Cloud Integration Support – Virtual Accounting Partners
Using your engineering resources for building and supporting integration drains focus from your core engineering efforts to create great software. But determining the best approach to integration can be daunting. Many integration approaches are less than ideal. They often require custom-coding, provide limited integration capabilities, and lack the scaling capacity to adeptly
Integration scenarios are diverse. They can range from simple to sophisticated. One customer might need to connect your application to QuickBooks. Another customer might need to integrate your software platform to an on-premise SAP system running in a data center — along with cloud CRM and marketing platforms. The right integration partner gives you the flexibility to handle any integration need your customers might have. Your integration platform must be able to provide a range of options to your customers. They might need simple, out-of-the-box basic integration. Or they might need a custom integration. You might even need to provide integration as a managed service.
- Out-of-the-Box Integrations These can be embedded into your application using low-code, drag-and-drop configuration. Customers, or your team, can quickly design pre-built integrations utilizing templates.
- Custom Integrations These can leverage pre-built templates, low-code configuration and the ability to orchestrate even the most complex use cases with drag-and-drop ease. Custom integrations don’t have to mean slow integrations.
- Flexible Deployment Options Your integration platform should be able to address connecting to both on-premise systems behind firewalls and cloud-based applications. Such flexibility becomes increasingly important for tapping into the growing hybrid mix of data sources.
- Bullet-Proof Security Your integration platform should adhere to the most secure security constraints. This can be a major concern for most companies, especially ones in highly regulated industries, such as financial services and healthcare.
- Management and Reporting No matter where these integrations live (on-premise, in the cloud, behind a firewall, in your data center or in your customer’s data center) you should be able to monitor and maintain these integrations to support any customer service need or as a managed service.
What To Look For
Data and application integration has been around for decades. You could choose from among dozens of vendors as your integration partner. What key characteristics do you need to examine when evaluating a potential partner?
- Cloud-native iPaaS. Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is by far the most flexible technology platform and the fastest-growing segment of the integration market. iPaaS is much quicker to implement and easier to maintain than traditional on-premise ETL tools or enterprise service bus (ESB) technology.
- Integration flexibility. Your integration partner needs to support both cloud and legacy on-premise systems. While many integration vendors boast pre-built connectors, they should also offer generic technology connectors such as REST, SOAP, HTTP, as well as database connectors. As part of your need for integration flexibility, your integration platform should also make it easy for you to support both real-time and batch updating.
- No-coding required. As a software company, you certainly have an expertise in code development. But you should avoid hand-coding your integrations. Custom code introduces unnecessary complexity, requiring testing, regression testing and extensive maintenance overhead. A low code, cloud-native integration environment eliminates these challenges by streamlining development with drag-and-drop configuration and automated, centralized management.
- Rapid deployment. Be sure your integration partner can support the rapid deployment of any type of integration. No-code configuration capabilities are a prerequisite for getting your customers up and running with the least amount of effort. Additionally, your integration partner should offer process libraries and reusable routines that you can apply to multiple customers with similar integration needs.
- Deployment flexibility. While cloud systems are increasingly prevalent, most companies still have legacy applications and data that requires extra security protections. So it’s important that you can deploy your integrations in the cloud, in your data center, or in your customer’s data center.
- Self-maintaining. One of the biggest benefits of native-cloud platforms is that the software is maintained and upgraded by someone else. You will want the benefits of a self-maintaining integration platform while still allowing for on-premise integrations that need to live behind a firewall. The breadth of functionality. Connecting two disparate systems is just the start of supporting your customers’ integration needs. Other key capabilities include master data management (MDM), API management, EDI management, and workflow automation. As your relationship grows with each customer and as their needs expand, these additional integration capabilities become increasingly important.
- Market leadership. Experience matters. Your integration partner should have a deep history in integration and an extensive track record of innovation and success. Your integration partner will be critical to your long-term success in driving sales and customer satisfaction. Conduct due diligence through analyst reports, proof-of-concept projects, and customer references.