System integrator
A systems integrator is a person or company that specializes in bringing together component subsystems into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together, a practice known as System Integration
System integration
In engineering, system integration is the bringing together of the component subsystems into one system and ensuring that the subsystems function together as a system...

. Systems integrators may work in many fields but the term is generally used in the information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 (IT) field, the defense industry
Defense industry
The defense industry, also called the military industry, comprises government and commercial industry involved in research, development, production, and service of military materiel, equipment and facilities...

, or in media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...


According to the Institute for Partner Education & Development, systems integrators traditionally realizes approximately 50 percent of revenue from consulting services and 40 percent of revenue from IT services in design, implementation and post-transaction consulting. They are different from an IT Consultant in that they also take title to product.

In Information Technology

In IT, system integrators integrate multiple systems for inputting, processing, interpreting, storing, and categorizing data. For example, a systems integrator may deploy a Financial Crime Management System using ReadiMinds' ReadiONE system, IT solution
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 integrating an Oracle
Oracle Corporation
Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation that specializes in developing and marketing hardware systems and enterprise software products – particularly database management systems...

-based inventory tracking system, a document management system
Document management system
A document management system is a computer system used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. It is usually also capable of keeping track of the different versions created by different users . The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management...

, an Alliance Universus (Unified Messaging Platform), a Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing,...

 system, a group of Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

 scanners, and a Rimage
Rimage Corporation
Rimage Corporation , is a producer of CD-R, DVD-R and Blu-Ray disc production systems. Rimage has introduced several CD printing technologies including Prism Plus, Everest III and, more recently, the Everest 600....

 storage system to produce an overall solution for the customer.

Systems integrator may also be considered an informal career path in IT
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

in the USA and a formal career path in the EU.

Systems integrators generally have to be good at matching customers’ needs with existing products. An inductive reasoning aptitude
Inductive reasoning aptitude
Inductive reasoning is a measurable aptitude for how well a person can identify a pattern within a large amount of data. Measurement is generally done in a timed test by showing four pictures or words and asking the test taker to identify which of the pictures or words does not belong in the set....

 is useful for quickly understanding how to operate a system or a GUI
Graphical user interface
In computing, a graphical user interface is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and...

. A systems integrator will tend to benefit from being a generalist
Generalist may refer to:* a person with a wide array of knowledge, the opposite of which is a specialist.* a physician who is focused on primary care and is not a specialist in a certain medical field...

, knowing a little bit about a large number of products. Systems integration includes a substantial amount of diagnostic and troubleshooting work. The ability to research existing products and software components is also helpful.

In the defense industry

In the defense industry, the job of 'Systems Integration' engineer is growing in importance as defense systems become more 'connected'. As well as integrating new systems, the task of integrating current systems is attracting a lot of research and effort. It is only in recent years that systems have started to be deployed that can interconnect with each other; most systems were designed as 'stovepipe' designs with no thought to future connectivity.

The current problem is how to harness all the information available, from the various information generators (or sensors) into one complete picture.

As well as the design of the actual interfaces much effort is being put into presenting the information in a useful manner. The level of information, needed by the different levels in the military structure, and the relevance of the information (information can become outdated in seconds) is so variable that it may be necessary to have more than one system connected together.

Another problem is how information is networked. The Internet may seem to be an obvious solution, but it is vulnerable to denial of service and physical destruction of the key 'hubs'. One answer is to use a dedicated military communication system, but the bandwidth
In communication networks, such as Ethernet or packet radio, throughput or network throughput is the average rate of successful message delivery over a communication channel. This data may be delivered over a physical or logical link, or pass through a certain network node...

 needed would be astronomical in such a system.

Army Warrant Officer (United States)
Warrant Officer (United States)
In the United States military, the rank of warrant officer is rated as an officer above the senior-most enlisted ranks, as well as officer cadets and candidates, but below the officer grade of O-1...

 military occupational specialty (MOS) 140A - Command and Control Systems Technician is an example of a systems integrator in the defense industry.
140A Warrant Officers assigned to Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) integrate systems with multiple operating systems (OS) and hardware configurations – that include:
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

, Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 & Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

Others can fill a similar role at the Division level and higher.

In Entertainment and Architectural Controls

In entertainment and architectural installations, systems integrators function as a designer/engineer, bringing together a wide array of components from various manufacturers to accomplish the goal of creating a unified, functioning system that meets the needs of the client. Systems Integrators are usually involved in the selection of instruments and control components from among various OEMs to determine the specific mix of output, function, interconnection, program storage, controls, and user interfaces required for specific projects. The integrator is generally responsible for generating the control riser, collaborating with the lighting consultant/ AV consultant on the function programming, and will commission the system once installed. Often (but not always) the system integrator will also be the vendor for projects they are commissioning, and will collaborate with the lighting designer on the artistic design. As lighting and A/V systems increase in their level of sophistication, and the number of manufacturers for components of these systems increases, so does the demand for systems integrators.

Common data protocols involved in entertainment and architectural systems are Digital Multiplexing (or DMX512-A), Remote Device Management (or RDM)
RDM (lighting)
Remote Device Management or RDM is a protocol enhancement to USITT DMX512 that allows bi-directional communication between a lighting or system controller and attached RDM compliant devices over a standard DMX line...

, Art-Net
Art-Net is a proprietary protocol for transmitting the lighting control protocol DMX512-A over the User Datagram Protocol of the TCP/IP suite. The protocol was developed by Wayne Howell and his company, , and is open for implementation with attribution but without charge, and make available a...

Architecture for Control Networks
Architecture for Control Networks is a suite of network protocols for theatrical control being developed by Entertainment Services and Technology Association...

 or sACN (Streaming Architecture for Control Networks), Analog, and various proprietary control software from a variety of manufacturers. Systems Integrators design many distributed nodes in traditional star or ring topologies, or customize system layout for specific installations. The network will have a hierarchy of main and sub-control stations with varying degrees of access. The network can be designed such that the controls for this system can be on an established timeline, or controlled in real time by astronomical clocks, audio/motion/IR sensors, or various means of user interface (buttons, touch-pads, consoles). This system might utilize a primary controller that can access the entire system, and satellite control interfaces linked via a network backbone that would determine functionality based on access codes. For example, a casino might use a networked system that interfaces with architectural lighting, stage lighting, special effects (such as fog machines or fountains), and media content routed to a media server. The primary controller would have access to all devices on the network, while individual control stations could have varying levels of functionality. A ballroom might have a multi-button panel that would adjust lighting only in that ballroom, while a cabaret space with a stage would require an access code that would give employees access to the stage lighting, while the IT manager could use the same panel to access the main controls for the networks.

In the Automation Industry

System Integrators in the automation industry typically provide the product and application experience in implementing complex automation solutions. Often, System Integrators are aligned with automation vendors, joining their various System Integrator programs for access to development products, resources and technical support. System integrators are tightly linked to their accounts and often are viewed as the engineering departments for small manufacturers, handling their automation system installation, commissioning and long term maintenance.

There is one System Integrator organization in the United States called CSIA (Control System Integrators Association
Control System Integrators Association
The Control System Integrators Association, or CSIA, is a global, not-for-profit, professional association for control systems integrator companies...

). This organization is a central point for Automation System Integrators and delivers Best Practices to their members.

External Links

Control System Integrators Association

T3Networks Inc. Data Services and Solutions

See also

  • System integration
    System integration
    In engineering, system integration is the bringing together of the component subsystems into one system and ensuring that the subsystems function together as a system...

  • Enterprise application integration
    Enterprise application integration
    Enterprise Application Integration is defined as the use of software and computer systems architectural principles to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications.- Overview :...

  • Original equipment manufacturer
    Original Equipment Manufacturer
    An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by a company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a...

  • Value-added reseller
    Value-added reseller
    A value-added reseller is a company that adds features or services to an existing product, then resells it as an integrated product or complete "turn-key" solution...

  • EDI
    Electronic Data Interchange
    Electronic data interchange is the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means. It is used to transfer electronic documents or business data from one computer system to another computer system, i.e...

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