Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming the deployment model of choice for organizations in search of accessibility, functionality, and versatility in a fast-moving, digital-first business environment.
As a result, the adoption of Software-as-a-Service delivered from public and private cloud services is increasing exponentially. Gartner predicts that spending on public cloud services will surpass $6Bn this year (2023) making it the de facto operating environment for businesses seeking the economic and competitive advantages it can deliver. A huge proportion of this growth is being driven by the increasing usage of ‘off the shelf’ software applications that address either generic needs like workplace productivity or specific vertical market needs like a GP surgery or clothing retailer.
These are also developing and changing at an accelerating rate as artificial Intelligence, advanced ML capabilities, low or no-coding capabilities, big data analytics and the new business models they enable make an impact.
These transformations promise a future of robust, flexible, and highly valuable software solutions that deliver far reaching improvements in business productivity, resilience and collaboration.
But how do you map your path to that future? Where do you start and where are the points of greatest interest and value on your journey?
Here at FuseGenie® we have been working with our partners and customers to analyse the software integration landscape and its features – good and bad – to visualise an ‘atlas’ of modern business applications and how to navigate it for the greatest advantage from an integration perspective.
Our experience has shown that software application integration provides significant benefits to a variety of functional areas and roles within a modern business.
You may feel you know instinctively where the greatest need for improved integration and automation exists in your business today. If so great – we need to talk! If you are not so sure it might be helpful to take a closer look at a location in the software integration ‘atlas’ which is close to our hearts here at FuseGenie® – Sales and Marketing.
Software integration can be immensely beneficial for the Sales and Marketing team in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven marketplace. We found 9 good reasons why:
These are the sorts of impacts and benefits we see time and time again when we engage with our customers, regardless of where they first focus our attention in their business.
Remember, however, that effective integration and its long term benefits require careful planning, implementation, and training to ensure that your teams can effectively use the resulting expanded system and that your whole business – its people, customers and partners – can reap the potential benefits.
How does FuseGenie® help?
Wherever you are starting in your software integration journey, FuseGenie® believes that successful navigation to your destination is measured by your ability to deliver greater value to your people, your customers and your partners.
Our proven integration and automation platform, combined with our trademark magic, enables us to deliver integrated solutions to technology partner-led businesses that are greater than the sum of their parts, helping to drive broader growth and new market opportunities.
So you’ve decided to pursue a software app integration strategy to provide greater benefits to your customers or partners?
It’s the right strategy at the right time as the SaaS market continues its exponential growth, and software in all its forms becomes the platform on which businesses big and small choose to build and grow.
As a SaaS or platform business you are faced with a significant opportunity to realise value in your software integration approach, not just via the greater functionality and improved user experiences you can offer, but by monetising the integrations you develop and launch.
Typically realising this value has has relied on a number of different approaches;
It’s important to consider your target audience, the value proposition of your integrated software, and the competitive landscape when determining the most suitable monetization strategy, which might focus on just one or a mix of all these approaches.
Understanding these approaches is one thing, but how do you actually get your chosen strategy into operation and attain success?
A software integration marketplace of your own could be the solution you need. A platform where your users can discover, download and purchase the integrations you develop. It serves as a centralized hub for you to showcase and distribute your integrations to your customer or partner base.
But building a software integration marketplace involves challenges in technology, user experience, business models, and support. Some of these include:
How does FuseGenie® help?
SaaS and Cloud computing have made it easier and more affordable than ever to source and deploy business applications. But also created the need to simplify processes that flow across platforms.
Our proven approach to integrations takes care of all of this allowing you to remain in the driving seat with your customers and partners. If building integrations in-house is difficult then offering them as a readily consumable and easily supported apps via an integrations marketplace is even harder . Even if you have the resources to do it, keeping up with the ever-expanding range of apps, services, and platforms is impossible.
That’s where FuseGenie® comes in. If your focus is delivering a fantastic SaaS product or operating a partner-facing platform that provides genuine value, then our trademark magic is here to provide not just on-demand, in-app, on-platform integrations, but also a secure, branded, easy to use marketplace for you to realise the true value of your integrations strategy.
Our established portfolio of connectors, simple marketplace set up and detailed analytics can help you diversify your platforms, engage your customers and partners, and achieve faster revenue growth.
FuseGenie® offers complete customization support for a professionally managed software integration strategy and value-creating marketplace for your offers . To discover how we extend the features of your SaaS app or platform strategy get in touch today.
Unlocking new opportunities to engage better with customers, while delivering the real-time data and immediate customer experience they demand requires integration technologies, but also imagination, creativity and collaboration.
These were qualities that abounded in the Roman Empire, recalling the words of the German poet Heinrich Heine – “If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.”
As well as illustrating the challenge of learning that now ancient language, it also provides a useful metaphor for understanding the challenge of integrating disparate technologies and working methods in today’s business and technology ecosystem.
It’s a whole new world.
In the digital economy, supported from the cloud via SaaS delivery models, we have opportunities to attain scale, efficiency and connectivity in ways that were previously unimagined. Yet organisations struggle to reach their desired outcomes for want of an integration approach that unifies data, processes and applications across the network of companies, technologies and applications.
For example: you want to access a strategic supplier’s data on pricing, quotes, orders, deliveries, returns and more, but crucially to do it inside your choice of business application, without having to learn theirs, or access yet another supplier portal, and then to achieve all of this seamlessly, in real-time, without manual steps, process delays, data security issues or loss of competitive edge.
There is a better way. In short, you don’t have to learn Latin any more.
Integrate to accelerate
Effective integration between software applications was once the province of enterprises and the biggest technology vendors who had the most to gain, and the most resources to deal with the technical challenges involved.
Today, applications delivered by SaaS have become a significant engine of business growth for businesses big and small, and are affording opportunities for valuable integration like never before. The potential is huge. As the connective tissue linking applications ecosystems, in-app and on-platform integrations are a significant source of competitive advantage and reduced technical debt.
Getting it right.
Broadly, there are 3 options a SaaS or platform provider has to build integrations:
You can develop open APIs, which anyone given access can use to create integrations. A good API unquestionably makes integration smoother, but only for limited users with the right skillsets. They are accessible only to that set of your customers who are also developers. It is why APIs give you a much lower user adoption. In a sense, you are still not much further on from having to learn Latin if you are still dependent on developers writing code!
You could direct your users to 3rd party integration tools. These are not always great and another major drawback. You’re pushing users beyond your product. This forces them to have an experience outside your domain, not something you should aim for. Add to it that they often have to invest extra time, money and resource for the integration, and these tools are not an effective solution. You are still having to learn someone else’s language to conquer your world – only not quite such a complex one as the API model.
The third and by far the most effective approach is to build native integrations with FuseGenie’s platform. This works because we are almost a natural extensions of your product. In effect, they speak the language you already use today.
You keep complete control of the user experience, and your customers and partners don’t have to pay additional licensing fees. You can work on multiple integrations without diverting resources from your core product strategy. Furthermore, you don’t have to maintain the integration code which is a major drag on your engineering resources.
Here’s what we have learned from our experience…
The Quick and the Dead.
You may already have tackled the first few integrations in your product roadmap. Or perhaps you have yet to start integrating the applications your customers and partners are asking for. Whatever stage you are at, few understand the software engineering workload it takes to maintain every integration they build. With time, APIs and data schemas alter. Some succeed and improve, some vanish, but you have to adapt to all of it!
And that’s just the initial wave of integrations. The real challenge appears when you’ve ticked off the first few integrations, when a lack of planning dilutes your ability to focus on core business needs.
Plan your roadmap before you integrate. Don’t second guess it. You’ll save yourself a warehouse full of technical debt. We know it is tempting to push an in-demand app integration out as soon as possible but shipping fast should never be the top priority.
Think of it this way: you build an integration that’s been on your roadmap for months. Your customers and partners love it. Another month later, the system on which you developed the integration enjoys a significant update. You know the integration will break soon unless you divert valuable resources to fixing it.
Everything, everywhere, all at once – well your data at least.
When you are working on an outbound integration, remember that all your data is in more than one place simultaneously – likely multiple applications. If your source application’s data is bad, it will be bad everywhere, creating lasting hygiene issues that will take a lot of cleaning up.
Likewise, importing and exporting data from Salesforce to your product is not the same as real-time integration. Assuming this, is a grave error. When you export files in batches, you get a snapshot of the data at that given time. So, even if you import/export files repeatedly, (and people do) the data would still not be in sync in some applications.
So – decide if you want a batch or real-time integration. It will help keep your data quality high. A simple strategy is to audit your data for consistency and accuracy regularly. It will keep your information clean, and the cleaner it is, the easier the integration process.
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary
Speaking of dictionaries….Documentation often comes as an afterthought; something tacked on at the end of the list. Don’t make that mistake. Like you would write and compile comprehensive documentation for your core product, do the same for integrations.
If your solution supports multiple integrations, then it is even more crucial. You and your team will be thanking yourselves for developing and maintaining excellent documentation with a clear taxonomy and definitions of integration components in the future.
Track your users for effectiveness
Integrations are not one-time, quick fix features. They expose the depth and breadth of your solution or platform, opening new paths to attract prospects and give your customers and partners the incentive to engage and succeed, leading to greater satisfaction and retention.
In short, integrations make your platform or service more valuable, which is why it is essential to assess their effectiveness. Just like you would track the impact of your marketing strategies or measure how well your core product is doing, you need to track the users who utilize your integrations.
Identify how they use your integrations in different ways and then take further decisions on where to focus your efforts and time – engineering, support, partnership, or marketing. This enables you to forge a better experience for your customers and partners.
So how does FuseGenie® help?
In today’s digitally transformed and software-centric business environment, you need to be able to act quickly in response to customer needs, and changes in the competitive landscape.
Effective in-app and on-platform software integrations allow your teams, customers and partners to access data and create new sources of value inside the applications of their choice. There’s no need to learn new paradigms or switch between systems, thereby reducing investment, time to market, training and ongoing costs.
FuseGenie® believes that the success in this ecosystem is measured by the ability to deliver value to the ultimate customer.
Our proven integration and automation platform, combined with our trademark magic, enables us to deliver integrated solutions to technology partner-led businesses that are greater than the sum of their parts, helping to drive broader growth and new market opportunities. For some this may not yet seem relevant to their business. But at the rate business applications technologies are advancing and becoming more affordable via SaaS, a well designed integration approach can bring increased efficiencies, enhanced customer experiences and new revenue streams.
With digital transformation well underway, now accelerated by macroeconomic factors, partner-centric ICT businesses that don’t evaluate how in-app and on-platform software integrations fit into their business technology strategy and act on the opportunities they bring, will be left speaking an obsolete language.
Todays IT ecosystem is a complex web of partnerships, alliances and channel relationships between a wide range of participants, acting in concert to deliver the business outcomes sought by their mutual customers.
This is increasingly characterised by the growth of cloud infrastructure and adoption of public cloud, with the size of the cloud infrastructure market growing 130.7% from a value of US$107.1 billion at the end of 2019 to US$247.1 billion at the end of 2022. *
Tied to this surge in cloud adoption has been an even greater growth in the wider ecosystem of partners and platforms surrounding these cloud environments. The multiplier revenues created by these cloud deployments are spread across a number of different ecosystem partners, with managed service providers, telcos, systems integrators and value-added resellers at the heart of this market transformation. These in turn are supported by a proliferation of software applications and platforms, either of their own or sourced from third party providers.
Not only have these relationships driven a significant increase in the range and type of services delivered as a result of the digital transformation growth of the early 2020s, this breadth of services means that they have become the trusted advisors for many businesses looking to benefit from the shift to cloud and the software applications explosion.
But they don’t do it alone.
Software integrations can help you lead the way to better partnerships
Its clear that partnerships and alliances play a critical role in delivering modern information technology solutions by fostering collaboration, innovation, and market expansion. They bring together the expertise, resources, and capabilities of different organizations to create more comprehensive and effective solutions for customers.
As these organizations come to depend more and more on the use of targeted software applications and platforms as the ‘operating system’ of their business there is a corresponding focus on making tighter integration possible between partner-oriented business models.
Distributors want to provide frictionless commerce and support services to VARs. Telcos want to offer transparent and timely billing across complex multi-product offers. Software providers want to ensure the best possible experience to their customers. It’s a software-driven world and you need to not just exist in it but thrive in it.
A software integration strategy plays a crucial role in developing indirect sales channels and alliances by fostering mutually beneficial relationships, expanding market reach, and enhancing the value proposition of the products involved.
Here is how;
By adopting a software integration strategy, you can strengthen your network of partnerships and alliances, increasing sales opportunities, improving product and platform value and satisfaction, and expanding market presence.
Today, software applications – delivered from the cloud as software-as-a-service (SaaS) – are everywhere. They are cheaper, faster and easier to implement than ever before. They address a myriad of business needs, from the horizontal and generic to the highly specialised and vertical market-aligned.
But how do you make them sustainably successful in a crowded, highly competitive and frankly fickle marketplace? Just think about the number of apps you have installed on your smartphone, tinkered with and then deleted after a few months or even days. The business software marketplace seems to be heading the same way.
Teams and departments acquire functionally specific apps for marketing or sales or project management, and even in the best case they fail to get the best from them. At worst, they wither and die in the cloud, and while the monthly licence fee goes on being paid from an unmonitored company credit card, the actual customer experience is poor and the reputation of the software provider damaged. This is the curse of ‘Spareware’.
There is another way
By offering a range of market recognised and demanded software integrations, SaaS businesses can improve customer satisfaction and retention, enabling faster growth, product expansion and reduced customer churn.
1. Enhanced functionality: Integrations enable customers to connect the SaaS product with other tools and platforms they already use and value, allowing for seamless data exchange and a more comprehensive solution. This added functionality can increase the overall realisable value of the product.
2. Improved efficiency: Integrations automate tasks and processes by allowing different software applications to work together, leading to increased productivity for customers.
3. Personalized user experience: By integrating with other tools, SaaS products adapt to the unique needs and preferences of individual customers, providing a tailored experience that caters to specific use cases and drives higher adoption and customer satisfaction.
4. Ecosystem benefits: Integrations help create an ecosystem around the SaaS product, making it a more central and indispensable part of the customer’s technology stack. This can result in increased customer loyalty and dependence on the product. At scale, this can be monetised as a ‘marketplace’ of integration capabilities that customers and partners will willingly participate in.
5. Competitive advantage: Offering a wide range of integrations differentiates your SaaS product from its competitors and positions it as a more versatile and flexible solution, which can be an important factor in customer decision-making.
6. Collaboration and cross-functional use: Integrations facilitate better collaboration between teams, functions and businesses by connecting various tools used by different stakeholders, making the SaaS product valuable to the organization, its customers and partners.
7. Reduced switching costs: When a SaaS product is well-integrated with a customer’s existing technology stack, the cost and inconvenience of switching to a different product become higher, making the customer more likely to stick with the current solution.
8. Faster onboarding and adoption: Integrations help customers adopt the SaaS product more quickly and easily by minimizing the need to learn new systems and processes or manually transfer data between tools.
9. Scalability: As a customer’s business grows and their needs evolve, having a range of integrations allows the SaaS product to scale with them, accommodating new tools and use cases over time.
10. Customer feedback and innovation: By listening to customers’ integration requests and needs, SaaS businesses can identify opportunities for improvement and innovation, continually enhancing their product and delivering value to customers.
By addressing your customer pain points and providing a more connected, efficient, and personalized experience, software integrations significantly contribute to customer satisfaction and retention for software and SaaS businesses.
But there is a challenge
Unless you’re able to maintain resource and focus on the engineering front, you need to be more diligent than ever when it comes to determining what projects your developers should be working on. Your developers are most likely focused on:
Building and maintaining a range of software integrations and the resources required to support it simply doesn’t make sense given those engineering priorities.
In our experience, creating a basic version of an integration takes many weeks/months of dedicated engineering, and because every piece of software is pretty unique you will find it hard to achieve economies of scale as you build additional integrations.
Even then, building a simple integration for what might be a small audience of users is time consuming – whatever the degree of technical difficulty.
That difficulty really hits home when you need integration infrastructure to scale to handle high volumes of requests as your company, platform or partner network grows.
At that point your infrastructure and your team starts struggling with the scale of integration requests, failures and outages will occur, and you’ll need to put development on hold to re-align your strategy and supporting infrastructure to keep developers on board, and most importantly your customers or channel partners happy.
There is a better way…
FuseGenie® is the integration and automation platform that’s rewriting the playbook.
Our technology is designed to connect apps, automate workflows, and supercharge revenue for SaaS, Platform and Provisioning players in technology-forward marketplaces. Our platform is no-code, meaning you won’t need to invest precious product and development resources into learning new platforms.
Our team have run some of the most successful software companies in the UK IT and communications channel. We understand the challenges and opportunities that brings and are passionate about working with businesses that are committed to building high productivity, customer-centric experiences through data-rich integration and automation
With offices in the UK and US, our proven no-code platform connects your apps and automates your workflows at scale, delivering results up to 100x faster than ever before.