It is important to integrate your data where possible. But it certainly does not mean that you need to build a custom integration for every single SaaS tool that you have in your toolbox.
Chances are, if you are using tools like Slack or Zapier, then you may be familiar with integration already. You have likely already connected these SaaS tools to another part of your business. But chances are that there is already integration software out there that exists already and makes the likes of going from Redshift to hubspot so much easier.
Building your own custom integrations is hard, they take a ton of time, and sometimes an integration solution for you already exists anyway!
When it comes to data integrations, doing so correctly will allow you to get data from one software to another in a way that further enhances your company’s capabilities. The way in which integration is able to happen between different applications really comes down to finding the right connector.
What Is An Integration Anyway?
Think of it as a puzzle. The app you are wanting to connect with is one piece of the puzzle. The app itself is another piece of the puzzle. And to successfully connect the two you need a connector piece that fits just right—this is what we call integration.
The whole goal of integration is to be able to essentially build a really solid bridge for data to get from one point to another. And chances are that the majority of your applications will need to be connected to something else anyway. So why not do so in a way that enhances the way in which your important data is collected and shared?
When integrations are built correctly and successfully connect your two puzzle pieces, you will have the ability to do so much more with your data. For example, some data integrations let you actually add features to your software without actually having to build it from scratch.
A great example of this is when it comes to payment processing systems. You’d be crazy to try to build your own custom integration from scratch, especially considering that there are some great integration programs out there already that make the connection between customers, businesses, and third-party payment validators so much easier.
Another great benefit to integrations is that you can connect one piece of software to another that your customers already love and know how to use anyway. This really gives you a great and powerful tool and makes your company so much more efficient. Plus, since you are already asking your customers to use something they are comfortable with, you do not risk losing customers!
What To Know When Building Custom Integrations
While your team may have the brains and capabilities to create custom integrations for your SaaS tools, it is important to remember that that will not always be the best use of time and energy.
Here are the top things to keep in mind when deciding if custom integrations are better than pre-built plug-in integrations.
1. Custom Integrations Take Time
One common misconception that many people have is that there are some integrations you can simply plug in and it will all sync up effortlessly. But when you build custom ones, you will really need a lot more time to get it set up correctly. Custom integrations can take months, even years, to nail down.
You will not only need to hire well-versed coders but also have a very good grasp on your data currently. Doing this for every single SaaS tool you have would take years to complete, so pick and choose wisely for the ones that you think really need to be custom-built.
2. Custom Integrations are Intense
Not only are building custom integrations time-consuming, they are also insanely intense. You will need to build a sold connector that can perform consistently when it comes to transferring data between both applications. Not only do you need to factor in the time to build, but equally the resources to maintain these custom integrations as well.
How To Know When To Custom Build
So how can you tell when it is better to go down the custom integration route versus the convenience of a pre-designed plug-in?
The best way to pulse check this is to see if you need an app prior to trying to build one. And then research to see if there are any integration platforms out there that already exist. Of course, look and see what your competitors in the industry are doing too.
At the end of the day, you are going to need to make a decision that best benefits your company individually. This means that some of your SaaS tools will be good to go with interaction software and others may need you to take the extra time and energy to create a custom integration.