Advancements & Applications of Integration
Communication is of vital importance in the business environment. Communication between colleagues, managers and departments allows for information sharing that contributes to quicker, and more knowledgeable decision making. Too often, however, the communication between software systems is overlooked. When separate systems can communicate with one another, data can be transferred, analyzed, and reported far faster than if the systems were to remain isolated. There are a variety of recent advancements that have contributed to a collectively higher capacity for system integration.
The world’s capacity for both computing power and storage has made quantum leaps for the better part of a decade; resulting in dramatically decreased costs of accessing these resources. The increased accessibility of these resources makes it easier for smaller organizations, as well as massive enterprises, to capitalize on the benefits of the web. Whether it is for analyzing massive datasets or integrating multiple systems into one unified solution, the capacity and accessibility of computational resources is greatly changing the business landscape. From integrated medical systems to centralized resource planning solutions, all kinds of organizations are starting to see and reap the benefits of integrated systems.
Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) are what enable varying platforms and systems to connect with one another and share their data. As the number of available APIs continue to grow, the functions they can perform increase as well. Real-time integration, automation, and personalization are just a few of the benefits that can be achieved. Businesses are starting to get wise to this trend, with an entire economy having been built around the creation and use of APIs. Rather than developing your own solution in-house and reinventing the wheel, organizations can take advantage of pre-existing software that can accomplish what is necessary, often faster and cheaper than an in-house solution.
Wide Spread Connectivity
It is not secret today that most people own a variety of connected devices. As the number of connected devices people own continues to grow, so to do the channels they use to access information. Work can be done from home, on the road, or in the air, meaning the ability for one to access information remotely, quickly and efficiently plays a vital role in modern business. The more devices there are, the more opportunities for integration become available. Because of this proliferation, remote access to systems is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
An interesting new addition to the advancement of integration capabilities is the unprecedented growth of IoT (Internet of Things). The IoT revolution has taken previously unconnected objects or devices and connected them to one another and the internet. Even people and animals can be a part of this ever-expanding network, through wearable technology or even in some extreme cases, body modification. A survey conducted by HIS Markit estimates approximately 20 billion (with a b) connected devices as of 2018. What this means for businesses is a whole new world of information and data generating technology for which to capitalize on. We can now use our mobile devices to control thermostat, lighting, fridges, speakers, washers, dryers and so on and so on. This integration means a higher degree of control for organizations looking to cut operational costs, as they can now monitor power and equipment usage.
Further implications include the impact IoT has had on the generation of big data, allowing companies to amass more information than ever before to help better understand their customers and their processes. The manufacturing industry is an excellent example of this. Known as IIoT (the industrial internet of things), manufacturers are beginning to integrate all of their machines with sensors, and one another to gain greater insight into their production process. By attaching sensors to all of their machines on the shop-floor, manufacturers can proactively address maintenance needs, identify production bottlenecks, and monitor machine production capacity in real-time. This increase in process visibility is a direct result of the industrial internet of things and can reap benefits that directly impact their productivity as well as profitability.
The number of global devices, as well as cloud-based solutions, has rapidly grown, causing a paradigm shift in the business environment. Not only has the number of these resources increased but so too have their capabilities. Integrated systems are becoming less and less of an afterthought for organizations, and more of a strategic movement. As the integration train continues to bullet forward at a break-neck pace, the only question to ask is are you willing to be left behind, or will you follow in its tracks?
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