Integration is the realization, execution or practice of a plan, method or concept, idea, model, specification, standard or rule for a specific purpose. The Integration is therefore the action that must follow a reflection in order to concretize it. In the context of information Technology , the Integration of software or hardware encompasses all the after-sales processes involved in the proper functioning of an element in its environment, including Needs Analysis, installation, configuration, customization, execution, testing, system integration, user training, delivery and application of any changes. The term “deployment” is sometimes used in the same sense. For an Integration to work, many tasks must be performed successively in different departments. Companies strive to use proven methods and use professionals to help them implement a system. However, many Integration processes fail due to lack of appropriate planning at the start of the project due to inadequate resources or unforeseen problems.
The Integration phase
Once the overall objectives have been identified, the company must develop a plan to monitor the status of the Integration, often with a timetable focused on achieving objectives defined at different stages of the process. The main actors involved in the Integration process meet regularly to discuss the progress of the project, share their questions and, if necessary, review the procedures. A company may find it necessary to appoint a program manager who is familiar with both the technical aspects of the technology and the project management to oversee the Integration process from start to finish. In software Integrations, the Integration process often involves the roles of business analysts, solution architects and technical analysts. Once a hardware or software Integration project has passed the planning stage, companies must gradually test the new system until it is ready for use. A pilot program is often an essential part of the Integration process : within the company, a small group of testers runs the system to test it over a period of time.
In most cases, a few technically skilled employees are called upon to test the new system. These enthusiasts spot the imperfections and shortcomings of the system, which helps to improve the Integration process. At the end of the tests, programs train users to the system and its use before it is put into operation. At the end of the Integration, just before the system is put into service, companies review the entire process to verify that all tasks have been completed. Software and hardware Integrations should always be designed with the user in mind. In fact, the Integration process generally benefits from the involvement of users and the support of company managers. When users participate in the design and Integration of the system, it is more likely to meet their business objectives and reflect their priorities and work habits. Their involvement in the process also makes them more receptive to the changes that need to be made, as they benefit from direct experience of the system.
The lack of dialogue and exchange of information between the user and the designer is an obstacle that companies must overcome in order to successfully implement a new system. Users expect the system to meet their needs, while designers and IT professionals must take into account various restrictions, performance criteria, and database management principles and limitations during the Integration process. By definition, Integrations represent a change in the company’s technology architecture and it is common for processes to encounter difficulties before and after the date of commissioning. Companies need to maintain close links with their suppliers and consultants to help them solve problems as they arise. Common problems during Integration include missed deadlines, over-budgeting of the entire project, underestimation of the work hours involved in the project, unexpected delays or blockages due to an external partner, withdrawal of key stakeholders and various unintended consequences slowing down the process in one way or another.