Integration is the act of bringing together smaller components into a single system that functions as one. In an IT context, integration refers to the end result of a process that aims to stitch together different, often disparate, subsystems so that the data contained in each becomes part of a larger, more comprehensive system that, ideally, quickly and easily shares data when needed. This often requires that companies build a customized architecture or structure of applications to combine new or existing hardware, software and other communications.
Integration is harder to achieve the greater the number of systems that are involved and companies often choose to have external contractors manage some or all phases of the development of the new system. Specific activities having to do with IT system integration include project planning, project management, design and implementation of application programming interfaces, Web services and any process that accounts for the free flow of data or information delivery.
Challenges to achieving integration mostly have to do with the inherent difficulties in linking a series of diverse existing systems that could be produced by multiple different manufacturers. Other integration challenges have to do with the lack of a coherent or unifying data structure linking all of the different systems, an unwieldy framework of multiple different applications and support systems, the sheer age of the different systems and the actual delivery of the information to key business units that need it. These integration challenges hinder overall process efficiency because poor data exchange between systems prevents quick communication among business units.
Because integration is difficult to achieve all at once, a common practice is to employ a strategy of short-term, ad-hoc objectives that slowly builds towards full integration by linking various subsystems where necessary. These links usually are established between the components of the process and control layer of each system to promote the free flow of data across systems. As more systems are linked, more business management and control layers can be connected until all systems are sharing data between each other.
Companies strive to integrate their customer relationship management (CRM) systems with other components of the business to help streamline the marketing and sales processes, organizing and updating customer information with the hopes of deepening customer relationships and boosting revenue and growth. A main goal of integrating a CRM system with other, smaller systems is to prevent manual data entry and save employees time by removing redundant, unnecessary or tedious everyday steps. For example, a company might integrate its website with its marketing automation software to bring customer information directly into the CRM system. Any action a prospect takes on the website can be logged and a new record can be automatically created in the system.
You are required to identify a real company that focuses on Integration of the business processes to implement its business model. The following request for information will form the basis for your PowerPoint presentation:
- Based on a company within an industry sector of your choice, identify the major strategic drivers surrounding the business organisation and its sector-specific influences including the ability to help meet sustainability development goals.
- Furthermore you will need to identify and critically evaluate the strategic decision-making model(s) being used with in that organization.
- Use appropriate theories and models throughout to show understanding of taught subject and your ability to critically analyse both the chosen sector and company therein.
- The company chosen needs to have a large web presence from which you can get an appropriate level of information;
- The presentation should be properly structured, using a variety of presentation modes (e.g. text, tables, pictures, graphs, etc.) and presented in an upbeat modern manner.