Data integration & data management options

Introduction

As soon as your organization has more than one system that manages the business critical data the requirement to integrate those systems becomes necessary. The more systems that hold business critical data, more relevant integration becomes as it will both save individuals in every business unit time and hence your organization money, while concurrently giving management the visibility they need to make the correct decisions for company growth and expansion.

When it comes to integration, as well as DIY and have your internal team do it themselves, there are numerous options that an organization can choose.

This eBook outlines the four most common integration and data management options available to consumers today along with the expectations, pros and cons.

Native Integration

A native integration is one that is built by one or two of the vend2 cogsor systems being connected. Typically, the development of a native integration involves a high level of internal collaboration between the two companies for several reasons, those being the business opportunity, the perceived value, and the low cost.

The business opportunity presented by a native integration is that will be a win-win relationship between the two companies. Typically customers with one product looking for other solutions often rank prospective vendors with native integrations to their existing products higher than those without native integrations. This is a perfectly reasonable assumption since they’ve already invested revenue and resources into in the purchase of one system, a native integration with that system on helps enhance the value of the initial purchase.

Secondly, native integrations are viewed to work better than all other integrations. The reason for this perception is that native integrations are often born out of collaborative ties between the companies wanting to build a win-win relationship with the business opportunity afforded by the native integration. Often times during the development of a native integration both companies put forward their best practices for using their system. This becomes the framework from which the native integration is built. This is a great advantage to the native integration, however when systems are highly customizable, such as Salesforce or NetSuite, and customers begin customize their system, the native integration begin to fall short.

The finally advantage of the native integration is the low cost. The reason companies collaborate building native integrations is to take advantage of the business opportunity. Removing as many barriers as possible between the two companies helps funnel leads from one company to another and vice versa. Removing integration cost and API usage for native integrations means that the two companies immediately puts all other integration options at a significant price disadvantage.

 

Pros Cons
  • Low Cost, often free
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Built by product knowledge experts
  • Limited to no support

3rd Party Integration

3rd party integrations are developed by independent vendors. A3 cogss a middleware, 3rd party  products enable data flow between different systems for systems that do not already have existing native integrations, or for systems where the native integrations have a hole in the functionality. 3rd party integration shine in three areas; flexibility, ease of implementation, and ease of use.

3rd party integrations were born out of the necessity to connect SaaS products together where either no connector exists or the existing native connectors are flawed. Through their flexibility in connecting to multiple systems, 3rd party integration vendors turn their disadvantage of not being a primary product vendor with intimate knowledge of a platform into an advantage. This flexibility is advantageous as it allows companies who customize their platforms to take advantage of those customizations when integrating to other systems.

The second advantage of 3rd party integrations is the ease of implementations. Typically slightly more complex than native integrations, 3rd party integration are meant to be deployed as “plug and play”. The plug and play options do come at cost, that cost being flexibility, the more complex, the less automated the setup can be. For this reason many 3rd party vendors do offer only flexibility in their offerings.

Finally the ease of use is what helps 3rd party integration vendors win deals away from developers. Often times 3rd party integration vendors will work diligently on their UI/UX which pays dividends in multiple ways; ease of implementations, flattening the learning curve, and ease of use. Another significant advantage is that often once implemented, users rarely, if ever log back into the middleware platform. In some cases it is several months to years between user logins, and often they are by new users who need to get up to speed quickly.

 

Pros Cons
  • Increased flexibility
  • Inability to handle customization
  • Easy setup
  • Limited to no support

3rd Party Integration with Guided Implementation

3rd party integrations with professional services is essentially an application vendor with a consulting arm. Often the middleware 2 cogs wrenchapplication provider also provides the professional services, however that is not always the case. These types of vendors tend to win out because; they gain a full understanding of the systems being connected, offer training, and on-going support.

Considering that all softwares are built by vastly different teams, often in different geographies with different cultures, customers expect the integrations to work seamlessly. This is quite hard to accomplish. This is also why native integrations seem to do so well; they are perceived to be built under the guidance of the original vendors that truly understand the inner workings of the system. The professional services team spends a reasonable amount of time understanding both how and why the customer would like to set up the integration, recommends best practices, them implements the solution. Taken together this affords for a more flexible 3rd party integration middleware that can handle much of the nuance that companies require when setting up integrations with customized systems

With a professional services, the consulting arm of the company is incentivized to remain engaged with customer, offering ongoing training and support. Often these extra services come at no extra cost as part of the white glove service pack used to derive referral business. Often the referral network is what helps fuel the growth of the 3rd party integrations with professional services as they are often overlooked as a more costly alternative to simply using a 3rd party integration.

 

Pros Cons
  • Infinitely flexible
  • Cost
  • Lots of support
  • Longer setup time

Developers

Most systems today have developed APIs that anyone with coding experience can build a connector. Developers can usually create custom software that will fulfill a customer’s needs and handle all the business complexitieswrench emergent from the customization of several platforms. Developers shine in the being able to connect systems customized systems in unique ways that will fit the customer perfectly.   

Similar to the 3rd party integration with professional services, developers first need to gain an understanding of the client’s need. The advantage of the developer is they are are not constrained by an integration platform, they can either work with an existing integration platform or build one from scratch. This allows the developer to be a flexible as they are required to create the integration that will allow the customer to accomplish all that they want.

Pros Cons
  • Infinitely flexible
  • Open ended cost & time to complete
  • Perfect fit
  • Developer learning curve

Conclusion

Selecting an integration option will be daunting. Regardless of the path selected, it will require careful deliberation at the outset regarding which data should flow between the different business application platforms, what rules and regulations will govern the movement of data between the two platforms, as well as any time requirements for around the speed or specific timings around when data should move within the business application ecosystem.
Below is a brief summary chart of some of the expectation you should consider depending on on which avenue your organization would like to purse when integrating your products.

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About Vertify

Vertify is a universal data management application that connects with over 80 different SaaS products using endpoints. Once connected to Vertify, organizations gain API developer level control of their connected systems without writing code in an easy to use straightforward drag and drop interface. Once the endpoints are connected organizations can leverage  Vertify’s powerful data management toolset.

About the Author

Mark Shalinsky, PhD, has spent his life living in data. As an academic he wrestled with managing huge data files trying to understand the correlation between blood and neuronal activity. In the private sector Mark worked in sales operations managing and synchronizing large datasets in an effort to identify sales and marketing sweet spots.