Growing pains are an inevitable part of staying current and evolving as a business. In highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare, these rough patches will often manifest themselves when it becomes imperative to swap out dated technologies for new ones.

System integration – the process of combining different software applications or computing infrastructures – has the potential to go incredibly smoothly or exceedingly wrong depending on the developer. Below are a few of the basics that professionals need to know to help ensure that the next integration project supports rather than hinders their business goals.

What are some of the ways that systems are integrated and who is responsible for making sure that is done correctly?

Depending on the needs and scope of the project, there are a number of ways that a development firm can go about integrating new technologies into an existing framework. These can include the creation of a completely new interface that combines two or more systems, as well as linking separate applications in a way that they communicate information between one another.

Ultimately, the development firm you choose is responsible for ensuring seamless and secure integration without data leakage or unpredictable glitches. It is critical to consult with your vendor regarding your particular project goals, as well as how they will continue to provide IT support down the road.

What are some of the benefits and risks of integrating systems?

The examples below illustrate some of the inherent risks of system integration, as well as how they can be avoided or resolved.

  • From a survey conducted by the American Health Informatics Management Association: After transferring patient records to electronic format, a small hospital faced an array of issues that included mismatched data and poor integration with their billing system. Local IT staff were able to resolve some of the resulting problems, but because initial EHR integration was not conducted properly, the system interface requires continuous monitoring.
  • From a report compiled by Cognizant: As financial institutions increasingly rely on mergers and acquisitions as a way to scale business, system integration can make or break deals. Poorly-managed integrations in banking technology have been seen to negatively impact the customer experience and can even create compliance issues. Due diligence on the part of company CTOs is key to partnering with the right software vendor for the task.