DX, API Design & Documentation

Modern Approach to Integration-Grow and Keep Your Customers Longer

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Grace Brodie and Alex Cox work with Tray.io. Grace Brodie is the EMEA Team Lead, and Alex Cox is the Manager of Customer Engineering. Tray.io is an AI-powered enterprise, low-code, and no-code iPass tool for building integrations with APIs. In this article, Grace and Alex discuss a modern approach to integration.

It’s undeniable that integration is fundamental to a digital transformation strategy. Some of you may have an iPass tool, while some may be looking to the market and evaluating a potential iPass partner. If tools within your tech stack are better connected, it will unlock many new possibilities for you. Your tools are great at what they do individually. But when you connect them for more flexibility, they will be much more powerful. Connecting multiple tools will drive real results, it will help you lower overall operating costs. If your employees spend less time manually moving data between different systems, employee productivity is going to be elevated, and the data that you’re using across your organization is going to be a lot richer and a lot more reliable, which is ultimately going to help improve your decision-making. For businesses that offer cloud-based applications and products, by offering a broader array of customer-activated integrations to your end customers, third-party applications will make for a much more enriching customer experience.

But the challenge is that until recently, the integration tooling wasn’t designed to keep pace with business teams being able to select, deploy, and implement more applications. We’ve witnessed a significant proliferation. Industry estimates indicate that the number of apps and an enterprise tech stack has increased by about 25% in the last five years. But, at Tray, we think it’s much more. We see an average of about 30 applications per department and broader enterprises. This is a huge amount to integrate. It cannot be done just by developers or heavy tools.

Another aspect of this is that businesses that offer cloud-based applications see significant losses and revenue by not responding to their end customers’ integration requests. In some scenarios, the technical burden of building custom integrations on behalf of customers can be pushed onto the end customers themselves, and that cannot be a particularly great experience for them.

Critical gaps in existing tooling

Integration software is not designed for the scale and agility we need going forward. So, let’s look at those critical gaps in existing tooling.

  • There are Citizen development tools like Zapier. They’re quick to use but don’t have governance, observability, lifecycle management, or reusability. They lack role-based access control or even just scalability. So, ultimately, they are a dead-end if you want to deploy it at scale.
  • Most iPass tools were designed decades ago. Some have 20-year-old code bases and are only usable by integration specialists. The builder experience is often too complicated and not designed for collaborative development.
  • API management tools are too heavy for most integrations. In some cases, they provide a low-code UX on top. But ultimately, they are so limited in terms of business logic that teams are forced to default back to code.
  • RPA tools, which means user experience scripting, seem attractive initially, but integrations and automation depend on user experiences, not APIs, which are not robust. The UI is often changed, and then you must change your scripts.

Key concepts to modernize integration

To accelerate the pace of building new integrations, we see using composable elements in an AI-augmented code-building environment as the key ingredient for success. While a serverless compute architecture enables elastic scalability to meet the ever-growing integration needs—composable elements foster collaboration while reducing the inefficiencies caused by duplicated efforts across siloed departments. In addition, when centrally governed, these can be a major advantage in governance and security. AI augmentation of building environments reduces the time required to learn and understand new platforms and APIs. This low code also allows non-developers to build and maintain integrations.

This modernization requires new thinking. We recommend the following internal strategies that companies can adopt when considering the overall modernization of their integration strategy. We’re in an environment where organizations seek to consolidate and use fewer tools with more unified capability. You can’t have individuals and teams working in silos anymore. Integration is a team sport. You want people to work together productively to tackle integration and automation.

If individuals in your organization are building separate point to point API integrations, it can make for a rogue and disconnected approach. Suppose an individual who has built out a certain point-to-point integration leaves the organization. In that case, suddenly, the team that benefits from it can find themselves in a bit of a sticky situation. The new way is to provide a standardized connectivity that insulates teams from this change. Depending upon who is building out the integration just won’t cut it; your growth truly has to be frictionless in every dimension.

You must consider the following as part of your organizational integration culture.

  • Fast, composable experiences for every team
  • Universal capabilities to eliminate silos
  • “At-scale” enterprise governance

Whether you’re a software engineer looking to add integrations to your customer experience, a technologist in finance looking to integrate orders to cash, or perhaps a marketing manager who quickly wants to pull together a report, we want every team to be able to reuse and collaborate. Each of these use cases is often part of a long chain. Given their interconnected nature, they often benefit from strong collaboration during scoping and development. Composable elements can allow workflows to share components, reducing the development time and maintenance burden.

Benefits of adopting and embracing these modern approaches to building integration and automation –

  • DocuSign significantly reduced the time it takes for leads to get routed to their account executives, which results in happier prospects, shorter sales cycles, and quicker wins.
  • Mixpanel was able to spin up a much more agile order-to-cash process.
  • Peddle was able to reduce the time that their staff are spending on manual data entry by 30%.
  • Voxmedia was able to onboard customers up to 20 times faster again, making for much happier customers. Internal teams got a lot more time back, which meant that they had the capacity to launch many more new client projects simultaneously.
  • Airbnb was able to impact their overall project velocity significantly.

From the perspective of businesses that offer cloud-based applications and products, it’s clear that the big players invest in integrations because the revenue return is clear. Companies integrating your solution deeply into their tech stack will realize much more value and be much less likely to churn. We’ve seen that as few as two active integrations can improve retention by 14% and provide up to 13.5% higher MRR from the customers using them. The value of integration scales considerably as companies with five or more integrations have 37% higher retention rates up to 35% uplift in MRR.

 

Grace Brodie

Grace Brodie

Team Lead - EMEA Sales at Tray.io

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