The software product development process in the last decade has been immensely affected by the increase in usage and rapid advancements of third-party integrations. One of the main reasons for this is the Application Programming Interface (API), which today is almost standardized for most of the products.
The popularity of APIs has allowed the developers and not so tech-savvy people to integrate various packages and make their business workflows and operations more robust.
But wait…there are pros and cons to this as well. You should take into account your current systems and processes before you make a final decision on integrating third-party software.
Some of the obvious and not-so-apparent factors are the technical implications of the outcome, the market utility of the solution and the business and legal aspects of the integration.
What are third party Integrations?
Any homegrown CRM comes with native integrations that are built by the tech vendor beforehand to allow for the inclusion of commonly (read popular) available tools within your CRM. A user no longer has to leave the CRM to access these otherwise independent third-party tools. Despite the fact that the native integrations are easy to use and implement, but they are only limited to the most popular one, e.g., Gmail, Outlook, etc.
Why leverage Third-party integrations?
Some of the most common examples of third-party integrations are seen in eCommerce platforms. An e-store owner would like to have a robust payment gateway in place along with logistical one.
It is not just about the payment gateway that influences the UI/UX experience of a customer. There are other factors like security, convenient delivery options, and others.
Also, the staff handling the store operations should feel at ease and comfortable using all the integrations. We have come across cases where the confused in house team leads to big-time business blunders.
This is why you have to integrate your systems with industry-leading third-party software. This ensures your business operations are performing at the highest level and you are always ahead of your competition.
Having said this, you must be wondering where I can begin with?
Well, we are going to discuss a couple of integration scenarios and examples that are generally undertaken by progressive organizations.
Scenario A: This is the most common scenario in the industry where the majority of the players are operating on a homegrown system. Now to give a different dimension to their business offerings, they integrate leading third-party solutions that plugin with their systems. E.g., Salesforce, HubSpot, etc. Even though an organization may have the in-house capabilities to develop such platforms, but they choose wisely to opt-out of it because someone else has already built their expertise in the domain and it is redundant to reinvent the wheel once again. On your part, you will save time, money, and resources. Which could be better utilized in refining the custom features rather than building another ‘me too’ standard product.
Scenario B: The second scenario is when you try to blend your homegrown solution with a customized readymade solution For example, you are operating with Drupal CMS, and you had developed your homegrown cart over the years. But the competition and market conditions force you to upgrade your systems in a short span in order to stay on top. In the current context, it only makes sense to go with the latest and most secure payment gateway available in the market. Not only that you might want to integrate it with a robust third-party CRM. It ensures that you are not investing too much on acquiring new features to improve your overall performance and instead roll them out in no time by merely integrating them.
Let us go through some of the typical areas of third party integrations.
Single Sign-On Login
This feature allows users to authenticate their credentials on all of their integrated applications in one single sign-in activity, resulting in a seamless experience for the users as they don’t have to submit their credentials every time they navigate from one application to another.
Third-party integrations can be easily done on your homegrown CMS provided it allows for easy API integration of third party systems. This is one of the best possible ways to integrate with your CMS and offers the best possible user experience as well. With this type of integration, you can even access the user interaction data with third-party systems.
At Ace, we have dealt with many such integrations that have allowed our customers to gain valuable insights about their users.
For an eCommerce store, the payment gateway is the most crucial step of user experience. The customer should feel absolutely comfortable and secure about sharing their bank credentials. At the same time, they should not be made to go through a prolong transaction process unnecessarily.
Again another vital eCommerce store feature is the shopping cart. Online businesses can use third party cart hosting services from platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. Once integrated, you don’t have to worry about its maintenance and software upgrades. In other words, you have to plug it in and play. This requires less technical expertise on your part instead of developing a custom cart in-house.
Also, these third-party servers are maintained and secured by the vendor company, who have heavily invested in the niche technology areas and you as a business stand to benefit from this as part of the integration package.
The CRM third party integrations will have a tremendous effect on your day to day sales and marketing activities. These integrations can easily automate many repetitive and time-consuming tasks that are weighing heavily on your sales and marketing teams. Your CRM now becomes a hub of all of your sales team’s essential functions like email marketing, customer support, accounting, document management, and much more.
Marketing automation has become a necessity more than an option. Whether you are a small business or an enterprise – you need marketing automation tools for your business. And thankfully, there are different options available in the market that caters to different scale of businesses. Some of the famous examples are Eloqua, Marketo, Customer.io, Constant Contact, etc.
One of the most sought after combination of third-party integrations is Eloqua with Multipub.
There are a plethora of third-party integrations available in the market that you can go ahead with. The question is which one to go ahead with and how to do it. Of course, few third-party applications will allow you to integrate them without any technical know-how. Still, most of the integrations require the intervention of a technology partner who can help you realize your system’s full potential. Only an experienced technology partner can help you achieve business goals and tap new opportunities.
We at Ace have done lot many integrations for publishers in different functional areas such as eCommerce (Shopify, Quickbooks, BeaconLive) Subscription Management (Multipub, QuickFill, Chargify) and CRM (Salesforce, HubSpot, Insightly).