This post was originally posted by our colleague Carmen Apostu on the Saasler blog, you can find related topics here.
In part 1 of the series, we talked about the factors that affect integration costs. Now, it’s time to get down to business and start crunching the numbers.
Spending by Stage
In order to better assess the time/cost commitment of building integrations, we will breakdown the process into four stages:
This step begins even before any code is written. Although sometimes overlooked, research is key to ensure a successful integration setup. Its importance lies in getting familiar with the API and getting comfortable around its data structures, protocols, user authentication, etc. At this stage, the most important thing is to get comfortable around the API and understand the functionalities required from the integration.
Estimated time frame: 2 days
After considerable research, it’s time to get started and prove the connectivity, which will allow the team to learn more about the product and better understand the endpoint. At this stage, a prototype of the integration will be created in its most basic form, in order to prove that the desired integration is possible. It is important to gather feedback from all interested parties, before moving forward or adding additional functionalities.
Estimated time frame: 3-5 days
3. Planning and execution:
After the testing is successfully concluded, it’s time to come up with a development plan and move forward with the execution. Initially, an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) will be put in place, to create a connection with basic functionalities. This will go through several iterations and evolve into a fully fledged integration. This stage will also include risk assessment, as well as a system to prevent, foresee and handle system failures.
Estimated time frame: 10-15 days
This stage comprises several different factors, including:
- Logging: Every time a transaction or connection to the API occurs, it should be tracked and kept on a log.
- Monitoring: This is an ongoing process to make sure that everything is working properly. Alerts and webhooks should be put in place to report any errors.
- Documenting: API documentation consists on compiling every step developers take during the project to allow others to continue the work without wasting excessive time or making unnecessary mistakes. Doing this will cut down on maintenance costs.
Even though it can be initially believed that the upfront costs will be the highest investment in this process, most company resources go towards maintaining existing integrations over time.
Estimated time frame: 15+ days
Total estimated time frame: 4-6 weeks
Development rates are not fixed, and can vary greatly. Therefore, to accurately calculate the cost of integrations for your company, it’s best to use your own “development rate” and multiply for the total estimated time frame for this project. Additionally, keep in mind that maintenance represents the bulk of what a company will eventually spend to keep everything running smoothly. So, prepare to continue investing some development resources to this end over time.
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