SaaS integration strategies: embedding and presentation

July 11, 2019

SaaS integration strategies: embedding and presentation

With the booming growth of SaaS platform usage and the rising demand for integrated SaaS solutions, iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) platforms offer a remarkable boost to the integration strategy of SaaS vendors. iPaaS platforms such as Blendr.io allow SaaS vendors to build integrations around their product in a scalable and secure manner, up to 10 times faster than “classic” development.

Good reasons to offer integrations to your customers

There are many good reasons to build out a range of integrations inside your SaaS platform.

Customers demand an integrated stack

Customers are asking for integrations. An average enterprise uses 91 marketing cloud services (Source), of course using each tool in an isolated way can easily turn into a nightmare. Companies of all sizes are looking for SaaS solutions that can offer integrations with their existing stack.

Create customer “bonding”

Providing customers with seamless integrations reduces churn and strengthens your customer relationship. When your customer has integrated e.g. its marketing & sales stack with your SaaS solution, it becomes rather challenging to switch to another solution. As a result, your customers will stay with you longer.

Become the Single Source Of Truth

By pulling data from other applications to your SaaS solution, your platform becomes the single source of truth. Once your SaaS platform is the central data platform, your customers can connect other cloud applications to your SaaS solution and centrally manage all data elements from your platform. Therefore your cloud solution becomes a highly relevant master database that your customers constantly turn to, in order to view specific data and insights.

3 levels of embedded integrations

Once you have created a set of native integrations around your SaaS platform, the next question is how you will embed them in your own UI, and how you will present them to your customers. There are several ways you can embed native integrations into your platform.

Link to a white-label Integration Hub

The simplest solution is to leverage an iPaaS platform such as Blendr.io, build a set of native integrations and bundle them in a white-label Integration Hub.

The White Label Integration Hub is your central market place, filled with your integration templates and branded according to your guidelines. One of the simplest ways to embed integrations is to include a “My Integrations” link in your UI, that will direct your customers to your White Label Integration Hub.

In this embedding scenario, your customers have to create an account in the Integration Hub before they can activate integrations. As part of the setup, they will also have to add credentials to your platform, by entering e.g. an API key or by using oAuth.

Link to a White Label Integration Hub

Pro’s and Cons:
+ easily manage integrations
+ manage your customers
+ easy embedding – just add a link
+ easily add new integrations that are requested by your customers
+ easy integration activation by customers
+ customize the look & feel of your Hub
– your customers need to create an account in your Integration Hub
– your customers need to enter the credentials to your platform (e.g. an API key)

Embedded integrations with an iframe and SSO

To provide your customers with a seamless experience, you can embed the Integration Hub into your SaaS platform using an iframe with SSO (single-sign-on).

Here is an example of embedding the White Label Integration Platform, which was created in Blendr.io. You can include a “My integrations” link inside your platform, which opens your white-labeled Hub in an iframe or popup. Inside the URL you can add SSO information (including a secure hash and timestamp) so that the user is automatically logged in, inside the Hub. You can also use oAuth2 for the SSO flow.

Embedded integrations with an iframe & SSO

Pro’s and Cons:
+ easily manage integrations
+ manage your customers
+ easy embedding
+ easily add new integrations that are requested by your customers
+ easy integration activation by customers
+ customize the look & feel of your embedded Hub (inside the iframe)
+ your customers stay inside your platform
+ your customers do not need to create a new account
+ white-labeled look & feel of the Hub
– not fully customized (only CSS and Hub features are customized)

Embedded integrations with server-side code (deep embedding)

In this scenario, you use the Blendr.io API for SaaS partners to retrieve a list of integration templates and active integrations per account, and you implement the integration screens server-side in your own code.

The Blendr.io SaaS Partner API can be used to retrieve the guid’s of individual templates available for your customers, as well as the guid’s of active integrations of one specific customer. Use a direct SSO link to an integration template so the user can activate it and start the Setup Wizard.

Embedded integrations with a server-side code

Pro’s and Cons:
+ easily manage integrations
+ manage customers
+ easily add new integrations that are requested by your customers
+ your customers stay inside your platform
+ your customers do not need to create a new account
+ fully branded look & feel
– some development needed on your end (5 – 20 hours)

Integration features for each type of customer

While we discussed “native” integrations above, there are various integration features to consider for your SaaS customers, depending on their skill set.

Native integrations for business users

Business customers need “native” integrations that can be activated in a few clicks. Business users don’t want to deal with technical aspects of the integration, instead they want to simply connect their cloud apps with a couple of clicks. A Setup Wizard will guide them through the required configuration, after which the integration is active and doing what it needs to do.

API for developers

Next to native integrations, SaaS companies need to publish and document a modern API, that can be used by partners and developers to build their own integrations around your platform.

Workflow builder for power users

With native integrations on the one hand and an API on the other, there’s a group of power users that may want to do more. Power users want to implement their own business logic, with custom flows and triggers, without any coding. By embedding a white label workflow builder inside your SaaS platform, you bring a powerful new feature to your tech-savvy customers.

An embedded workflow builder from Blendr.io does not require coding skills and allows your customers to set up custom flows between your platform and 200+ other cloud applications.

Conclusion

An embedded integration platform such as Blendr.io helps SaaS companies to supercharge their integration capabilities, and to offer the most relevant embedded solution based on their customers’ requirements, the SaaS company type and the specific use cases that customers are asking for.

Blog categories

All

Artificial intelligence

Event Tech

GDPR compliance

Marketing automation

Product updates

SaaS companies