Still Building SaaS Integrations In 2021?

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Are you looking for an integration platform for your SaaS application that supports multi-tenancy (your users or customers)?

New SaaS Development

Developing a new SaaS product can take hundreds or even thousands of hours between designers, developers, managers, and other key stakeholders. Building rich, high-value integrations for your customers from scratch takes a lot of time and optionally requires many moving parts.

But the work isn't done once you're able to provide a critical service to the customer! Successful SaaS like Stripe, Linear, and others, have all discovered that virality through powerful integrations drives more business than almost any other type of marketing - combined!

What's your approach to leveraging this tremendous growth engine for your company? This post will cover the options, their organizational impact and give you a framework for making that decision for your company. There are only a few approaches available with integrations, and the choices you make now could have ramifications years into the future.

What are my options with integrations?

Let's say that you are building a budget SaaS app called 'Budgetly', and you realize that you need a way to send custom messages to your customers. Janet, Budgetly's CTO, is looking for a different integration approach. There are a few approaches available:

  1. No integration - Build the feature
  2. Build your own integration
  3. Get an integration tool

No integration - Build the feature

For many companies, it makes sense to build features inside your application instead of creating an integration with an external tool. For example, if you need a customer chat widget inside Budgetly to provide fast support to your customers, it can take approximately between 2 to 4 weeks to build.

You can build the chat feature or do an integration with an external tool. This decision depends on the following questions:

  • Will building this feature take more time and resources to build than having an integration tool?
  • Will building this feature move me away from my focus on the core value of my product?

Janet, used these questions and concluded that it was not a good idea for her team to build a feature.

If you answered "no" to all of these questions, then build the feature! Your customers will love the care and focus you put into a critical piece of their experience.

But, if you answered yes to either of them, keep reading…

Build your own integration

This approach consists of having your engineering team build an integration with an external messaging platform, for example, building an integration between Budgetly and Slack.

Building your own integration could be useful when you need bespoke software integrations for on-premise applications where security is crucial. And, if you prefer to have the code, data, and security system in-house to avoid and detect vulnerabilities faster and have all the control of your code.

Building an integration with an existing messaging platform without using a third-party provider can be highly inefficient and painful. It can take weeks or even months for the engineering team to build it from scratch!

This approach also requires senior developers to manage security concerns, and it can cost more than buying an external tool.

However, building integrations yourself doesn't easily scale, especially when you probably want to be focused on building new core product value. It can also represent an ongoing maintenance burden on the team for months or years to come.

The decision on building your own integration tool could depend on asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have highly skilled engineers that have experience building integrations and can maintain the integration in the long term?
  • Does it cost more (and takes more time) to get an integration tool than build my own integration?
  • Will building this integration help me focus on my core product?
  • Will building this integration scale in the future?

Janet concluded building an integration internally is not a good idea for her team right now, since they want to focus on the core functionality of Budetly.

If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, then build your own integration! Your customers will appreciate the integration solution you provide them.

But, if you answered "no" to either of them, keep reading…

Get an integration Partner

Managing data across platforms can be a slow process, complex, and challenging to scale. Having an integration platform to handle data mobility across applications can be a good approach for you, so you can focus on what really matters for your company and, ultimately, your customers.

There are two types of integration tools you can get, no-code integration and code integration:

1. No-code integration These types of integration are great for non-developers who want to integrate two platforms, such as Slack and Salesforce.

Zapier and Tray.io are integration tools that will allow you to do this easily. This approach is useful, especially when you don't need specialized integrations and have just a few users.

2. Code integration Writing no code to create an integration sounds good on the surface, but usually, those integrations don't do exactly what your customers want. Will those solutions provide your product with the flexibility to create an experience your customers will love? What happens when you need an integration solution for multiple tenants and heavy customizations? If this is your case, you probably need a more powerful and flexible solution.

Let's say you have 130 customers using your budget application, and you need to send a Slack message every time a user saves their monthly goal. Doing one integration with a single method to authenticate doesn't sound challenging at first. What about when you need to perform the same task on Microsoft Teams? Or when you need to import their financial data from Quickbooks automatically? Or when you want to scale the integration? Each integration provides unique APIs that you will need to learn, code, and maintain over time.

Getting a code/no-code integration will depend on the following questions:

  • Do I need specialized integrations?
  • Do I need a solution for multiple tenants?
  • Do I need a flexible integration with customizations?
  • Do I need an integration that can easily be used at scale?

If you answered “no”, to all the questions above, then a no-code integration would be perfect! If you answer "yes," to either of them, you should probably look for a solution that allows you to write code and get the exact integration that you need.

Janet concluded that her main concern was to provide integrations to multiple tenants and that her integration needed to be used at scale in the future. The no-code integration solutions wouldn't allow her to accomplish this, so she kept reading...

What is my solution with code integrations?

Finally, Janet decided not to own the integration end-to-end but instead work with a partner to focus on their value-add to their customers.

Fusebit was built for developers by developers to build awesome integrations that allow you to customize, have deeply embedded and highly specialized integrations, and be used at scale with multiple tenants. Our code-first integration platform and SaaS connectors eliminate the headaches of dealing with different APIs, auth implementation, and the operational burden when running at scale.

Learn more about code integrations

Do you want to build awesome code-first integrations for your application without the hassle? Sign up for Fusebit now and try building your first integration for free.


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