existing silo for new functionality.

Common data format integration – This type involves the use of one universal data format meaning that there’s no conversion needed when different applications are using the data.

Horizontal or Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) – This involves building a custom sub-system or some other smaller element that enables numerous systems to interact with each other concurrently.

That subsystem serves as a translation center, reducing the cost of integration and accommodating replacement of other subsystems with new ones. As long as the functionality is similar to that of a previous subsystem, it won’t be a big issue if the interface being exported is different.

Star or spaghetti integration – For this type, each system is connected to the remaining subsystems, creating some sort of a star when looking at the subsystem being integrated, as the center.

software integration

What software tools might you need for integration?

While many large companies commonly built in-house software for integration, there is a growing use of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions. This typically involves soliciting the help of a third-party service provider to have the solution set up and offer future technical support.

A number of the later SaaS solutions are cloud-based, which allows for greater flexibility as small organizations can start out with a minimal set of applications, functionality and other capacities like storage.

They can then go on to adjust their setup as the organization grows. This also reduces on the clutter involved with running multiple software systems in-house while improving accessibility of data and accompanying applications. Employees can connect to the system from different places.

These cloud-based solutions also give you more room to harness the power of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to seamlessly unite more elements within one overall system.

Using this technology, iPaaS (Integrated-Platform-as-a-Service) solutions can find an optimal way to connect dissimilar software.

To properly execute software integration, it is important to use solutions that leave room for adding new functionality in the future. Whether you’re in marketing, sales or customer service, a platform like Hubspot will provide all the necessary tools to realize sustained growth.


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Tags: business automation, CRM Software, Integrations