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systems integration[¦sis·təmz ‚in·tə′grā·shən]
A discipline that combines processes and procedures from systems engineering, systems management, and product development for the purpose of developing large-scale complex systems. These complex systems involve hardware and software and may be based on existing or legacy systems coupled with new requirements to add significant added functionality. Systems integration generally involves combining products of several contractors to produce the working system. Systems integration applications range from creation of complex inventory tracking systems to designing flight simulation models and reengineering large logistics systems.
Application of systems integration processes and procedures generally follows the life cycle for systems engineering. Minimally, these systems engineering life-cycle phases are requirements definition, design and development, and operations and maintenance. For systems integration, these three phases are usually expanded to include feasibility analysis, program and project plans, logical and physical design, design compatibility and interoperability tests, reviews and evaluations, and graceful system retirement.
Systems integration is essential to the design and development of information systems that automate key operations for business and government. It is required for major procurements for the military services and for private businesses.
Systems integration approaches enable early capture of design and implementation needs. The interactions and interfaces across existing system fragments and new requirements are especially critical. It is necessary that interface and intermodule interactions and relationships across components and subsystems that bring together new and existing equipment and software be articulated. The systems integration approach supports this through application of both a top-down and a bottom-up design philosophy; full compliance with audittrail needs, system-level quality assurance, and risk assessment and evaluation; and definition and documentation of all aspects of the program. It also provides a framework that incorporates appropriate systems management application to all program aspects. A principal advantage of this approach is that it disaggregates large and complex issues and problems into well-defined sequences of simpler problems and issues that are easier to understand, manage, and build. See Information systems engineering, Systems analysis, Systems engineering