Choosing the right product development strategy is challenging for CTOs.
Learn how your engineering team can save time with native integrations. Read on to discover the different types and their pros and cons.
In a native integration, two or more applications directly communicate with one another via application programming interfaces (APIs). Yet with data flowing from one app to the other, product users could also enjoy a better, seamless experience without having to use the two separate logins or user interfaces.
Let’s illustrate two ways native integrations can take shape in your platform.
In B2B SaaS context, ‘native integrations’ often refers to direct connectors between two SaaS products.
Slack integrations are a well-known example of this strategy. Do you get automatic Slack notifications when a support ticket is added to HubSpot? Or when a new deal is closed? Integrations between software, like HubSpot and Slack, helps teams work more efficiently. For example, support reps can act quicker on tickets because they get alerted in the tools they use most.
Data connectors in a business intelligence software are another example. Most BI tools connect to popular databases in one click. Or even load data from software like Salesforce, Quickbooks, or others. Thanks to API integration, data visualizations are always up-to-date with the latest data.
These app integrations automate complex workflows for your product users. Developers can build their own connectors or use embedded iPaaS solutions to do so.
Compared to native connectors, engineering teams can also fully integrate a software component into their platform. With true native software integrations, one piece of software becomes a native capability of your product. You can integrate both commercial software and open-source libraries.
Its capabilities become a natural extension of your platform, thanks to a seamless integration process:
More and more development teams use composable architecture for their products. Such software integrations are great for complex features that aren’t necessarily core to your platform. Or, if your team lacks the specific skill set to build these capabilities.
To add these composable blocks faster, low-code software applications are growing in popularity.
Embedded analytics is a great example of such reusable components. It adds reporting and analytics capabilities directly into any application. Engineers can customize the experience using powerful API integrations. Meanwhile, product teams can create and maintain reports with a drag-and-drop interface.
SaaS teams become more efficient with this new way of development. Product managers get more autonomy. Developers gain more time. The customer gets a better experience. Everyone wins.
Other similar, well-known examples are:
There are plenty of good resources on the pros and cons of native connectors. Therefore, we’ll focus on the second example of native integration in this article.
With native integrations, your team can deliver on new features faster. But your engineers become more efficient as well. By using building blocks, your developers can focus more on their core tasks. And fewer distractions means more output.
“We needed to drastically lower the amount of effort to develop customized dashboards,” says Alexis Lesage, CTO of a French PropTech SaaS. “With a native integration for analytics, we reduced the time to produce new dashboards from weeks to days. Even to hours.”
Native integrations are seamless. The integrated application adapts completely to your platform’s style and branding. By adding new capabilities inside your SaaS product, your users will have a better experience. They no longer need two separate applications to perform a single task.
From the experience of Thierry Vermeiren, COO at workplace solution Workero, product users are reluctant to switch between applications. “Adding native capabilities to his software creates trust,” says Thierry.
Native integrations are not only faster, but also more affordable. With the average yearly developer salary clocks out at $109k, hand-coding complex features is expensive. Low-code tools save costs while lowering the barrier to validating a product idea. Growing SaaS companies can build and launch MVPs quickly.
No matter how flexible the solution, a native integration is always a dependency. If the integrated software changes – or worse, gets deprecated – you need to adapt.
In addition, some software libraries don’t integrate in simply any tech stack. However, there are plenty of tech-agnostic applications on the market. It comes down to doing proper research and choosing the right one.
With flexible APIs, engineers can customize and develop complex integrations. However, using APIs can be a learning curve and requires engineering time. Even though building blocks are quicker than in-house development, you’ll need to consider this when creating your roadmap.
Product users shouldn’t struggle with multiple SaaS tools to perform simple tasks. Native software integrations offer a user-friendly, affordable alternative to this problem.
Engineering teams deploy features faster with composable building blocks. With the low-code tools of today, your users will have the native experience they dream of in no time.
For that reason, more and more engineering teams choose for low-code software. We encourage you to give it a try, and see how native integrations can work for your needs.
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