A system 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 integrators may work in many fields but the term is generally used in the information technology (IT) field, the defense industry, or in media.
In IT, system integrators integrate multiple systems for inputting, processing, interpreting, storing, and categorizing data. For example, a system integrator may build an IT solution integrating an Oracle-based inventory tracking system, a document management system, a Microsoft CRM system, a group of Panasonic scanners, and a Rimage storage system to produce an overall solution for the customer.
System integrators also play many roles in media and the defense industry.
System integrator may also be considered an informal career path in IT in the USA and a formal career path in the EU.
System integrators generally have to be good at matching customers’ needs with existing products. An inductive reasoning aptitude is useful for quickly understanding how to operate a system or a GUI. A system integrator will tend to benefit from being a generalist, knowing a little bit about a large number of products. System 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, the job of 'System 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 problem is now 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needed by the different levels in the military structure, and the relevance of the information (information can become outdated in seconds) is so variable that it may be necessary to have more than one system then connect these together.
Another problem is how information is networked, the Internet may seem an obvious solution but it is vulnerable to denial of service and physical destruction of the key 'hubs'. The obvious answer is to use a dedicated military communication system but the bandwidth needed would be astronomical.