Systems Integration, or "SI" as it's commonly referred to in some larger corporate environments, can be a confusing, and at times, an intimidating term.
But - hopefully after reading these next few paragraphs, I can help alleviate the natural stress that both words may instill in most business owners.
Think about your business as a machine - you have different gears, or business functions, that whether we want to admit to ourselves or not, are somewhat inter-dependent on each other.
These functions, depending on the type of business and operations that you manage, can comprise of basic "things" such as: billing, customer management, reservations/booking systems, back-office or inventory, point of sale or other types of payment-accepting solutions, HR management, and so on.
When you need to derive X figure from one system, of which Y system is dependent on - you are in essence acting as your own manual systems integrator.
For example, say you are working on your monthly P&L numbers, whether it be in a bookkeeping system such as QuickBooks or even using Google Sheets or Excel - and in order to figure out your final bottom line figures you must first derive (or copy/paste, ask your accountant/partner/manager, or go fishing for numbers across a subset of disconnected platforms) figures from your sales - you are manually connecting the dots.
In the simplest yet still most common of ways - this is systems integration.
How often have you found yourself wondering if A) how accurate or scientific is this process and can you trust with 100% certainty that all the figures you are collecting are up to date, and most importantly, accurate? and B) is there a better way?
This is where a systems integrator comes in to play. In today's world, we are fortunate to have a plethora of platforms and technical solutions at our disposal - but what most businesses tend to forget is that it's not whether or not they already have the best in breed solutions implemented; but rather, are these solutions properly talking to each other in an automated, efficient and most importantly, accurate way?