In today's interconnected world, it's rare to find a business that doesn't rely on multiple software solutions. However, getting all of these systems to work seamlessly together can be a challenge. That's where embedded integration platforms come in. These platforms allow businesses to launch native integrations quickly and efficiently, without dedicating extensive resources to the project.
In this guide, we'll explore what embedded integrations are, who needs them, and how they work. We'll also take a closer look at the benefits of using an embedded integration platform, as well as the top five platforms available.
What are embedded integrations?
Embedded integrations are a type of integration that allows businesses to offer seamless connections between different software systems. These integrations are built directly into the core platform, so users can access them without having to switch between different applications or tools. For example, a project management software might offer a native integration with a time tracking tool. This integration would allow users to track time spent on tasks directly from the project management platform, without having to switch between systems.
Embedded integrations can take many forms, including APIs, pre-built connectors, and custom code.
- APIs: APIs allow different software systems to communicate with each other, sharing data and functionality seamlessly. By using APIs to build embedded integrations, businesses can ensure that their integrations work seamlessly with the systems they're connecting to.
- Pre-built connectors: They are another popular form of embedded integration. These connectors are designed to work with specific software systems, allowing businesses to offer out-of-the-box integrations without dedicating extensive resources to the project. Pre-built connectors can be especially valuable for businesses that offer a wide range of integrations, as they allow developers to launch new integrations quickly and efficiently.
- Custom Code: Some businesses opt to build custom code for their embedded integrations. While this approach can be more time-consuming, it offers complete flexibility and control over the integration. Custom code can be especially valuable for businesses that have unique integration needs, or that want to differentiate themselves from competitors by offering highly specialized integrations.
5 Challenges of building integrations natively
Building native integrations can be a complex and time-consuming process. Developers must navigate the intricacies of each system they're integrating, often dealing with inconsistent data formats, outdated APIs, and limited documentation.
Here are some of the main challenges that businesses may face when building integrations:
- Time and resource constraints: Building integrations can be a time-consuming process that requires extensive development resources. For smaller businesses or startups with limited resources, dedicating significant time and staff to integration development may not be feasible.
- Complexity of integration: Integrating different software systems can be a complex and challenging process, especially when dealing with different programming languages, data formats, and authentication protocols. This complexity can make integration development even more time-consuming and resource-intensive.
- Maintenance and support: Once integrations are launched, they require ongoing maintenance and support to ensure that they continue to function properly. This can add to the ongoing resource requirements for integration development.
- Compatibility issues: Different software systems may use different versions of APIs or have other compatibility issues that can make integration development more challenging. This can lead to additional development time and resources to ensure that integrations function properly across different systems.
- Security concerns: Integrating different software systems can raise security concerns, particularly if sensitive data is being shared between systems. Ensuring that integrations are secure and that data is protected can add additional complexity and resource requirements to integration development.
Who needs an embedded integration platform?
Any business that relies on multiple software systems can benefit from an embedded integration platform. However, these platforms are particularly valuable for SaaS companies looking to scale their integrations quickly and efficiently. By offering native integrations, SaaS companies can improve customer retention, unlock new business opportunities, and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Some popular embedded integrations that SaaS companies user are:
- E-commerce: Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento
- Marketing: Hubspot, Marketo, Mailchimp
- CRM: Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot
- HR: BambooHR, Workday, ADP
- Accounting: Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks
- Project Management: Asana, Trello, Jira
- Communication: Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Tableau
- Customer Success: Zendesk, Intercom, Help Scout
How do embedded integrations work?
Embedded integrations work by leveraging an integration platform's pre-built connectors or APIs to connect different software systems. These connectors or APIs act as a bridge between the two systems, allowing them to communicate and share data seamlessly.
For example, a SaaS platform might offer embedded integrations with different CRM tools. Users can access these integrations directly within the SaaS platform, allowing them to create and send lead or account details to their respective CRMs.
The integration platform takes care of the technical details, so developers can focus on building their core platform.
Why are these platforms a no-brainer?
An embedded integration platform offers a variety of benefits to businesses looking to integrate different software systems directly into their core platform. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Scale integrations efficiently with pre-built connectors: One of the biggest benefits of an embedded integration platform is that it allows businesses to scale customer integrations quickly and efficiently, without dedicating extensive resources to the project. By using pre-built connectors or APIs, businesses can launch new integrations quickly and easily, freeing up developer resources to focus on other important projects.
- Reduce customer churn and improve retention with seamless integrations: Offering seamless integrations with popular software systems can help businesses improve customer satisfaction and prevent churn. When users can access all the functionality they need within a single platform, they're more likely to stick around and continue using the platform over the long term.
- Accelerate your customer integrations roadmap with pre-built connectors and APIs: Embedded integration platforms can help businesses dramatically accelerate their customer integrations roadmap. By offering a wide range of pre-built connectors and APIs, businesses can launch new integrations quickly and efficiently, without dedicating extensive resources to the project.
- Increase revenue by offering seamless integrations: By offering seamless integrations with popular software systems, businesses can increase revenue and unlock new revenue streams. For example, an accounting software company might offer integrations with popular e-commerce platforms, allowing them to reach new customers and generate more revenue.
- Unlock new business opportunities with integrated software systems: Integrating with popular software systems can open up new business opportunities for businesses. For example, an e-commerce platform might integrate with popular shipping providers to offer customers more shipping options. This can help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and offer more value to customers.
7 embedded integration platforms to checkout
Here's a section on the top 7 embedded integration platforms, along with a brief overview and pricing information where available:
- Zapier - Zapier is a popular automation platform that allows users to connect different software systems and automate workflows. While not specifically designed for embedded integrations, Zapier offers a wide range of integrations and is often used as a substitute for more specialized embedded integration platforms.
- Cobalt - Cobalt is a specialized embedded integration platform designed specifically for SaaS companies. Designed with developers in mind, Cobalt offers both pre-built connectors and unified APIs for a wide range of software systems. With a focus on speed and efficiency, Cobalt is a great choice for businesses looking to launch new integrations quickly and with minimal development resources. Cobalt offers a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop workflow builder, making it a great choice for businesses of all sizes. Cobalt has the huge number of integrations. We are a team of hard-working folks and would love to give you an unbiased advise. Feel free to schedule a call with me.
- Tray - Tray.io is a low-code integration platform that allows businesses to build integrations quickly and easily, without requiring extensive developer resources.
- Workato - Offering a wide range of pre-built connectors and workflows, Workato is an enterprise-grade integration platform designed for businesses of all sizes. Workato is a comprehensive solution for businesses with complex integration needs.
- Merge - Merge is an embedded integration platform designed for developers, offering unified APIs to launch HR integrations
- Paragon - Paragon is a low-code integration platform that allows businesses to build integrations quickly and easily, without requiring extensive developer resources.
- API Deck - API Deck allows businesses to build complex integrations with ease. API Deck offers data syncing features like mapping, workflow automation, and real-time data syncing, making it a powerful solution for businesses with this integration need.
Embedded integrations are a critical component of modern software platforms, enabling businesses to connect with a wide range of third-party systems and streamline their workflows. However, building and maintaining these integrations natively can be a major challenge, requiring significant development resources and expertise.
Embedded integration platforms like Cobalt, Tray.io, and Workato offer a solution to this challenge, providing businesses with pre-built connectors and APIs that simplify the process of building and maintaining integrations. With these platforms, businesses can reduce their development costs, speed up their time-to-market, and unlock new revenue opportunities.
Whether you are a SaaS business looking to connect with popular CRM and HRIS platforms or a developer seeking to fast track your side project, an embedded integration platform can help you achieve your goals. By choosing the right platform and leveraging its advanced features, you can transform your business and streamline your operations for long-term success.