SaaS Integrations

Guide to
SaaS integrations

SaaS integrations empower your staff to work efficiently across applications and platforms.

Our guide has everything you need to know, including benefits and challenges, best practices, and how the Vertice platform can help you optimize your stack.

What are SaaS integrations?

In today’s complex IT landscape, organizations use numerous applications to meet their business objectives. Without SaaS integrations, working efficiently across these different platforms it would be much harder. 

But what exactly is a SaaS integration? It refers to the process of connecting multiple Software-as-a-Service applications — a cloud-based delivery model where users pay for on-demand access to software without having to maintain the service themselves — together, allowing them to share data. As a result, teams can leverage the strengths of different SaaS apps for different purposes, tying them all together through integrations to create complex, automated workflows. 

Integrating SaaS products is typically achieved with native functionality provided by the vendor or coded in-house using application programming interfaces (APIs) — bespoke frameworks that set out the rules and methods for a given app to communicate with other software solutions. Here are a few use cases to better understand how integrating SaaS applications works in practice:

Integrating marketing and sales

Imagine a company using Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM) and Mailchimp for email marketing. Integrating these two tools enables Mailchimp to automatically populate a mailing list with new leads captured in Salesforce, saving the marketing team time and effort.  

Integrating ecommerce and accounting

An online store might use an e-commerce platform like Shopify and an accounting software like QuickBooks. Through app integration, the otherwise time-consuming process of transferring sales data from Shopify to QuickBooks can be fully automated, reducing the burden of manual data entry and the accompanying risk of human error.

Integrating project management, communication, and ERP

Say a construction company’s tech stack includes Asana for project management, Slack for messaging, and SAP for enterprise resource planning (ERP). Through SaaS integrations, automation can be deployed to streamline everyday business processes. 

For example, the project manager assigns a task in Asana for wiring installation in a new building. Upon receiving the task details, Asana automatically checks the ERP system for available electrical supplies, issuing a purchase order notification within SAP if inventory is insufficient. Simultaneously, Slack can send an alert to the electrician assigned to the task, informing them about the details and estimated delivery time of the materials.

Of course, these are just a few basic examples of app integration. SaaS providers often include native integration capabilities with commonly paired services and tools, enabling easy low-code/no-code (LCNC) setup out of the box. Most solutions also come with a flexible API, facilitating development of custom integrations for more specific needs. 

The bottom line? SaaS integrations offer immense versatility, letting you connect a wide range of applications to improve efficiency and automate tasks across various business functions.

The benefits of using SaaS integrations

Whether you’re a startup using a handful of apps or an enterprise with a more complicated stack, the benefits of SaaS integrations are hard to overlook. Here are some key advantages:

  • Enhanced productivity – SaaS integrations can eliminate repetitive manual data entry from your business processes, with automation streamlining your workflows and freeing up employees to focus on more strategic tasks. The user experience is improved too, with staff requiring less technical expertise when working across multiple platforms. 
  • Elimination of data silos – With data integrations, information can flow seamlessly between your apps, creating a single source of truth and optimizing SaaS visibility
  • Reduction of errors – Automatic data transfer between software solutions minimizes errors that can occur with manual entry. As a result, you know your workforce is always working with the latest and most accurate information.
  • Streamlined communication – Integrations with communication platforms can trigger notifications and updates, keeping your employees informed and on the same page regardless what stage your project is at. 
  • Enhanced scalability – Bringing new functionality to your business is easy, as adding SaaS apps to your stack and integrating them with your existing ecosystem is simple. Additionally, the efficiencies SaaS integrations offer become all the more significant as your organization grows in size. This contrasts heavily with static on-premise networks.
  • Greater visibility – With a centralized view of the data held by the applications in your stack, your leaders benefit from a holistic understanding of processes and performance across your organization. 
  • Enhanced customer experience – Connecting customer-facing tools like CRM and marketing applications, makes it easier to deliver personalized interactions and a greater level of service and customer support. This doesn’t just apply to customer support, as human resources departments can also benefit from streamlined onboarding.

The challenges of using SaaS integrations

Naturally, there are some challenges to implementing SaaS integrations within your organization. If you’re unaware of them when configuring your stack, they can quickly outweigh the benefits. Here are some potential pitfalls to consider:

  • Complexity – Connecting multiple applications requires careful planning and expertise, especially due to differences in APIs and data formats between apps. Furthermore, native integrations aren’t always enough, and you may have to spend time developing custom solutions.
  • Security concerns – Sharing data across platforms introduces security risks. Ensure top-spec SaaS security posture management to ensure measures are in place to safeguard your data and meet compliance requirements, such as encryption for data both in transit and at rest. 
  • Vendor lock-in – Complex integration setups can be difficult or expensive to migrate between cloud providers, leading to a risk of vendor lock-in.
  • Maintenance costs – Building and maintaining integrations requires ongoing effort and resources, and costs can accumulate over time.
  • Integration failure – Unexpected vendor updates or changes can break both native and API integrations, so constant monitoring is a must.

Best practices for adopting SaaS integrations

A well-defined strategy is essential to fully reap the benefits of SaaS application integration. Here are some best practices to consider for a successful implementation:

  1. Define your goals – Before you begin integrating your applications, identify your business objectives. Are there any pain points in your current workflow that make cross-platform work difficult? What about routine tasks that you could automate? Consult with your staff to ensure you understand their needs alongside your technical requirements.
  2. Evaluate your stack – Analyze the applications in your tech stack and the integrations they offer. Many apps feature native integrations that are easier to implement, but more complex requirements may necessitate developing custom integrations in-house.
  3. Standardize data formats – Before you begin integrating services, ensure consistency in data formats across your SaaS apps to streamline data mapping and reduce errors.
  4. Leverage integration tools – It’s worth considering integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions to simplify the process and mitigate integration challenges. Embedded iPaaS platforms offer pre-built connectors and tools to streamline the development and management of SaaS integrations.
  5. Test thoroughly – Before deploying an integration, undergo rigorous testing to establish data flows smoothly and identify potential issues before they impact your live operations.
  6. Monitor and maintain – Integrations need ongoing maintenance once deployed. Keep up to date on API changes from vendors and be prepared to adapt your solutions. You should also regularly review your SaaS integrations to be sure they meet your changing needs and goals. Remember, the integrations lifecycle is iterative and requires continuous optimization.

Easily take advantage of SaaS integrations with Vertice

With the wide proliferation of SaaS applications across businesses, integrating your solutions can yield significant increases in efficiency and productivity. But identifying these areas isn’t always easy — that’s where Vertice comes in.

Our SaaS Purchasing Platform enables real-time full stack observability, providing granular metrics and insights that can help you uncover potential integration opportunities. We can also negotiate pricing on your behalf and save you money when acquiring or renewing solutions. To get started, get in touch.

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