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Understanding What Is a System Integrator

by Marcin Wieclaw
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what is a system integrator

A system integrator is an individual or business that builds computing systems for clients by combining hardware, software, networking, and storage products from multiple vendors. This allows companies to align cheaper, preconfigured components and commercial off-the-shelf software to meet their key business goals. It eliminates the need for expensive, customised implementations that require original programming or manufacturing unique components.

When it comes to achieving efficient and seamless integration of various technology components, a system integrator plays a crucial role. By bringing together different elements, such as hardware, software, networking, and storage products, system integrators provide tailored solutions that align with a company’s unique business goals.

Whether it’s implementing a new IT system or upgrading existing infrastructure, a skilled system integrator can ensure that all components work harmoniously together, resulting in enhanced efficiency, improved productivity, and cost savings for businesses.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into what system integrators do, examine some examples of major system integrators, and explore their evolving business models in today’s IT landscape.

What Does a System Integrator Do?

The task of a systems integrator starts with client meetings, where they assess the client’s business needs and define the technical requirements for an IT system that meets those needs. They then create an integration plan and proceed with designing or building a customized architecture or application, integrating it with new or existing hardware, software, and networking infrastructure.

With the rise of cloud computing, system integrators may also play a role in integrating on-premises IT systems with cloud-based applications or computing infrastructure.

A typical process followed by system integrators involves the following steps:

  • Client meetings: System integrators engage with clients to understand their specific business goals and requirements.
  • Assessment: They assess the existing IT systems and infrastructure of the client to identify gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Design: Based on the client’s requirements, they design a customized architecture or application that aligns with the client’s goals.
  • Integration planning: They create a detailed integration plan that outlines the steps and timeline for implementing the customized solution.
  • Implementation: System integrators proceed with building or configuring the IT system according to the integration plan, ensuring seamless integration with existing infrastructure.
  • Testing and validation: Once the integration is complete, they conduct rigorous testing to verify the functionality and performance of the integrated system.
  • Deployment and support: After successful testing, the integrated system is deployed, and ongoing support and maintenance are provided as needed.

System integrators leverage their expertise in various technologies, such as hardware, software, networking, and cloud computing, to create efficient and scalable IT solutions for their clients.

Benefits of Working with a System Integrator

“A system integrator provides clients with a one-stop solution for their IT needs, ensuring that different components of the system work together seamlessly.”

Working with a system integrator offers several benefits:

  1. Streamlined process: System integrators handle the entire integration process, ensuring a smooth and efficient implementation.
  2. Technical expertise: They possess deep knowledge and experience in various technologies, enabling them to design and develop highly effective IT systems.
  3. Customized solutions: System integrators create tailored solutions that address the unique requirements of each client, resulting in optimized system performance and enhanced productivity.
  4. Cost-effectiveness: By leveraging preconfigured components and commercial off-the-shelf software, system integrators provide cost-effective solutions compared to custom-built systems.
  5. Ongoing support: System integrators offer ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure the smooth operation of the integrated system in the long run.

In summary, a system integrator plays a crucial role in helping businesses design, implement, and maintain IT systems that align with their specific requirements. By leveraging their technical expertise and understanding of client needs, system integrators deliver customized solutions that drive efficiency, productivity, and growth.

Examples of Major Systems Integrators

In the 1980s, several major systems integrators emerged, establishing themselves as key players in the industry. These companies played a crucial role in integrating various hardware, software, and networking components to meet the evolving needs of clients. Let’s explore some of the prominent names in the world of systems integration.

Electronic Data Systems (EDS)

Electronic Data Systems

Founded in 1962 by H. Ross Perot, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) became a pioneering systems integrator. EDS gained significant recognition when it won a groundbreaking contract with the U.S. Army in the 1980s. The company specialized in delivering innovative technology solutions and later expanded its services to include various IT consulting and outsourcing offerings. In 2008, EDS was acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and merged with Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) to form DXC Technology.

Andersen Consulting (now Accenture)

Andersen Consulting, which later rebranded as Accenture, played a significant role in the systems integration landscape. The company provided comprehensive IT services, including systems integration, consulting, and outsourcing. Accenture’s extensive expertise and global reach enabled it to assist clients in realizing their digital transformation goals successfully. Today, Accenture remains a leading global professional services company, offering a wide range of technology and management consulting services.

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) and IBM

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) and IBM also emerged as major systems integrators during the 1980s. CSC focused on offering a range of IT services, including systems integration, consulting, and outsourcing. IBM, a global technology giant, provided end-to-end technology solutions, with systems integration being a core part of its offerings. Both companies have continued to transform and adapt to the evolving IT landscape, expanding their portfolios to encompass a broader range of IT services.

SHL Systemhouse

SHL Systemhouse, founded in 1973, made significant contributions to the field of systems integration. The company provided innovative IT solutions to clients, with a strong focus on systems integration. In 1995, SHL Systemhouse was acquired by Electronic Data Systems (EDS), further strengthening EDS’s position as a leading systems integrator.

These major systems integrators are just a glimpse into the rich history of the industry. Over the years, these companies have demonstrated their ability to adapt and innovate, continuously delivering value to clients through their comprehensive systems integration services.

Systems Integrator Business Model

Today, many IT services companies position themselves as systems integrators, offering comprehensive solutions that go beyond mere systems integration. As businesses increasingly embrace IT outsourcing, managed services, and cloud computing, the role of systems integrators has evolved to match these demands. These companies now provide a diverse range of services, including consulting, systems integration, managed services, and cloud services.

By offering consulting services, systems integrators assist organizations in identifying their specific IT needs and devising strategies to meet their goals effectively. With their expertise in systems integration, these companies seamlessly bring together various technologies to develop customized solutions that align with the clients’ objectives. Additionally, systems integrators have expanded their service offerings to include managed services, helping organizations maintain and optimize their IT infrastructure on an ongoing basis.

The rise of cloud computing has further transformed the systems integrator business model. Today, systems integrators play a crucial role in helping businesses navigate the complex landscape of cloud services. They assist in integrating on-premises IT systems with cloud-based applications, enabling organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud computing while maintaining their existing infrastructure.

While systems integrators and value-added resellers (VARs) share similarities, their target audience and focus differ. VARs typically cater to small and midsize businesses, offering packaged solutions to address specific needs. On the other hand, systems integrators primarily engage with larger enterprise customers, handling complex, large-scale projects that require comprehensive systems integration and expertise. This differentiation ensures that businesses of all sizes can find the right IT services provider to meet their unique requirements.

FAQ

What is a system integrator?

A system integrator is an individual or business that builds computing systems for clients by combining hardware, software, networking, and storage products from multiple vendors. This allows companies to align cheaper, preconfigured components and commercial off-the-shelf software to meet their key business goals. It eliminates the need for expensive, customized implementations that require original programming or manufacturing unique components.

What does a system integrator do?

The task of a systems integrator starts with client meetings, where they assess the client’s business needs and define the technical requirements for an IT system that meets those needs. They then create an integration plan and proceed with designing or building a customized architecture or application, integrating it with new or existing hardware, software, and networking infrastructure. With the rise of cloud computing, system integrators may also play a role in integrating on-premises IT systems with cloud-based applications or computing infrastructure.

What are some examples of major systems integrators?

Some major systems integrators that emerged in the 1980s include Electronic Data Systems (EDS), Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture), Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), IBM, and SHL Systemhouse. Over the years, some of these companies transformed into broader IT service providers. For example, Andersen Consulting became Accenture and SHL Systemhouse was acquired by EDS. EDS itself was purchased by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and later merged with CSC to form DXC Technology.

What is the business model of systems integrators?

Today, many IT services companies describe themselves as systems integrators, but systems integration is just one of the services they provide within a broader portfolio. With the advent of IT outsourcing, managed services, and cloud services, the business models of systems integrators have evolved. These companies now offer a mix of consulting services, systems integration, managed services, and cloud services. There is some overlap between systems integrators and value-added resellers (VARs), with VARs focusing more on small and midsize business customers and systems integrators engaging with larger enterprise customers on large-scale projects.

Author

  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

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