What is a System Integrator?

May 09, 2024 Amy Williams
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As a company grows and evolves, so does the number of software and hardware solutions it uses. Even in a small organization, there may be more than 20 applications in use. In larger companies, this number can exceed 800. It’s crucial for these services to interact efficiently with one another and that their maintenance doesn’t consume excessive time or resources. Achieving this is not straightforward, as each new solution increases the complexity of the infrastructure. To bring order to the chaos of programs and equipment and ensure their effective use, companies need the services of a system integrator. In this article, we will discuss how an integrator helps businesses, the benefits of working with one, and how to choose the right one.

Who is a System Integrator?

A system integrator is a company that specializes in implementing and integrating complex disparate systems to create an effective infrastructure. Integrators assess client needs to design and implement a system that fulfills these needs. Such companies may also provide technical support and maintenance for the systems they develop.

In simple terms, a system integrator is someone who unites scattered solutions and creates order among them. They ensure these solutions work together to achieve a set goal. To tackle such tasks, an integrator must have a good understanding of both software and hardware products and be able to create a unified, optimized environment from them.

What Services Does a System Integrator Provide?

A system integrator designs, creates, and implements IT infrastructure solutions, and also tests them for compatibility. Their tasks include connecting disparate components into a unified system and ensuring their seamless operation. After integration is complete, the company can offer monitoring and technical support services for the infrastructure.

List of Services Offered by System Integrators

  • Evaluating business needs, existing systems and infrastructure, identifying potential problems, and risk forecasting;
  • Designing integrated solutions with the most suitable components and technical specifications;
  • Developing and implementing solutions, installing, configuring, and integrating individual components into a single system;
  • Training and providing methodological guidelines for IT infrastructure users;
  • Testing and troubleshooting issues arising from the implemented changes;
  • Technical support and maintenance of integrated solutions during and after the launch, preventive maintenance, and assistance in resolving emerging issues.

Types of System Integrators

System integrators can generally be divided into several groups.

  • Generalist or Universal IT Integrators: This is the largest group. These system integrators offer comprehensive solutions and assist with a wide range of tasks, including specialized ones. Their portfolio includes various technological and industry-specific directions.
  • Specialist Integrators: Not all companies provide a full range of services. Some system integrators prefer to focus on specific themes and address particular client tasks. These companies are distinguished by a high level of expertise in certain areas and may possess complex technologies.
  • Industry-specific Integrators: There are IT integrators that have expertise to solve client challenges only within specific industries, such as banking or retail. These companies can address specific problems, but only within their industry.
  • Engineering System Integrators: This category includes companies that create local networks and IT infrastructure at a physical level. Often, these integrators work in conjunction with larger companies.

Benefits of Working with an IT System Integrator

Which is more beneficial: maintaining an in-house IT staff to handle integration tasks or outsourcing to a system integration service provider?

In-house engineers are much less frequently confronted with complex integration problems compared to the staff of an IT system integrator. Their experience is limited to the specific issues that their organization faces. Therefore, they may lack the knowledge and skills needed for specialized requests or unforeseen circumstances. A system integrator, on the other hand, deals with far more complex issues on a daily basis than in-house IT specialists typically face. Generally, they have extensive practical experience in implementing a wide range of projects and use a set of modern technologies and tools.

Thus, an IT system integrator can develop and implement new solutions much faster than an in-house development team. This saves the client both time and budget in designing complex solutions and later, in their operation and support.

To maximize the benefits of collaboration, it is crucial to choose the right system integrator.

Criteria for Choosing a System IT Integrator

To determine if a system integrator is suitable for a company, it is necessary to compile a list of requirements in advance. This list can vary depending on the tasks the company faces. However, there are universal criteria that are applicable in most cases.

The basic set of requirements for an IT integrator includes:

  • A comprehensive approach to IT system creation;
  • Turnkey project delivery that includes employee training and IT infrastructure maintenance;
  • Proven experience with projects of any scale and complexity, using equipment from various manufacturers, as evidenced by case studies;
  • Ability to operate under sanctions, with Russian system integrators needing to find optimal solutions after foreign vendors have exited the domestic market;
  • Possession of proprietary IT solutions;
  • A fully staffed team of experienced analysts, architects, engineers, including those with specialized expertise;
  • Willingness to offer the optimal solution for the client within the specified budget or several options to choose from.

It is also beneficial if the system integrator can handle large and complex projects and is capable of creating innovative tools to improve business processes and ensure competitive advantages. When choosing an integrator, it is important to discuss project timelines, methods of equipment procurement, security measures, and the availability of certifications.

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