One of the fastest ways a product company can turn into a platform is integration. And when it comes to integration, service providers (such as SaaS companies, app development platforms, or digital enterprises) have a handful of options.
1. Work with a System Integrator to take on customer integration challenges. System Integrators may have been the answer years ago, but in today’s world they are too expensive and the project timelines simply don’t match the speed at which your customers move.
2. Develop and offer an open API for your product to let your customers build integrations on their own. Simply put, your API is not enough. The issue with just offering an open API is that integrations are only accessible by your customers’ developers and you’ll most likely suffer from low user adoption.
3. Send your customers to citizen integrator tools (like Zapier and IFTT) to manage their data mapping needs. Although these tools seem like an attractive option, they force you to send your customers outside of your product sacrificing your user experience, plus your customers will have to pay an additional price to integrate your product to their app ecosystem.At Cloud Elements, we take a different approach to API integration. We believe that the service provider should own the integration experience end-to-end. We specialize in helping organizations shift the burden of building and maintaining API integrations away from users, by insulating them from the complexities of underlying APIs.
We believe your customers and business users shouldn't have to pay for integrations or worse, go to external integration vendors for individual uses cases. This disruptive model enables you to license Elements, or pre-built integration connectors, and then offer them to your customers and users according to your pricing model. Our product suite is tailor-made to help organizations offer embedded integrations with the ability to add on additional integration capabilities and resources to existing integrations with Element Builder, build reusable workflows with Formula Builder, define one-to-many data models with Virtual Data Resources, and offer an out-of-the box integration marketplace branded as your UI with Elements Connect. Our platform is designed to allow you to scale quickly as the number of integration users increases.
And we aren’t the only ones who think this way. Massimo Pezzini, VP and Fellow at Gartner Inc spoke in March 2018 about the need for SaaS and software companies to “own” the integration experience.
For SaaS providers, owning the integration infrastructure is a matter of competitive advantage - not just an offer of completeness. Why? The provider that controls the cloud integration layer, can understand its customers business process better than customers themselves.
Massimo Pezzini, Gartner
Ultimately our goal is to provide you with a faster way to offer embedded connectivity and integration features directly into your product’s UI - preventing your customers and users from looking elsewhere for integrations and making your product stickier. Here’s a quick guide to how the Cloud Elements platform is fully embeddable:
100% Accessible via APIs
Everything that we expose, from the Elements themselves, to platform features such as data mapping, authentication, and orchestration capabilities, are all accessible with our unified APIs. Unified APIs are the foundation of the Cloud Elements vision, offering far greater value than simple “connectors”. For example, applications consuming the unified Cloud Elements APIs are insulated from changes to the endpoint APIs. Traditional connectors used in ESB and iPaaS platforms don’t help solve integration challenges that scale to your entire ecosystem.
Offer Self-Service Connectivity
By embedding our APIs you can offer your business users and customers self-service connectivity and integration features within your branded user interface. The best part? Self-service integration can be easily configured and/or modified by a non-technical, administrator-type user. You can offer your users low code/no code development which enables 1-click integration.
Easy Maintenance & Management
Because your platform is calling our APIs rather than the endpoints directly, your development team is insulated from making code changes in your application or platform when the endpoint’s API changes. We make those changes on our end (in our abstraction layer), and thus the APIs that your app is calling stay the same. You can learn more about how we manage API versioning and changes here.
Your customers will never see Cloud Elements or have to otherwise interact with our brand as we’re fully embedded. They don’t need to leave your app, call Cloud Elements for support, or negotiate with us to license integrations. The business relationship mirrors the user experience in that it’s transparent to your customers that Cloud Elements is powering the integrations.
We Live Behind Your UI and UX
You’ve built an product and brand that your users trust. Don’t let integrations ruin your user experience. Cloud Elements is exposed completely using REST APIs, so you can design the configuration experience for your integrations to your specifications. Integrations will become a component of your overall user onboarding process, rather than a disjointed add-on. Turn embedded integrations into your biggest competitive advantage.
Cloud Elements has designed and built an integration platform that SaaS companies, platform providers, and digital enterprises can trust, while still retaining ownership of the customer relationship and user experience. Take a look at how our customers are offering embedded integration experiences by leveraging Cloud Elements’ APIs.