As the world grows further interconnected, the need for improved communications and interaction has taken the forefront. Especially in Businesses, these enterprises that are looking to accelerate the outflow of information and cut down the operational costs of achieving this. Enter System Integration, a process that streamlines and simplifies communication between the organisation’s internal systems and third parties (e.g., customers) the organisation interacts with regularly.

Determining the most appropriate application software that would achieve the integration objective, maximise transparency and minimise costs is tricky. This is where finding the right type of integration and matching it with the most appropriate method comes in.

The process of creating a complex information system for any business is a delicate process that must assuredly require an IT Professional to achieve. System Integration requires a professional because this process is such a complex one with too many moving parts that can only be managed by a professional. Such a process could involve the building of customised architecture or application and integrating it with your enterprise’s new or existing hardware.

However, System Integration doesn’t always take the “middleman” position when it comes to data exchange between an organisation’s multiple IT systems. System Integration can also be one-sided with only one system either receiving or sending out data. In technical terms though, this is not possible without either party possessing an integration module.

There are a few established categories of System Integration specific to the point of use and the reason for its use.

Types of System Integration

Earlier highlighted, there are different types of System Integrations. These types have been categorised based on their area of use and the kind of use. They Include;

  • Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

Enterprise Application Integration is a service-based integration. It is a process that communicates with various administrations and services, assembles data and then proceeds with further steps dependent on previously highlighted workflow or desired activity. This cycle is set off or triggered by the occurrence of uncovered help or exposed service.

  • Data Integration (DI)

Data Integration is a type of System Integration adopted when multiple data types require consolidating. This option allows organisations to gather from various information sources (or data sets) and transform these sets for seamless access from one streamlined point. This is usually adopted when there is a high level of reporting and is most favoured for managerial roles.

  • Electronic Document Integration/Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Document Integration/Interchange is a core business-to-business-orientated process. It is the optimal solution for the paperless exchange of reports and electronic regulations between these businesses as it cuts down on time and eliminates errors and costs.

Depending on the required outcome, these types are the most optimal and efficient types of System Integration. They have been widely adopted, making interactions with third parties such as stakeholders, vendors and most especially, customers easier. This is why these options had to function seamlessly in real-life scenarios.

System Integration Meets Real World

In the earlier periods of system integration and its emergence, businesses were sceptical and hence, started adoption on a small scale. As time progressed and System Integrations’ advantages became apparent, these companies gained the confidence to undergo a complete Digital Transformation.

However, as with every positive innovation, there came a few drawbacks. This was especially in the integration of data. Three specific and concurrent issues included:

  • Heterogeneous Data: Here the data from different aspects of the business systems are of different forms. It makes a tedious endeavour, to find the best way to combine these forms into a new and acceptable format for the newly integrated system.
  • Different Data Quality: Here, the data may have varying levels of quality (accuracy, details and so on) which makes for a difficult integration. The inconsistency can lead to a cascading situation that leaves the integration process harder to achieve.
  • Scalability: With the inflow of data from the different business facets and their respective departments, the core database can grow at a rapid rate. This makes for a more challenging time for data processing, analysis, and secure storage of data.

In simpler terms, these issues are fundamentally unavoidable as every system has its own language and the unique ways it responds to inputted commands. To achieve this, different methods have been created.

Methods of System Integration

To fuse these separate data structures together in a working/workable system, a massive amount of skill and man-hours to achieve. This is because each system is programmed differently and may require the conversion of data to a common language. Hence the need for methods to achieve System Integration.

Here are the four popularly adopted Methods of System Integration:

  1. Point-To-Point Integration Method

Typically understood as not the most accurate definition of a System Integration method as this method involves interactions from one system directly to another. The more systems pulled into this system, the more connections there are and thus making a point-to-point integration harder to maintain.

For organisations considering multiple systems to be integrated, this solution is less likely favoured. However, this is a great solution for smaller, simpler forms of integrations.

  1. Vertical Integration Method

This method of integration is a kind of progressive form of the pairing of systems; where those sub-systems sharing similar operations or functions are connected. This means a silo-like structure is created the further “up” one goes on the integration grid. Basically, as you move from the most basic of functions, the further complex these functions become.

It should be noted that these systems are rigid and less likely adaptable across systems with widely varying sub-systems. It is optimal for operations with fewer systems that have closely related functions.

  1. Star Integration Method

A Star Integration is a collection of simpler Point-to-Point Integrations. In other words, the coming together of simpler connections to make a “star” connection forms this integration. The more sub-systems connected, the higher the points from the starting sub-system; giving a close resemblance to a start polyhedron.

This Integration offers increased degrees of functionality; however, it is harder to manage as the multiple connections become quickly difficult to map out. Unlike its neat and tidy Point-To-Point Integration counterpart, this method of integration is complex and difficult for one IT specialist to keep up.

Are you looking for IT professionals to help you with your IT systems? Speak to a consultant today.

  1. Horizontal Integration Method

This Integration Method is one where a specialised sub-system serves as the interfacing baseline language in which all other sub-systems will communicate. This intermediary layer/ sub-system used in this method of integration is commonly known as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). This sub-system is the common interface layer that connects all other sub-systems in the business ecosystem. Advantageously, the management of System Integrations using this method is far easier. This method requires fewer connections because the sub-systems are not interconnected directly but indirectly through the main system.

Hence, the management of systems integrated using this method is easier to manage because of the fewer connections. It also saves time, effort and resources spent on the building of the system.


The specific difference between Methods and Types of System Integration is that one phenomenon cannot occur without the other. More aptly put, Methods of System Integration are adopted during the selection of a System Integration Type that an organisation has chosen to go with.

These services and categories are not of separate purposes but of one singular purpose. Hence, there is no need to seek a difference of which is better but to find that which works best with which to achieve your desired goal.

Hidden Brains is the enterprise solutions provider that cares. With a myriad of solutions and services tailored to give any business a competitive edge, we have serviced clients across multiple industries. From our IT augmentation service to our top-tier Systems Integrations services, we are the one-stop shop for everything enterprise solution. Looking to get started on your IT journey? Then Hidden Brains is here to get you there. Send us an email at [email protected] or speak to a consultant at +234 915 2424 242 for a thirty-minute free consultation!




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