Updated on by Daniel Twigg
API integration platforms come in many shapes and sizes. Whether you are looking to consolidate data from enterprise silos, automate key business processes or provide self-service integrations to your own SaaS platform users there are some key functions that will assist you with your integration goals.
Integration platforms come in many forms: iPaaS (integration platform as a service), embedded iPaaS and iaaS (integration as a service). You can read more about each, along with advice on choosing an appropriate type for your needs, in our free report. Get your copy of “An Introduction to iPaaS, Embedded iPaaS and Integration” here.
This blog focuses on three key features of an api integration platform – particularly for an embedded iPaaS platform.
Enabling Native Integration Deployment
You can either resolve your client integration needs yourself (‘natively’), or you can hand them off to a third party service provider/application that sits outside of your application. While many companies are happy for their users to interact with a third-party integration solution to self-solve their requirements, there are many advantages to being able to handle integrations natively inside your SaaS application.
Native integrations allow your SaaS platform to become more “sticky” with your users. By being the facilitator of automation you deliver direct value to your users, enhancing your SaaS’s functionality.
Native integrations enable your users to self-serve, all whilst in your app, browsing integration options through your own customised marketplace. Their problems are resolved at point of need.
If you hand-off your end-users to a third-party you absolve yourself of the majority of the responsibility – much more scalable, but it fractures your end-user relationship.
While it can sound like it will be incredibly developer intensive to build, deploy and maintain a wide array of native integrations – it doesn’t have to be. This is where Embedded iPaaS solutions come in: providing a range of tools to create and deploy integrations in a scalable manner. A hybrid of a third party application, with the benefits this brings, but embedded into your application and, importantly, under your control.
Embedded iPaaS solutions such as Cyclr give you the ability to roll out a fully fledged integration marketplace into your SaaS app. You can rapidly create, manage and deploy an ecosystem of integrations. And you then have full control of what goes into it, where you want them featured and which of your users can access them.
Enabling Integration Building by Wider Teams
Traditionally any updating or modification of existing integrations would have to be tackled by a developer. Modern integration platforms mean that is no longer the case. With tools that make building integrations as simple as connecting a few Lego bricks wider teams can even get involved in the building process.
Providing teams with low-code tools, such as drag-and-drop integration builders, empowers more teams in your organisation to get involved with integration tasks. So, if your help desk is getting floods of tickets requesting modifications, or entirely bespoke integrations, they can be actioned at source by support teams. API integration platforms rest on top of existing APIs – so there is no development required to roll-out new integrations or amend existing ones.
They make use of existing features only. This speeds up response and delivery times by not having to fit integration requests into developer schedules and should improve customer satisfaction and your responsiveness.
Want to find out how Cyclr will enhance your integration strategy?
Enabling for Event-driven Integrations
The vast majority of integrations are built on top of APIs, luckily RESTful ones. As good as REST is, the problem can be when it comes to automatically getting updates you have to request for data. So if you’re looking for records that have just been added to a service you have to continually request new data on a regular time interval (also known as Polling). If the driving actions are infrequent then, nine times out of ten, you may not receive anything back from these Polls, it may not be the best use of resources.
This is where event-driven integrations come in. Typically driven by Webhooks. An initial packet of data which is sent to a custom URL only when a specific event has happened.
These initial Webhook triggers can be used to kick off much larger automation processes; adding and updating data in multiple systems all based on the data in the initial Webhook record packet. This is great for providing a timely, reactionary automation which works with individual records. It is also highly efficient for individual / low numbers of changes.
However if you are looking to process larger recordsets at each integration run-time Polling is undoubtedly a more efficient method.