This post was originally posted by our colleague Carlos Contreras on the Saasler blog, you can find related topics here.
An integration can be explained as a “communication channel” that generally works both ways (input/output) for the exchange of information between two applications.
In the case of SaaS applications, which are expected to offer a portfolio of services to their users, the implementation of powerful integrations can greatly increase their added value and product functionality, while helping grow the business.
Here are the main things to consider before taking on integrations:
1. Know Your Audience
As obvious as this may sound, lack of research has been the downfall to many SaaS companies over the years. Remember that the success of any integration depends heavily on understanding its value to the users. No matter how seamless an integration is, if it isn’t what your users need, it will fall flat.
Consider this for a second. Can you think of a time when you lost a major deal or account because your product lacked an essential integration?
Chances are this integration was either somewhere on your roadmap or not even on your radar. Either way, your ability to not only properly identify, but to anticipate your client’s needs, is the defining factor that sets you apart from the competition.
2. Assess Your Resources
From a technical perspective, implementing an integration is a big investment. It requires a considerable commitment to cover the manpower and other resources necessary to successfully complete the project.
Time constraints can also be an issue. The process of building integrations can be a lengthy one and will require your team’s full attention, keeping them from focusing on developing the core product. This is why it is key to fully understand the resource commitment before embarking on this journey. Make sure that the integrations you want to build are truly necessary to the continuous growth of your business and the satisfaction of your users.
3. Define Its Viability
Once your mind is set on building a new integration, it’s time to consider several factors that can affect its viability. The most important one is to make sure that the application (or service) that you want to integrate with has a public interface that will allow you to connect your product and build the integration through that interface. The most common interfaces are Web APIs or Web-Hooks.
4. Study the Interface
Nowadays, it is very common for SaaS products to have open APIs, like REST. Before building an integration, do your homework and understand the kind of API you’ll be integrating with. Each API has its own documentation, which describes all the routes to resources and parameters that are used to make requests to each of them, as well as the authentication strategy, the requests limit either by second, minute, hour, etc.
Getting thoroughly familiar with the interface is key to better designing the integration process, as it may require a route to a resource that is not exposed or the petition limits on a certain time frame may be too restrictive for your clients needs. These are just a couple examples of the different situations that can come into play when building integrations. To be better prepared to deal with these, make sure you use tools that allow you to make requests to explore and test the API, such as Postman, Insomnia, or http-prompt.
5. Saasler Makes it Easier.
By combining the intelligence of human input with the power of automation, Saasler delivers native integrations at a fraction of the time required to build them in-house–removing roadblocks in your sales cycle, driving new signups, and empowering your engineers to focus on your core product. In fact, companies using Saasler shave months off each integration release, while retaining the look, feel, and total control that come with homegrown integrations.
Too good to be true? Request a demo and see it for yourself.