Application integration

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Talking about the importance of application integration nowadays does have a smell of belaboring the obvious.

The application and data integration ecosystem is already quite rich. iPaaS platforms, API management, ETL & analytics, identity and access management, data visualization, trigger and task automation… It all seems to be there.

Why, then, is this very topic one of the most painful open issues for many companies? Which common challenges actually stand in the way of the necessary synergy? 

Missing or suboptimal APIs

It is possible to integrate systems without an API, but in most cases, it is much more complex and certainly not a recommended path. We live in the age of the API economy, but it’s no secret that many products in the digital ecosystem have no or suboptimal APIs.

This is usually the result of an inadequate or completely absent API/integration strategy. A strong API/integration strategy recognizes the importance of a consumer-centric approach to API design and implementation with a focus on relevant quality parameters.

In addition, the strategy must address another very common challenge — the lack of talent and skills. Transforming existing infrastructure into optimized, API-enabled systems typically requires experienced engineers with a wealth of experience in all relevant aspects of this endeavor.

APIs are not enough

For quite obvious reasons, the continuous exchange of raw data between systems (extraction and loading) is a far less commonly used data integration process than ETL (extract, transform, load) or ELT (extract, load, transform). In other words: Typically, some type of data transformation must be performed, which can range on the scale between trivial and complex. Again, many companies face the challenge of a lack of talent and skills, as described above.

Limitations of low code / no code integration platforms

As any other tool, low / no-code platforms do have their benefits and limitations. There is no doubt that their use makes absolute sense in some cases. Nevertheless, all the common limitations of low/no-code systems also apply to application integrations, and we can safely conclude that they are far from being a standard solution for most serious integration strategies.

The special case of an integration series

The API economy makes it imperative that a digital product is integrated with many other products from the target segment of the digital ecosystem (sometimes even with direct competitors). In other words, the product integration strategy is a critical part of a broader product strategy and directly influences a product’s market potential. Systematically building a set of product integrations and leveraging those integrations to retain existing customers and reach new customers is a much more complex undertaking than building an isolated integration for a specific purpose.

Supporting and maintaining integrations requires significant resources

Developing integrations is no walk in the park, but that’s just the start. In a vibrant digital ecosystem, most products are forced to evolve very quickly. Optimizing existing features and adding new ones is essential to stay in the race for market share. Consequently, integrations must follow this wild dynamic through the process of integration maintenance. On top of that, most product integrations are offered to a wide audience, and the success of an integration (and, therefore, almost the success of a product) depends heavily on the quality of the support.

Logeecom as a partner for application integration

Years of experience and hundreds of integration projects empower Logeecom to act as a strategic partner through all stages of the API and integration lifecycle.

Integration (series) development / optimization

While it’s good to know the basics of application integration (the four levels of integration, the types of communication between systems, etc.), the journey to application synergy begins like most other business needs. To get to a point where solid decisions can be made, we usually encourage our customers to ask themselves some of the following questions: What exactly do I want to achieve with an integration (key success parameters), who will use the integration and what kind of support do I need for this integration, is it an isolated integration, or do I need to integrate multiple similar platforms, what kind of resources can I allocate to the integration projects (budget, team members, infrastructure), what kind of data will flow through the integration, are there security concerns, what is the level of business criticality…

Logeecom’s application integration consultants help customers ask the right questions and formulate an integration strategy that achieves the intended business goal and ensures seamless implementation of that strategy in subsequent phases of the integration lifecycle. Here is a brief overview of all phases:

  • Strategy development — Our application integration consultants collaborate with our customers to identify the appropriate challenges. They develop a strategy that addresses these issues, taking into account all the realities of the specific product being integrated. They also take into account market conditions, such as the competitor landscape, and other business realities surrounding the product.
  • Business analysis — Our team performs a detailed business and technical analysis of a specific integration request. A variety of parameters related to the future integration are reviewed and validated. A comprehensive integration project plan is developed and reviewed with the customer’s business and technical decision-makers.
  • Design — Based on the results of the business analysis, we design an optimal solution for one or more integrations. The result of the design phase includes the architecture design and UX/UI design documents with relevant diagrams, mockups and other information or representations needed for a smooth software implementation.
  • Implementation — The deliverables from previous stages provide clear instructions for our engineering team to make relevant technical decisions, draft the implementation plan and implement the integration software in line with our coding standard and general industry standards.
  • Quality assurance — The integration software is being rigorously tested according to the test plan developed beforehand to ensure high quality and performance.
  • Publishing / Deployment — We have experience preparing a plugin or connector for release to an app store or marketplace or deploying integration software in a complex enterprise environment.
  • Support and maintenance — Third-party systems’ data structures and APIs are constantly being changed and updated. Therefore, it is important to keep track of changes and expeditiously undertake the steps necessary to always ensure existing integrations are up-to-date and running.

What sets us apart from other engineering companies engaged in integration development is our extensive experience. We have integrated hundreds of platforms and developed both isolated integrations and large series of integrations for some of the leading names in the e-business ecosystem.

  • The above list of integrated systems is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Our experience extends to numerous other systems, and it is worth noting that we have not encountered an integration request that we could not handle for quite some time.

    API development / optimization

    High-quality APIs need to meet a long list of criteria (from well-defined purpose and endpoints, good and easy-to-understand documentation, to standard SW quality attributes such as resilience, robustness, scalability, security, etc.). They are the result of a well-planned API/integration strategy that covers the entire API lifecycle, which consists of the following phases:

    • Strategy development — Our application integration consultants work with our customers to identify the right challenges and develop a strategy that will overcome those challenges, taking into account all the realities of the customer’s organization and the specific market in which they operate.
    • API development, solution design, implementation, testing and deployment — Our engineering team, led by integration consultants, brings your new API to life (or upgrades your existing one) using best practices in business analysis, project management and SW engineering.
    • Support and maintenance — We work with our customers to maintain and continuously improve the quality level of their APIs, offering all three levels of support, covered by a well-trained team.

    Interconnecting the world of e-business

    We have built a team that includes e-business experts, engineering experts and high-caliber generalists. Together, they help our customers unlock the synergies of business applications.

    Ivan BojovićApplication Integration Project Lead
    Ivan Bojović
    Risto KekovićApplication Integration Project Lead
    Risto Keković
    Teodora ModoranovićHead of Support

    A few words from those who are already integrated

    We take pride in the reputation we’ve built. Here are some testimonials from companies that have experienced our application integration services firsthand and have generously shared their feedback.

  • Logeecom has truly raised the bar when it comes to the quality of service in the realm of e-business integrations. Their excellent communication and partnership culture made working with them a pleasure, while their reliability ensured that our integration projects were completed on time and to our satisfaction.

    Ana Milosevic / Product Partnerships Lead – EMEA
    Check more references

    FAQ

    In our FAQ section, we strive to provide answers to some of the most common and interesting questions that may be relevant to the visitors of this site. Our ambition to eliminate (or at least reduce) pollution from information overload is our guiding principle for online and offline communication and is scrupulously adhered to in this area as well.

    • How do you calculate the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of e-business integrations?

      Often, the costs associated with an e-business integration or series of integrations are significantly underestimated. We help our clients develop a comprehensive integration strategy that includes accurate cost projections for the integration or series of integrations. Typically, we consider the following costs:

      Acquisition Costs:

      • Solution design and implementation costs
      • Licensing fees

      Maintenance and Support Costs:

      • Software updates and upgrades
      • Support and maintenance contracts
      • Internal support staff

      Operational Costs:

      • Hosting and infrastructure
      • Security and compliance

      Training and Adoption Costs:

      • Employee training
      • Change management

      Indirect Costs:

      • Opportunity cost: The cost of potential opportunities that could have been pursued if resources had not been allocated to the e-business integration project

      Of course, every project is a bit different, but keeping TCO in mind during the planning phase is important to avoid negative surprises.

    • What is the difference between a single integration and an integration series?

      Numerous SaaS companies have recognized the importance of comprehensive integrations with relevant e-business systems. However, addressing each integration as an individual project can be an inefficient strategy.

      If the common challenges of the various integrations are overlooked, this can lead to the need to repeatedly solve these challenges in different ways. This not only increases the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) but also the complexity of the entire integration lifecycle.

      A unified approach can bring several benefits:

      • Lower implementation costs
      • Enhanced maintainability, reducing maintenance costs
      • Improved supportability, decreasing support costs
      • Simplified partner management operations

      As a strategic partner to some of Europe’s leading e-business players, we have acquired the technological and domain expertise needed to plan and manage integration programs that sometimes involve more than 50 distinct integrations, and we help our customers develop a solid integration strategy, whether it’s a single integration or a large-scale series.

    • What are the key challenges in supporting and maintaining integrations?

      There are several key challenges that should be properly addressed to achieve successful integration support and maintenance:

      • Technical complexity: E-business environments often involve a multitude of technologies, platforms and protocols. Managing interoperability, compatibility and seamless communication between these various components can be challenging.
      • Data integration: For e-business integration, it is critical that different systems can effectively exchange and process data. This requires data mapping, transformation, and standardization across different systems and data formats.
      • Scalability: As an e-business grows, its infrastructure must be able to handle increased traffic and transactions. Ensuring that the system can scale effectively without compromising performance or stability is critical.
      • Security and compliance: Protecting sensitive customer and business data from breaches and adhering to relevant regulations are ongoing concerns. Maintaining robust security measures and staying up-to-date with ever-evolving regulations can be a challenge.
      • System upgrades and updates: Regularly updating and upgrading software components and infrastructure is necessary to keep systems secure and efficient. However, these updates can cause compatibility issues and require extensive testing to ensure proper functioning.
      • Change management: Implementing new technologies or processes in an e-business environment can be disruptive. Effective change management strategies are needed to minimize the impact on business operations and help employees adapt to new systems and procedures.
      • Knowledge management: E-business integration support and maintenance require a skilled workforce with expertise in a range of technologies and disciplines. Properly handling knowledge transfers (documentation, training…) is essential for establishing business continuity in this area.
      • Monitoring and performance: Proactively monitoring system performance and identifying potential issues before they become critical is essential for maintaining a stable e-business environment. Implementing effective monitoring tools and processes can be challenging but is crucial for ensuring optimal performance.
    • Does Logeecom provide alternative business models for e-business integration services?

      Indeed. While the majority of our clients prefer owning their integrations, we are open to exploring alternative business models, encompassing both shared revenue arrangements and complete integration ownership by Logeecom.