I have been asking logistics people what IT problems they face, and “integration” has been a frequent response. I’ve always been confused with this term (and whenever I’m confused I get suspicious), so I thought it’s time to open my dictionary.
integrate combine something in such a way that it becomes fully a part of something else: integrating private schools into the state education system ○ The buildings are well integrated with the landscape / The buildings and the landscape are well integratedFrom A. S. Hornby’s Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 4th edition, 1989
Based on that, we can paraphrase:
integration combining an IT system in such a way that it becomes fully a part of another IT system
You have an eshop at Shopify and you keep your accounting at QuickBooks. You create software to bridge them together so that when customers make orders at Shopify, the payments are automatically entered in QuickBooks. Can we say we integrated Shopify and QuickBooks together? If you think that Shopify and QuickBooks are different IT systems that do not behave as a whole, then we didn’t. But if you view Shopify and QuickBooks as a single and whole IT system, i.e. the IT system of your business, then we did.
I think that in many cases, using “integrated” can be confusing. I’d better use “connected”. We connected Shopify and QuickBooks. It’s simple and tells the story.