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State of SaaS Integration: 2023 Outlook

In this whitepaper, we discuss all about SaaS integrations: types, trends, forecast and examples. Read on to explore and understand the SaaS integration market

If you look around the market today, you will find that on an average, a company uses 200+ applications, and each department within a company uses 40-60 tools. As the number of applications used as well as the volume of data generated by each increases, companies are seeking a simplified and streamlined mechanism to connect the various applications and facilitate smooth exchange of data between them. 

Thus, came the demand for product integrations to easily connect different applications and ensure seamless communication between them. Invariably, as the number of applications kept increasing, the onus of incorporating and supporting integrations fell on SaaS businesses, providing the applications to customers. Today, offering or supporting integrations is not just an added feature but can act as a competitive advantage for SaaS businesses. 

As the SaaS integration market continues to grow, businesses are exploring various ways in which they can offer integrations to their customers to support better service and retention. However, as the SaaS integration landscape is changing, with an evolution from traditional integration to the rise of APIs and iPaaS, there are several questions businesses and customers have about integrations. Thus, our latest paper of State of SaaS Integration will focus on decoding the SaaS landscape, how it has been changing over the past few years and the roadmap for the future with embedded iPaaS. 

What to look out for in the whitepaper

This paper on the State of SaaS Integration will help you understand the various facets of SaaS integrations and how it has been changing to adapt to the dynamic business needs in the market. It will focus on the following themes:

  • SaaS integration: meaning and importance
  • Overview of the traditional SaaS integration landscape
  • Evolution of SaaS integration
  • Rise of the Unified API
  • 5 year SaaS integration market forecast
  • Types and trends in SaaS integration
  • Future of integrations with Unified API

Overall, this whitepaper will give you a comprehensive view about what to expect from the SaaS integration ecosystem, the trends to look out for and ways to leverage the advancements with iPaaS and embedded iPaaS to make product integration seamless and sustainable at scale. 

Who is it for?

Covering the diverse aspects of the SaaS integration landscape, this paper will serve as a comprehensive read for founders, executives, CTOs and leaders of SaaS startups and growing businesses. It is ideal for SaaS leaders who wish to understand the integration landscape and identify the best solutions to offer product integration functionalities for their customers without investing additional engineering efforts or time and cost intensive resources. 

If you are a SaaS leader, this paper will help you make an informed choice about selecting the right integration methodology or model to adopt. Additionally, it will help you gain knowledge about the different SaaS integrations that your customers might request for and how you can prepare for them in advance to gain a competitive edge. 

Why should you read this whitepaper?

This whitepaper is an all-encompassing guide if you seek to understand the SaaS integration market and how product integrations are likely to evolve in the coming years. It will help you gauge the latest integration trends and learn how you can ride the wave for better customer experience and new revenue streams without stretching your engineering teams. 

It will enable you to understand how you can offer native product integrations to your customers with no/low-code functionalities as the integration market is moving from traditional to iPaaS integration models. Furthermore, you can capture how the increase in number of applications used by different companies creates a new market you can capture by offering streamlined integrations with your SaaS product. 

The paper will also illustrate how the SaaS integration market is changing and the top integrations and use cases that companies are increasingly adopting. Overall, the paper will help you understand how to augment growth for your SaaS business with embedded iPaaS. 

What is SaaS integration?

Let’s start with a basic understanding of the SaaS integration ecosystem before we delve into the specifics. SaaS is essentially a software delivery mechanism where companies are able to use or access a particular software online, instead of its installation on a particular piece of hardware. Consequently, there might be several software or applications that a company uses to undertake its activities. While some of these might be other cloud based applications, some can even be on-premise. However, SaaS integration focuses on how to seamlessly connect the various applications that a company uses. 

There might be multiple reasons why companies prefer SaaS integrations. Right from facilitating data exchange between applications, to integrating workflows, to automating processes, SaaS integrations help companies facilitate greater efficiency and productivity.  Research shows that companies estimate that 70% of apps they use are SaaS-based, which will increase to 85% by 2025. As the number of SaaS applications under use by companies is increasing, the need for integrations to help these applications is also on the rise. While initially integrations were managed in-house by businesses, slowly, third party integrations platforms became the norm that companies started adopting. However, now the onus has come on SaaS businesses to pre-configure the requisite integrations that a company might need to ensure seamless connection, communication and exchange between applications in their native form. 

This broadly captures the evolution of SaaS integration and why it plays an important role for SaaS businesses today. The following sections will delve into detail how businesses have traditionally managed integrations, the changes that have been observed in the recent years and how embedded iPaaS has seen a growth in adoption and demand to facilitate native integration for SaaS applications. 

Traditional SaaS integration landscape

In this section, we will focus on how companies have been traditionally integrating SaaS applications to facilitate greater communication and exchange. Over the years, as integrations increased in volume and scope, businesses have moved away from most of the traditional approaches to more robust and effective practices. While today integration between applications has become multi-way, earlier it was relatively simple with easy to understand use cases, including:

  • HRMS and payroll integration to ensure that employee days off and other details are taken into consideration while creating payslips, compensation, benefits, etc. 
  • CRM and email integration to automate customer communication based on specific account linked milestones at a regular frequency
  • CRM and web analytics integration for personalized communication and better lead generation

With these use cases in mind, let’s look at some of the ways in which companies traditionally achieved integrations, specifically around the preferences and methodology. 

1. API based integration

Almost all SaaS applications that hit the market come with APIs or Application Programming Interfaces that are open for third parties to connect with their products. While this helps the SaaS business significantly by ensuring that the burden of integrations is borne by the end customer or other third parties like MSPs, etc., however, the quality of integrations become vulnerable to quality compromise. 

At the same time, every time the SaaS vendor updates the API, customers need to update the same to keep pace with any changes. At the same time, not all APIs are compatible with different types of applications, which makes the integration process complicated. 

2. SOA based integration

The next way followed for traditional integration is SOA or service oriented architecture. Essentially, SOA makes software components reusable and interoperable via service interfaces, which follow an architectural plan that can quickly be incorporated into new systems or applications. However, the implementation of SOA based integration is highly time consuming and cost intensive with excessive training and maintenance costs and the need to hire SaaS application specific SOA specialists. 

3. Custom integration development

The next way to support integrations was for SaaS businesses to build custom native integrations for their customers from scratch. On the face of it, this seemed to be very effective where each integration could be offered natively within the SaaS application for customers to use. Such SaaS companies generally built point-to-point integration for each third party application that they sought to integrate.

Undoubtedly, this resulted in superior quality integrations, high levels of security and a pleasant customer experience where the product quality control remained with the SaaS vendor. However, as the scale of integration demand by customers increased, custom building of native integrations from scratch started becoming unsustainable. Most SaaS businesses felt that this required diversion of engineering efforts from core product development. 

While developing integrations was one part, maintaining and constantly improving it served as another cost and time intensive activity. Invariably, engineering teams were conflicted in prioritizing product versus integration improvements. This traditional form of integration is good when the scale is lower, but becomes too unwieldy as the number of integrations increases. With each integration being custom built takes 2 weeks to 3 months, the average cost stands at USD 10K, illustrating the cost intensive nature of custom integrations. 

4. Middleware

Another integration methodology used traditionally is leveraging middleware. Primarily, middleware is a software system that helps companies integrate or link two separate applications. It is also used by businesses as a unified interface for ease of development. It can help businesses connect and integrate applications using different protocols or technologies, managing data exchange, transformation, security, etc. 

However, like other traditional integration methodologies, middleware may also require additional engineering expertise and resources to ensure smooth functioning. Integration middleware has limited capabilities when it comes to cloud-to-cloud integration. At the same time, the flexibility for data source access is limited and it fails to deliver an efficient queuing capability. 

New integration technologies

The last few years have seen a rapid increase in the number of integrations an average business uses. Some of the top SaaS companies use 2000+ integrations, while on an average businesses use 350 integrations to support their customer requirements and facilitate better business results. With such an exponential increase in the scale of integrations being used, leveraging traditional integration methodologies became unsustainable and unfeasible for both SaaS vendors and their customers. 

On one hand, most of the traditional ways or preferences of integration were highly time consuming and cost intensive which made maintaining them at scale highly uneconomical, with a negative impact on the ROI that was initially envisioned. On the other hand, developing and maintaining integrations traditionally required exceptional talent and engineering expertise in house. Engineering teams focusing on increasing integrations led to a diversion of focus from core product functionalities to integration development and maintenance. 

Therefore, companies today are looking for integration methodologies and preferences which are low/ no code and require very little engineering expertise, which are resource-lite and easy to implement and which can provide a native application experience. 

Let’s look at some of the new integration technologies that are increasingly being adopted by SaaS companies:

1. Integration platforms

With major challenges of requirements of in-house resources to manage integrations traditionally, companies and SaaS vendors started moving towards integration platforms or tools to build and publish integrations. These platforms brought a disruption in the space by offering connectivity to numerous SaaS applications where SaaS businesses could simply publish their application and instantly get access to diverse integrations. 

2. iPaaS

The next integration technology that is seeing rapid adoption is iPaaS or integration platform as a service. iPaaS comes with pre-built connectors, rules and maps that help businesses seamlessly integrate the different applications they are using. iPaaS typically hosts the infrastructure data for integration along with the tools and to build and manage integrations, from within the cloud. It helps businesses easily integrate SaaS/ cloud based and on-premise applications along with a provision to create custom connectors in case the use cases extend beyond the market trends. 

It is able to manage high volumes of data coming in from a large number of integrations, handle complexities of integrations to facilitate data exchange, workflow automation and much more. iPaaS comes in the form of an out-of-box tool which can quickly be built into integration workflows with little or no technical expertise. Supporting real-time data exchange, iPaaS enables companies to almost instantly connect their applications, business processes, data, users, etc. to ensure better performance and output. Better connectivity, lower costs and seamless scalability to add more integrations as business grows, are some of top reasons why companies are leveraging iPaaS technology for integration. The iPaaS market is expected to grow exponentially and generate $9 billion in revenue by 2025, illustrating its adoption scale in the coming years. 

3. Embedded iPaaS

The recent time has seen the rise of a new form or evolution in iPaaS itself, with embedded iPaaS. While iPaaS conventionally is deployed by businesses using different SaaS solutions and integrations, embedded iPaaS is built directly into the software or SaaS solution. Here, the onus of ensuring seamless integrations lies with the SaaS vendor. Essentially, embedded iPaaS allows B2B SaaS companies to embed integrations into their product as a white-labeled solution. 

Like conventional iPaaS, embedded iPaaS also comes with pre-built connectors where companies can maintain their own UI/UX. Interestingly, since the integrations are pre built as a white-labeled offering, they provide a native experience and can be customized as per the requirement of the SaaS product. 

Evolution of SaaS integrations

From building integrations in-house to deploying embedded iPaaS, SaaS companies have come a long way in their integration journey. There are several factors behind this evolution, ranging from a shift in mindset to changing business and financial priorities. 

Overall, there has been a mindset shift away from using custom integrations built in-house on relying on platforms that may not give a native integration experience. Some of the top reasons governing this shift include:

  • 70% of digital transformation projects fail due to lack of integration quality
  • 45% digital leaders believe poor integration is the second main barrier to the effective application of digital technology
  • $250,000 to $500,000 is the average cost to a business due to poor integrations 

Thus, SaaS companies wish to get a native integration experience without putting burden on the internal team’s engineering bandwidth, where the cost of development of each integration can run into 1000s of dollars. Furthermore, SaaS companies have realized that different platforms that need to be integrated can have different models and protocols for data, or the way in which they store and share data. Traditional APIs don’t take this into consideration. Therefore, even the presence of APIs is not of much help. 

Another mindset shift has been observed regarding the maintenance of integrations in-house. Managing integrations requires the ability to constantly monitor and track as well as instantly resolve integration issues. When integrations are limited, this is possible, however, with scale in volume, SaaS businesses are finding this task difficult and unwieldy. 

Rise of the Unified API

The evolution of SaaS integration has led to an increased importance towards API or application performance interface. As mentioned above, APIs act as a messenger to help organizations facilitate interaction between data, applications and systems, in other words, help SaaS integration. Increasingly, businesses are seeing APIs as a way of focusing more on product differentiation and less on building integration capabilities in-house. While APIs have been around for long, they themselves have undergone evolution to give rise to an API economy. This has led to what we now call API first products and greater importance towards unified API. Let’s first understand what exactly a unified API is. 

Decoding unified API

Essentially, each SaaS product comes with its unique API, an end point which enables users to integrate the application with other applications and systems. For a long time, businesses have been dealing with each API separately, however, the data models, nuances and protocols for each can be different, making it difficult for businesses to leverage the end points for integrating them with other applications. SaaS application APIs can come in the form of REST, Webhooks, GraphHQL, etc. Thus, APIs add a layer of abstraction that allows applications to communicate and integrate with one another. With immense potential, APIs have seen tremendous growth, where over 90% of developers use APIs. Furthermore, 69% work with third party APIs - highlighting that a significant percentage of developers work on integrating external products and services into their own.

While extremely useful, differences in APIs can make it extremely hard at times for developers to research them and streamline integrations. Research shows that developers spend 30% of their time coding APIs. Thus, developers have seen the rise of a new breed, called Unified or Universal APIs. Put simply, Unified API combines the APIs from different SaaS applications in the form of an additional abstraction layer to help integrate all applications with a single API which gives business access to all endpoints. This significantly reduces the engineering efforts as companies only have to facilitate integration once and not research and integrate with each API endpoint separately. Invariably, as more applications open up their end points, a unified API becomes even more important to aggregate integrations strategically. 

Let’s take a small example here. For instance, a business wants to integrate its CRM and HRMS, however, the data models for each are different. A unified API will aggregate and normalize the APIs into a common data model which the company can use to integrate all applications, without having to hard code integrations with each API end point. The company no longer has to understand different APIs and can streamline integrations with a one time effort. 

Benefits of unified API

There are several benefits that unified API bring along for SaaS companies that are rapidly increasing their integration volume, including:

  • Faster time to market as developers don’t have to research and build on API end point for every new application that is added. This can save up to 3-6 months of development and engineering time. 
  • Reduced cost as building each integration in-house can cost an average of USD 10K, a cost which is largely borne by a unified API provider. It also reduces the developer effort to research on different API and integrations. 
  • Reduced need for data storage as managing integrations in-house with different APIs requires storage management for placing data that is exchanged between systems. Unified APIs take that friction out as well. 
  • Normalization of data into a single data model which is easy to understand. Since different SaaS applications can have different authentication, schemas and protocols, unified API ensures that ultimately the company stakeholders have to remember a single data model or schema. 

By bringing integrations to a single end point, a unified API is truly revolutionizing the way applications integrate with one another, paving the way for seamless and streamlined communication and exchange of data between them. 

5 year SaaS integration market forecast

As evident, the SaaS integration market has undergone significant change in the last few years. However, as businesses continue to increase the number of applications they are using, the market can only be expected to expand further. From a bird’s eye view, the overall market size is expected to rapidly increase, attracting more investments than ever before. On the one hand, businesses can be expected to adopt more and more cloud based SaaS applications to augment performance and achieve growth. On the other hand, the need to integrate data between different applications will continue to grow. Thus, for the next half a decade, the SaaS integration market is likely to boom. 

SaaS integration market

Let’s start by looking at the figures defining market growth in the next few years. According to research by MarketsandMarkets, the SaaS integration market is projected to grow from $4.4 billion in 2020 to $11.4 billion by 2025. This reflects a CAGR of 21.1% during the forecast period, clearly indicating enormous scope and potential for SaaS integrations. 

This rapid growth in the SaaS integration market can be seen as a result of the exploding growth that the overall SaaS market is expected to see. For instance, the SaaS market is growing at 6.5x as fast as the world economy. Consequently, 70% of CIOs are attracted to cloud-based SaaS for scalability and agility, as stated in a report by Deloitte. 

Increasing investments towards SaaS integrations

This expanding SaaS integration market size is a clear reflection of the business sentiment towards greater adoption of integrations and the benefits that these integrations bring along. Let’s look at how the industry trend towards SaaS integrations is changing. 

80% of businesses have at least one SaaS application integrated with their on-premises systems, says a report by IDG. Furthermore, the same study noted that 67% of the organizations are using more SaaS applications than they were a year ago. This suggests that investments in SaaS applications and, consequently, in SaaS integrations will continue to increase. 

At the same time, a Gartner prediction states that organizations that use SaaS integration platforms will be able to integrate twice as many SaaS applications as those that use custom-coded integration by 2023. Therefore, not only is the need for integrations on the rise, there is a definitive shift away from custom integration to relying on third party solutions like Unified API , iPaaS or embedded iPaaS. 

API market growth

As focus on integration platforms increases, it is interesting to look at the growth expected for the API market. Keeping pace with SaaS integration, the API economy or the API market is also showing a positive trend in growth. Research shows that 90.5% of developers expect their API usage to remain about the same or increase. Furthermore, 27.7% more developers are creating partner-facing APIs, indicating that more integrations will govern SaaS business growth in the next few years. 

At the same time, API management can be expected to see a boost, reflecting how Unified API which takes care of end-to-end API management for SaaS integration will also see a growth. Research shows that over 50% of large companies have 100 APIs or more, and maintenance of this expanding API library is expected to get cumbersome. Consequently, according to MarketsandMarkets, the API management market is projected to be worth $5.1 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 32.9%. Furthermore, where 98% of large enterprises consider APIs an essential part of their digital transformation strategy, 64% are early, and are developing their API program or strategy. 99% of enterprise leaders agree it is important to adopt a centralized solution for APIs to build, manage, publish, and consume APIs. Invariably, adoption of unified API is a prudent way for such organizations to leverage the API route for integrations. 

Types of SaaS integrations and trends

As we move ahead in our discussion on SaaS integrations, it is important to understand the types of integrations that businesses have and which are often considered integral for growth. While there might be several products that a business might use, there are specific segments which are likely to have more than one product that a business uses to achieve its goals. Below, we have captured 4 types of SaaS integrations that are predominantly used by B2B and B2C companies. 


The first major integration segment that requires attention is HRMS or human resource management system. There are several software that any HR team within a company uses to manage its people operations. Right from application tracking and onboarding to exit interviews and final paperwork, there are several steps in the HR lifecycle that companies you SaaS applications for. Some of the HRMS integrations that companies need include:

  • ATS software to manage job posting, candidate interview management, and other steps of the hiring process
  • Attendance software to keep a track of the attendance and days off for employees as well as to tracking working hours
  • Payroll management to create salary slips for employees and adjust increments, bonuses or deductions based on different parameters

These and other software form a part of the overall HRMS that businesses use. However, integration within them is extremely critical. For instance, payroll software will need to be integrated with attendance to ensure accurate creation of salary slips. Similarly, ATS must be integrated with others to ensure that data of newly on boarded employees is captured. 

However, each software can have its own syntax and schema, like emp_id versus employee ID, making data exchange difficult unless the APIs can be synched. Therefore, a universal or unified API can ensure that the stakeholder only has to understand one data model or schema, making communication between these extremely easy. 

2. CRM

CRM or customer relationship management software are used by businesses to keep a track of and service/ engage potential and existing customers to keep the business going. Irrespective of whether you are targeting a product on marketing or operations, CRM integration will be instrumental for a good customer experience. However, as there are multiple touchpoints of customer experience, there are several CRM that any business is likely to use in a complementary manner. The top CRM APIs that are available today for integrations include:

  • Sales CRM which streamline the entire sales journey for a customer right from pitching to conversion. E.g. Salesforce or Freshworks
  • Marketing CRM which takes care of all communication and marketing that takes place and manages campaigns that a company runs. E.g. Hubspot or Mailchimp
  • Customer success CRM which focuses on ensuring that customer queries, grievances and other requests are addressed seamlessly. E.g. Zendesk

CRM integration essentially involves ensuring that data and other information is able to move smoothly between the different types of CRM that a company uses along with other applications. 

For instance, customer information and trends from marketing CRM and insights from sales CRM can be integrated and used by platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to personalize content or advertisements.   

However, since the terminology, nuances and data models for each of these CRM can vary significantly, especially because most fields in any CRM are customizable, the APIs might not be easily compatible with one another. A unified CRM API can help businesses integrate the different APIs they need seamlessly with an end point which internally provides access to all the end points. Fortunately, the company needs to remember only one data model and schema. 

3. eCommerce

When it comes to e-commerce, a business has three major end points it might need to integrate with. While e-commerce platforms and marketplaces are the primary ones, accounting and payment processors need to be integrated as well for smooth functioning. Thus, for e-commerce integration, the following need to be taken into account:

  • E-commerce data from platforms like Shopify, Amazon or any other marketplace that might be under use. This data generally comes in the form of orders, inventory, customer insights, etc. 
  • Accounting data which generally comes from accounting software like Quickbooks, focusing on invoices, balance sheets, budgets, etc.
  • Payments data from third party payment platforms which focus on how much payment has been made, transaction amounts, balances, etc. 

E-commerce integrations are integral for any company that uses data from e-commerce platforms. They can build integrations with the different end points for the critical data required and ensure smooth business transactions. 

For instance, FinTech companies can take data from e-commerce platforms to understand customer behavior and thus, tailor their solutions which align well with payment limits and appetite for their customers. 

4. Accounting

Within accounting, like other segments we have discussed, there are several facets at play. Different accounting software can have diverse objectives and goals that they help a business achieve. As a SaaS business provider, your customers are likely to use different accounting software for different purposes and it is important to ensure that you are able to provide integrations for all. Some of the top accounting integrations need can come in the form of:

  • Recording purchases and expenses using software like Quickbooks, which ensure automated inputs
  • Billing platforms to automate creation of bills and presentation of accurate invoices to customers by taking into account all important billing parameters
  • Managing internal finances to keep a track of the spending appetite of the company and ensure alignment with the budget

Accounting integration will help you ensure that you are able to address the accounting and finance software needs of your customer by integrating key accounting software that your customers and prospects use with your core offering. 

SaaS integrations: Use cases and best practices

So far, we have talked about the evolution of SaaS integrations and the types of integrations that businesses are using. Let’s now look at some of the real life examples and use cases of SaaS integrations, business sentiment on the future of SaaS integrations and preferences for businesses to find the right one. 

While almost every SaaS business uses different integrations, here are a few examples that have been using integrations for success:

1. Slack

With over 2400 SaaS integrations, Slack is one of the top examples of companies leveraging the power of integrations. It offers integrations in the space of communication, analytics, HR, marketing, office management, finance, productivity, etc. which it offers to its customers to use so they do not have to leave Slack to use any other application they may need. Customers can leverage zero context switching and ensure seamless data exchange.Slack has 10 million daily users and 43% of Fortune 100 businesses pay to use Slack, and a lot of credit for this growth goes to early integration inroads. 

2. Atlassian

Atlassian offers 2000+ integrations across CRM, productivity tools, project management and much more. It offers APIs to enable teams to connect with third party applications as well as customize workflow. Atlassian’s annual revenue for 2022 was $2.803B, a 34.16% increase from 2021, with integrations playing a major role. 

3. Shopify

With 5800+ integrations, Shopify is another example of how a business is growing with SaaS integrations. It offers varied integrations across marketing and SEO, mobile app support with custom website templates and analytics. 

Will integrations continue to grow?

Will integrations continue to grow is a pertinent question among businesses which are weighing the benefits and costs of investing in integration platforms, unified APIs, etc. Invariably, the answer is yes. The rationale is very simple. Research shows that SaaS businesses are bound to see exponential growth in the coming years. 

  • SaaS market size is expected to hit $716.52 billion by 2028
  • Businesses that use an average of 212 SaaS apps are 93% powered on SaaS software
  • The overall spend per company on SaaS products is up by 50%
  • 30.4% of respondents claimed to spend more on SaaS due to the pandemic

These data points clearly indicate that the SaaS market will continue to grow at an accelerated pace for the next half a decade at least. As the SaaS market and businesses grow, it is natural to expect that the number of applications that any business will use will also see a rapid upward curve. Industry sentiment illustrates that 

  • SaaS applications make up 70% of total company software use
  • By 2024, the cloud application market value will reach $168.6 billion
  • By 2025, 85% of business apps will be SaaS-based

Thus, as the adoption of SaaS applications will increase, businesses are likely to see growth in integrations to ensure centralized management of the diverse applications they use. With integrations, synchronization and exchange of data between the various applications can become unwieldy and difficult to manage. By 2026, 50% of organizations using multiple SaaS applications will centralize management, according to a study. Integrations will play a major role in scalability and agility for any business as stated above, according to a study by Deloitte. Therefore, a large portfolio of integrations with centralized management, for instance, with a unified API will be a key enabler in business growth in the years to come.  

Selecting the right integration partner

Now that it is well established that integrations are here to stay and businesses will require additional support to facilitate their deployment and maintenance, it is important to understand the best practices to select the right integration partner. While there are several aspects to be kept in mind some of the top ones include:


To facilitate seamless integration, you must ensure that the integration platform you choose comes with sufficient pre-built connectors and out-of-the-box functionalities. This will help you integrate common applications that you need. However, you will also need some custom connectors in the form of specific webhooks or APIs to facilitate customer connectivity. In addition, since the focus is on volume and scale, the option for bulk data processing and data mapping is very important. 


When it comes to an integration platform, security is of paramount importance. As a platform which is helping you exchange critical and sensitive data from one application to another, it is important that the security posture of the platform is robust and resilient. Security measures like risk based security, data encryption at rest/ in transit, least privilege security, continuous logging and access controls, etc. must be present to ensure that your business is not vulnerable to any security threats or data breaches. 


One of the major reasons for introducing an integration platform for your SaaS business is to be able to manage data exchange between a vast portfolio of applications that you might be using. Chances are that you will keep adding a few applications to the ecosystem every week and your integration platform must be able to manage the scale of integrations that come along. On the one hand, there will be a scale in the number of applications and the complexities associated with it. On the other hand, there will also be an increase in the data that flows through it, which comes with its own protocols, data models, nuances, which need to be normalized and shared across applications. Thus, the platform must ensure that it is able to maintain the speed of integration without hampering the quality or continuity for your business. 


The end points for each application will be varied, and so will be the protocols. For instance, protocols could include HTTP, FTP, and SFTP, and there can be different data formats, such as XML, CSV, and JSON. At the same time, if you are leveraging API based integration, there can be diverse formats including REST, SOAP, GraphQL, etc. Thus, it is very important that your integration platform offers a wide coverage to incorporate the different types of protocols, data models and APIs that you are using or are likely to use. 


Finally, pricing will be a major deciding factor when it comes selecting your integration partner. You need to make sure that the cost of the integration platform doesn’t exceed what you might be spending in creating and maintaining integrations in-house. Take into account the developers time and cost that you might spend in development and maintenance of integrations and subset it against the integration platform cost. This way you will be able to gauge the ROI of the platform. 

Unified API: Future of SaaS integrations

As we draw this discussion to a close, it is evident that SaaS integrations are here to stay and businesses need to identify the right way or approach with which they can ensure seamless integrations and data exchange between different applications. While there are multiple models or approaches that can be adopted including, iPaaS, embedded iPaaS, one approach that stands out today is Unified API. 

As the data connections across businesses increase, a unified API can help aggregate all of them for seamless connectivity. A unified API will help you add integrations without any effort or friction. While faster time to market, reduced costs, greater operational efficiencies are some of the top reasons for the growth of Unified API, there are some other benefits as well. For instance, a unified API brings along higher coverage with options to integrate applications with a diverse set of APIs including REST, SOAP, GraphQL, etc. At the same time, since it enables your customers to integrate faster with their other solutions, making their business easy, you can charge a premium for some services, giving you a new monetization model for increased revenue. 

Finally, a unified API ensures consistency for the overall integration ecosystem. It provides a single access point for all integrations and is mostly built on REST API, which is relatively an easier architecture. Second, the authentication is also unified. Third, it facilitates normalization and standardization of data from different datasets and models for simplified mapping. Finally, it ensures consistency for pagination and filtering. 

Thus, unified API will transform the SaaS integration landscape for the years to come and businesses who ride the wave now will find themselves ahead in the SaaS business race.  

Sudeshna Roy

Lead Content Strategist, Knit

Decoding product and generating users with valuable content

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Knit has recently rolled out one of its most anticipated features: User Management.

With the User Management feature you can now add multiple users with different capabilities to your Knit account based on their roles. 

In this article, we will discuss how to get started with the User Management feature and maximize its benefits.

What is User Management?

The User Management feature allows you to add multiple users to your organization’s Knit account and also assign them roles and permissions . It means multiple users can login and have access to your organization’s integrated accounts and various other features as a part of integration management. 

Knit currently serves 3 categories of possible roles for any organization. 

1. Admin

Admins have full access to all the features in the dashboard. They are in a way the primary users who have the right to add/edit/remove new users.  

2. Member

Members have access to only manage integrations and webhooks. Unlike Admins, they cannot add/update users or make changes to the organization’s account with Knit.

3. Billing Contact

Billing contact has access to only billing related options, like editing payment details, selecting plans etc.

For more information on setting up the User Management feature, take a look at this video

How to access the User Management page

When you\ sign up to your Knit Dashboard, you will be logged in as an administrator of the organization you have just created. 

You can then access user management by going to the settings page.

In the settings page you will have access to user management, among other settings.

The User Management screen shows you all the users assigned to your organization, their emails, permissions and also gives you the option to see and edit their roles.

To invite a new user to your org, click on the Add User button on top right.

Here, you can enter the email ID of the person you’d like to invite to join your organization. You can also set their role. Invited users will receive an invite link on their respective email ID.

For detailed information about dashboard access for each role, be sure to check out the User Roles tab.

You can also edit the roles for a user, and resend the invitation to invited users.

What if we have already created multiple separate accounts and want to combine them?

If you have already created multiple separate accounts (by signing up separately with your individual email IDs), we can help you combine them into a single account. 

In the process, we will also combine your integrated accounts, and organizations from multiple accounts.

However, it would not be possible to transfer pre-existing syncs, logs and issues. As a result, once the integrated accounts are transferred, you’ll have to restart the sync for them.

Note: If you have created multiple accounts for testing and production, we recommend that you do not to merge them as the User Management feature does not provide for segregation of environments. 

Thus, it is best to have a separate account for production and for testing in that case.

Let’s get started

Please reach out to with the list of email addresses (along with their respective roles) that you would like to combine and we’d be happy to help you through it! 

Use Cases
Sep 26, 2023

How Can Marketing Automation Tools Build More CRM Integrations in 80% Less Time


Marketing automation tools are like superchargers for marketers, propelling their campaigns to new heights. Yet, there's a secret ingredient that can take this power to the next level: the right audience data

What better than an organization’s CRM to power it? 

The good news is that many marketing automation tools are embracing CRM API integrations to drive greater adoption and results. However, with the increasing number of CRM systems underplay, building and managing CRM integrations is becoming a huge challenge. 

Fortunately, the rise of unified CRM APIs is bridging this gap, making CRM integration seamless for marketing automation tools. But, before delving into how marketing automation tools can power integrations with unified CRM APIs, let’s explore the business benefits of CRM APIs. 

10 ways marketing automation tools can maximize results with CRM API integration

Here’s a quick snapshot of how CRM APIs can bring out the best of marketing automation tools, making the most of the audience data for customers. 

1. Customer segmentation and content personalization  

Research shows that 72% of customers will only engage with personalized messaging. CRM integration with marketing automation tools can enable the users to create personalized messaging based on customer segmentation. 

Users can segment customers based on their likelihood of conversion and personalize content for each campaign. Slicing and dicing of customer data, including demographics, preferences, interactions, etc. can further help in customizing content with higher chances of consumption and engagement. Customer segmentation powered by CRM API data can help create content that customers resonate with. 

2. Enhanced lead nurturing for higher conversion 

CRM integration provides the marketing automation tool with every tiny detail of every lead to adjust and customize communication and campaigns that facilitate better nurturing. At the same time, real time conversation updates from CRM can help in timely marketing follow-ups for better chances of closure. 

2. Churn prediction and customer retention

As customer data from CRM and marketing automation tools is synched in real time, any early signs of churn like reduced engagement or changed consumer behavior can be captured. 

Real time alerts can also be automatically updated in the CRM for sales action. At the same time, marketing automation tools can leverage CRM data to predict which customers are more likely to churn and create specific campaigns to facilitate retention. 

3. Upsell and cross-sell campaigns

Users can leverage customer preferences from the CRM data to design campaigns with specific recommendations and even identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. 

For instance, customers with high engagement might be interested in upgrading their relationships and the marketing automation tools can use this information and CRM details on their historical trends to propose best options for upselling. 

Similarly, when details of customer transactions are captured in the CRM, they can be used to identify opportunities for complementary selling with dedicated campaigns. This leads to a clear increased revenue line. 

4. Automated campaign workflow to reduce operational overheads

In most marketing campaigns as the status of a lead changes, a new set of communication and campaign takes over. With CRM API integration, marketing automation tools can easily automate the campaign workflow in real time as soon as there is a status change in the CRM. This ensures greater engagement with the lead when their status changes. 

5. Event triggered campaigns for faster TAT

Marketing communication after events is an extremely important aspect of sales. With CRM integration in marketing automation tools, automated post-event communication or campaigns can be triggered based on lead status for attendance and participation in the event. 

This facilitates a faster turnaround time for engaging the customers just after the event, without any delays due to manual follow ups. 

6. Lead source automation

The integration can help automatically map the source of the lead from different marketing activities like webinars, social media posts, newsletters, etc. in your CRM to understand where your target audience engagement is higher. 

At the same time, it can facilitate tagging of leads to the right teams or personnels for follow ups and closures. With automated lead source tracking, users can track the ROI of different marketing activities. 

7. Tailored social media campaigns and multi-channel marketing

With CRM API integration, users can get access to customer preference insights to define their social media campaigns and audience. At the same time, they can customize scheduling based on customer’s geographical locations from CRM to facilitate maximum efficiency. 

8. Data enrichment for enhancing lead profiles

With bi-directional sync, CRM API integration with marketing automation tools can lead to enhancement of lead profiles. With more and more lead data coming in across both the platforms, users can have a rich and comprehensive profile of their customers, updates in real time across the CRM and marketing tools. 

9. Lifecycle marketing automation

Overall, integrating CRM API with marketing automation tools can help in automating the entire marketing lifecycle. It starts with getting a full customer view to stage-based automated marketing campaigns to personalized nurturing and lead scoring, predictive analytics and much more. Most of the aspects of marketing based on the sales journey of the customer can be automated and triggered in real time with CRM changes. 

10. Customer reporting and analytics for decision making

Data insights from CRM API integrated with those from marketing automation tools can greatly help in creating reports to analyze and track customer behavior. 

It can help ensure to understand consumer trends, identify the top marketing channels, improve customer segmentation and overall enhance the marketing strategy for more engagement. 

Real-world Struggles of CRM Integration in Marketing Automation

While the benefits of CRM API integration with marketing automation tools are many, there are also some roadblocks on the way. Since each CRM API is different and your customers might be using different CRM systems, building and maintaining a plethora of CRM APIs can be challenging due to:

Data transformation inconsistency and campaign blunders

When data is exchanged between two applications, it needs to undergo transformation to become normalized with data fields compatible across both. Since each CRM API has diverse data models, syntax and nuances, inconsistency during data transfer is a big challenge. 

If the data is not correctly normalized or transformed, chances are it might get corrupt or lost, leading to gaps in integration. At the same time, any inconsistency in data transformation and sync might lead to sending incorrect campaigns and triggers to customers, compromising on the experience. 

Delays in campaigns 

While inconsistency in data transformation is one challenge, a related concern comes in the form of delays or limited real-time sync capabilities. 

If the data sync between the CRM and the marketing automation tool is not happening in real time (across all CRMs being used), chances are that communication with end customers is being delayed, which can lead to loss of interest and lower engagement. 

Customer data privacy and security concerns

Any CRM is the beacon of sensitive customer data, often governed by GDPR and other compliances. However, integration and data transfer is always vulnerable to security threats like man in the middle attacks, DDoS, etc. which can lead to compromised privacy. This can lead to monetary and reputational risks. 


With the increasing number of CRM applications, scalability of integration becomes a huge challenge. Building new CRM integrations can be very time and resource consuming — building one integration from scratch can take up to 3 months or more — which either means compromising on the available CRM integrations or choking of engineering bandwidth. 

Moreover, as integrated CRM systems increase, the requirements for API calls and data exchange also grow exponentially, leading to delays in data sync and real time updates with increased data load. Invariably, scalability becomes a challenge.  

Integration management

Managing and maintaining integrations is a big challenge in itself. When end customers are using integrations, there are likely to be issues that require immediate action. 

At the same time, maintaining detailed logs, tracking API calls, API syncs manually can be very tedious. However, any lag in this can crumble the entire integration system. 

Vendor management

Finally, when integrating with different CRM APIs, managing the CRM vendors is a big challenge. Understanding API updates, managing different endpoints, ensuring zero downtime, error handling and coordinating with individual response teams is highly operational and time consuming. 

How Unified CRM API ensures maximum integration ROI

Don’t let the CRM API integration challenges prevent you from leveraging the multiple benefits mentioned above. A unified CRM API like the one offered by Knit, can help you access the benefits without breaking sweat over the challenges. 

If you want to know the technical details of how a unified API works, this will help

Integrate in minutes with multiple CRM APIs

A unified CRM API facilitates integration with marketing automation tools within minutes, not months, which is usually what it takes to build integrations. 

At the same time, it enables connecting with various CRM applications in one go. When it comes to Knit, marketing automation tools have to simply embed Knit’s UI component in their frontend to get access to Knit’s full catalog of CRM applications.

Consistent data transfer guaranteed with normalized data models

A unified CRM API can address all data transformation and normalization challenges easily. For instance, with Knit, different data models, nuances and schemas across CRM applications are mapped into a single and unified data model, facilitating data normalization in real time. 

At the same time, Knit allows users to map custom data fields to access non-standard data. 

Real time campaigns and data exchange

The right unified CRM API can help you sync data in real time, without any external polling requests. 

Take Knit for example, its webhooks and events driven architecture periodically polls data from all CRM applications, normalizing them and making them ready for use by the marketing automation tool. The latter doesn’t have to worry about the engineering intensive tasks of polling data, managing API calls, rate limits, data normalization, etc. 

Furthermore, this ensures that as soon as details about a customer are updated on the CRM, the associated campaigns or triggers are automatically set in motion for marketing success. 

Never miss a data update

There can be multiple CRM updates within a few minutes and as data load increases, a unified CRM API ensures guaranteed data sync in real time. As with Knit, its in-built retry mechanisms facilitate resilience and ensure that the marketing automation tools don’t miss out on any CRM updates, even at scale, as each lead is important. 

Moreover, as a user, you can set up sync frequency as per your convenience.

Scale as you go

With a unified CRM API, you only need to integrate once. As mentioned above, once you embed the UI component, every time you need to use a new CRM application or a new CRM API is added to Knit’s catalog, you can access it automatically with sync capabilities, without spending any engineering capabilities from your team. 

This ensures that you can scale in the most resource-lite and efficient manner, without diverting engineering productivity from your core product. From a data sync perspective as well, a unified CRM API ensures guaranteed scalability, irrespective of the data load. 

Security at scale

One of the biggest concerns of security and vulnerability to cyberattacks can be easily addressed with a unified CRM API across multiple facts. Let’s take the security provisions of Knit for example. 

  • First, Knit ensures double encryption, i.e. it encrypts data at rest as well as when in transit for exchange. It also encrypts data with an additional layer of application security.
  • Second, Knit is the only unified API that doesn’t store any copy of the data and acts as a pure passthrough proxy. Data is only processed in Knit’s server and is directly sent to the customer’s webhooks. Protection of end-user data like this helps you easily gain customer confidence during sales conversations.
  • Third, Knit has wide ranging authorization capabilities, including, OAuth, API key or a username-password based authentication. Irrespective of what authorization protocol the vendor has, it can integrate with Knit.

Catch potential errors early on

Finally, integration management to ensure that all your CRM APIs are healthy is well taken care of by a unified CRM API. 

  • A unified CRM API like Knit provides access to a detailed Logs, Issues, Integrated Accounts and Syncs page for all integrations to monitor and track them along with possible RCA and solutions. This empowers your CX team to solve customer issues immediately without involving the tech team.
  • Furthermore, it enables you to track every API call, data sync, etc. as well as the status of webhooks registered for real time visibility in errors — ensuring that you are always on top of your data and minimizes the chances of any errors.  

Constant monitoring and on demand customer support

Finally, when you are using a unified API, you don’t have to deal with multiple vendors, endpoints, etc. Rather, the heavy lifting is done by the unified CRM API provider. 

For instance, with Knit, you can access 24/7 support to securely manage your integrations. It also provides detailed documentation, links and easy to understand product walkthroughs for your developers and end users to ensure a smooth integration process.

Get started with unified CRM API

If you are looking to integrate multiple CRM APIs with your product, get your Knit API keys and see unified API in action. (Getting started with Knit is completely free)

You can also talk to one of our experts to see how you can customize Knit to solve your specific integration challenges.

Sep 25, 2023

Unified API vs Workflow Automation: Which One Should You Choose?


In today's SaaS business landscape, to remain competitive, a product must have seamless integration capabilities with the rest of the tech stack of the customer. 

In fact, limited integration capabilities is known as one of the leading causes of customer churn. 

However, building integrations from scratch is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process for a SaaS business. It often takes focus away from the core product.

As a result, SaaS leaders are always on the lookout for the most effective integration approach. With the emergence of off-the-shelf tools and solutions, businesses can now automate integrations and scale their integration strategy with minimum effort.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of two most popular integration approaches: Unified APIs and Workflow Automation tools and provide you with clear instructions to choose the approach that suits your specific product integration strategy. (We also have a checklist for you to quickly assess your need for the perfect integration approach in this article. Keep reading)

We will get to the comparison in a bit, but first let’s assess your integration needs. 

Types of product integrations

In order to effectively address customer-facing integration needs, it is crucial to consider the various types of product integrations available. These types can vary in terms of scope and maintenance required, depending on specific integration requirements. 

To gain a comprehensive understanding of product integrations, it is important to focus on two key aspects. 

  • Firstly, identifying the applications that need to be integrated to determine the scope of the integration. 
  • Secondly, considering the number of integrations that will need to be regularly managed as time progresses.

Based on these considerations, you can gauge whether or not you will be able to take care of your integration needs in-house. 

Read: To Build or To Buy: The practical answer to your product integration questions

1) Internal integrations

When working on any product, it is often beneficial to connect it with an internal system or third-party software to simplify your work processes. This requires integrating two platforms exclusively for internal use. 

For example, you may want to integrate a project management tool with your product to accelerate the development lifecycle and ensure automatic updates in the PM tool to reflect changes and progress.

In this scenario, the use case is highly specific and limited to internal execution within your team. Typically, your in-house engineering team will focus on building this integration, which can be further enhanced by other teams who reap its benefits. Overall, internal integrations are highly distinct and customizable to cater to individual organizational needs.

2) Occasional customer-facing integrations

Another type of integrations that organizations encounter are occasional customer-facing integrations, which are not implemented at scale. Occasional customer-facing integrations are typically infrequent and arise as specific requests from customers.

In these cases, customers may have specific software applications that they regularly use and require integration with your platform for a seamless flow of data and automated syncing. For example, a particular customer may request integration of Jira with your product, with highly specific requirements and needs.

In these situations, the integration can be facilitated by the customer's engineering team, third-party vendors, or other external platforms. The resulting integration output is highly tailored and may vary for each organization, even if the demand for the same integration exists. This customization ensures that the integration reflects the structures and workflows unique to each customer's organizational needs. 

3) Scalable customer-facing integrations

Finally, there will be certain integrations that all your customers will need. These are essential functionalities required to power their organizational operation. 

Instead of being use case or platform specific, scalable or standardized customer facing integrations are more generic in nature. For instance, you want all your customers to be able to connect the HRMS platform of their choice to your product for seamless HR management. 

These integrations need to be built and maintained by your team, i.e. essentially, fall under your purview. You can either offer these integrations as a part of the subscription cost that your customers pay for your software or as add-ons at an extra cost. Offering such integrations is important to gain a competitive edge and even explore a new monetization model for your platform. 

Standardizing the most common integrations is extremely helpful to provide your customers with a seamless experience. 

Different approach to integrations

While companies can always build integrations in-house, it’s not always the most efficient way. That’s where plug-and-play platforms like unified APIs can help. Let’s look at the top approaches to leveraging integrations. 

1) In-house integration development and maintenance

Undoubtedly, the most obvious way of integrating products with your software is to build integrations in-house. Put simply, here your engineering team builds, manages and maintains the integrations. 

Building integrations in-house comes with a lot of control and power to customize how the integration should operate, feel and overall create a seamless experience. However, this do-it-yourself approach is extremely resource intensive, both in terms of budgets and engineering bandwidth. 

Building just integration can take a couple of months of tech bandwidth and $10-15k worth of resources. Integration building from scratch offers high customization, but at a great cost, putting scalability into question. 

2) Workflow automation 

Workflow automation tools, as the name suggests, facilitate product integration by automating workflow with specific triggers. These are mostly low code tools which can be connected with specific products by engineering teams for integration with third party software or platforms. 

A classic example is connecting a particular CRM with your product to be used by the end user. Here, the CRM of their choice can be integrated with your product following an event driven workflow architecture. 

Data transfer, marketing automation, HR, sales and operations, etc. are some of the top use cases where workflow automation tools can help companies with product integrations, without having to build these integrations from scratch. 

3) Unified API / API Aggregators

Finally, the third approach to building and maintaining product integrations is to leverage a Unified API. Any product that you wish to integrate with comes with an API which facilitates connection and data sync. 

A unified API normalizes data from different applications within a software category and transfers it to your application in real time. Here, data from all applications from a specific category like CRM, HRMS, Payroll, ATS, etc. is normalized into a common data model which your product understands and can offer to your end customers. To learn more about how unified APIs work, read this

By allowing companies to integrate with hundreds of integrations overnight (instead of months), a unified API enables them to scale integration offerings within a category faster and in a seamless manner. 

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of integrations and approaches, let’s understand which approach is best for you, depending on your scope and needs. 

workflow automation vs unified API

When to use Unified API

If you want scalable and standardized integrations, choosing a unified API is a sensible option. Here are the top reasons why unified API is ideal for standardized customer-facing integrations: 

  • They cover almost all integrations within a particular category or type. This suggests that you can integrate with all CRM platforms, including Salesforce, Zoho, etc using just one unified CRM API for example. (Check out Knit’s integration catalog across ATS, HRIS, Payroll. CRM and Accounting software)
  • Integration code is universal. You just need to integrate the unified API code into your application for a particular category once. Even when new apps are added within the unified API category, you automatically get access to and start syncing data with the new app without writing any additional line of code. This means that you build once and scale perpetually. 
  • It is extremely developer friendly and doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise or engineering bandwidth to understand and execute. 
  • You can retain a great degree of control. The integration backend can be managed by your engineering team, keeping control of transfer logic and also facilitating high levels of security. 
  • The data you receive into your product is normalized and can be directly synched without the need for any processing or transformation. (Moreover, unified APIs like Knit also allow you to map any custom data field from a specific integration that’s not included in the standardized model. Learn more)
  • Most unified APIs completely take care of integration maintenance once it is built. It means, your tech team need not worry about addressing ongoing customer issues at all. 

However, if you want only one-off integrations, with a very high level of customization, using a unified API might not be the ideal choice. 

Therefore, choose a unified API if you want:

  • To create standardized customer-facing integrations
  • High levels of data normalization and standardization
  • Scalable integrations that can be replicated across customers
  • Ability to add more integrations with minimal resource requirements
  • To control the backend code and drive customizations to a certain extent 
  • A native integration experience and feel and adherence to your brand guidelines

When to use Workflow Automation

Depending on the nature of your organization and product offerings, you might need integrations which are simple, external and needed to enable specific workflows triggered by some predetermined events. 

In such a case, workflow automation tools are quite useful as an integration approach. Some of the top benefits of using workflow automation to power your integration journey are as follows. 

  • Negligible engineering expertise needed. Workflow automation tools are created in a drag and drop manner, facilitating low-code or no- code functionalities. Event triggers are all you need to facilitate data sync from integrations. 
  • They come with pre-built connectors. This means that you can easily get started with pre-established workflows and integration patterns between different applications. 
  • You can easily outsource integration or hand it over to teams beyond your core engineering team as integration using workflow automation doesn't require knowledge about your core product, etc. 
However, the low-code functionality comes with a disadvantage of lack of developer friendliness and incidence of errors. At the same time, data normalization is a big challenge for applications even within the same category. 

The presence of different APIs across applications necessitates the need to develop customized workflows. Invariably, this custom workflow need adds to the cost of using workflow automation when scaling integration. As API requests increase, workflow automation integration turns out to be extremely expensive. 

Therefore, choose workflow automation if you want:

  • A low code integration solution
  • One-off customer facing integration or integrations for internal use
  • Limited functionalities for data normalization
  • Off-the rack workflows and integration syncs

How to choose the right tool for your integration strategy?

In the previous section, we explored different scenarios for building product integrations and discussed the recommended approaches for each. However, selecting the appropriate approach requires careful consideration of various factors. 

In this section, we will provide you with a list of key factors to consider and essential questions to ask in order to make an informed choice between workflow automation tools and unified APIs.

1) Integration complexity

You need to gauge how complex the integration will be. Generally, standardized integrations which are customer facing and need to be scaled, will be more complex. Whereas, internal or one-off customer facing integrations will be less complex. 

Try to answer the following questions:

  • How complex is your integration need?
  • Do you want to connect with multiple applications within a category or only one?
  • How much tech bandwidth do you need to spend on complex data transformation or normalization?

Depending on the nature and scope of complexity, you can choose your integration approach. More complex integrations, which need scale and volume, should be achieved through a unified API approach. 

2) Customization requirements

Next, you must gauge the level of customizations you need. Depending on the expectations of your customers, your integrations might be standardized, or require a high amount of customizations. 

If you need an internal integration, chances are high that you will need a great degree of customization. You may want to check on:

  • What is the level of customization you need for your integrations?
  • Do your customers need unique workflows in integrations? 

If you need to customize your integrations for specific workflows tailored to your individual customers, workflow automation tools will be a better choice.

Note: At Knit, we are working on customized cases with our unified API partners every day. If you have a niche use case or special integration need, feel free to contact us. Get in touch

3) Scalability and growth

It is extremely important to understand your current and expected integration needs

Internally, you might need a limited number of integrations, or if you have a very limited number of customers, you will only need one-off customer facing integrations. 

However, if you wish to scale the use of your product and stay ahead of competition, you will need to offer more integrations as you grow. Even within a category, you will have to offer multiple integrations. 

For instance, some of your customers might use Salesforce as CRM, but others might be using Zoho CRM. Invariably, you need to integrate both the CRM with your product. Thus, you must gauge:

  • How many integrations do you need currently and what is the scale of growth expected?
  • Do you need more than a few integrations or applications within the same category?
  • How integral is integration scalability to your business or product growth?

If scaling integrations faster is your priority, unified APIs are the best choice for you.

4)Technical expertise available

Your choice of the right integration approach will also depend on the technical expertise available. 

You need to make sure that all of your engineering bandwidth is not spent only on building and maintaining integrations. At the same time, the integrations should be developer friendly and resilient to errors. 

Try to check:

  • How much bandwidth does your engineering team have to dedicate to integrations, without diverting focus from core product? 
  • Has your team worked with a particular integration approach in the past?
  • Will your team need additional training to align well with the chosen integration approach?
It is important that not all your technical expertise is spent on integrations. An ideal integration approach will ensure that other team members beyond core engineering are also able to take care of a few action items. 

5) Turnaround time and budgets

You need to gauge how much budget you have to ensure that you don’t overshoot and stay cost effective. At the same time, you might want to explore different integration approaches depending on the time criticality. 

Time and budget critical integrations can be accomplished via unified API or workflow automation. It is important to take a stock of:

  • What is the available budget you have for integration building and maintenance?
  • How many integrations do you seek to accomplish with those budgets?
  • What are the expected timelines for the integrations to be implemented?

It is important to undertake a cost benefit analysis based on the cost and number of integrations. 

For instance, a unified API might not be an ideal choice if you only need one integration. However, if you plan to scale the number of integrations, especially in the same category, then this approach will turn out to be most cost effective. The same is also true from a time investment perspective. 

6) Ecosystem support

When you go for an external integration approach like workflow automation or unified APIs, beyond in-house development or DIY, it is important to understand the ecosystem support available. 

If you only get initial set up support from your integration provider/ vendor, you will find your engineering team extremely stretched for maintenance and management. 

At the same time, lack of adequate resources and documentation will prevent your teams from learning about the integration to provide the right support. Therefore, it is ideal to get an understanding of:

  • What is the support being offered by your integration partner?
  • What are the capabilities available within your team to facilitate the integration process?
  • Will the integration partner provide comprehensive documentation and resources for knowledge sharing?
  • What is the quality of pre-built connectors/ API that are being provided?

7) Future outlook and considerations

Finally, integrations are generally an ongoing relationship and not a one-off engagement. The bigger your business grows, the higher will be your integration needs both to close more deals as well as to reduce customer churn.

Therefore, you need to focus on the future considerations and outlook. The future considerations need to take into account your scale up plan, potential lock-in, changing needs, etc. Overall, some of the questions you can consider are:

  • How well will your integration approach support your scale up plan?
  • Will the integration approach seamlessly adapt to the changing integration landscape?
  • Are there lock-ins or commitments that come along with any particular approach?

Understanding these nuances will help you create a long-term plan for your integrations. 

Wrapping up: TL:DR

When building integrations, it is best to understand your use case or type of integrations that you seek to implement before choosing the ideal product integration approach. While there are numerous considerations you must keep in mind, here are a few quick hacks.

  • Choose workflow automation for one-off customer facing integrations where you need a low-code editor with pre-built connectors. 
  • On the other hand, go for a unified API approach if you want to create standardized customer-facing integrations which you can scale.

Knit unified API helps you connect with multiple applications within the CRM, HRIS, ATS, Accounting, category in one go with just one API. Talk to one of our experts to explore your use case options or try our API for free

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