Creating your perfect embedded platform roadmap

Unanet—a leading provider of ERP and CRM solutions—had more than 100 point-to-point integrations built with their clients’ payroll systems.

Don Conser, the Product Lead of API Platform and Integrations at Unanet, knew that this approach to integration was less than optimal and needed to be addressed quickly.

This motivated Conser and his team to look for a solution that could help them: 

  • Address their clients’ numerous integration needs
  • Move upmarket and compete with enterprise brands like Microsoft and Oracle 
  • Productize integrations and manage them at scale

After reviewing their options diligently, Conser and his team decided to invest in Workato’s Embedded Platform and used it to build Unanet Connect.

Conser shared his team’s journey in launching and iterating Unanet Connect during his session “Creating Your Perfect Embedded Platform Roadmap” at Automate, the #1 conference on automation. 

You can catch the full session here or keep reading to learn what he shared.

How Unanet brought their Embedded Platform to market

As part of Conser’s goal in providing integrations as products, he and his team built integrations that are standardized, repeatable, and that can continuously improve for their clients.

This involved providing integrations that aren’t customized—but that are configurable. Conser explained the value that the latter brings:

“(using configurable integrations) We can continue to deliver them, and we can make them work for any of our clients’ situations.”

Conser first brought this vision to life with a soft launch, which took 3 clients live with a single connector. Then, just months later, the team did their public launch, which included going live with dozens of connectors.

The public launch brought clear market validation, but with its success came demand and new challenges. 

Clients and internal stakeholders were requesting more connectors, and Conser hadn’t yet figured out how to prioritize these requests while still investing in the core offering of Unanet Connect.

That’s when Conser implemented a few initiatives that, taken together, have allowed him to meet everyone’s needs (including his own):

  • A framework for ranking requests: When evaluating connector requests, Conser and his team can prioritize them based on the number of clients that would use them, how configurable they can be, and the potential upsells and cross-sells they can drive
  • A partner success program: Where Conser can identify partners (via interviews) who have an appetite for joining their marketplace, are willing to work hand-in-hand with his team, and are working with mutual clients
  • Workato’s product features and enhancements: Conser continually incorporates Workato’s platform features and improvements into Unanet Connect’s roadmap. He gave an example by highlighting that he’s now added Workato’s Workbot for Slack and Teams into their roadmap

Related: What is an embedded integration platform? And how can it benefit your organization? 

Key lessons learned

Conser ended his session by sharing several takeaways after launching Unanet Connect:

  1. Business Analysts do the best job of supporting the clients who use the platform.
  2. Not every customer request needs to be fulfilled and not all of their clients’ integrations need to be viewed at one time. Conser explained their more practical and scalable approach:

“We can be selective for the right fit. Is this request good for them (the client) and is this good for us?”

  1. The quality of the connectors—versus the quantity—is ultimately what’s important.
  2. The first integration in a specific space (e.g. payroll) tends to be the hardest. Once it’s out of the way, the remaining integrations within that space are much easier to bring to market.
  3. Provide just enough documentation that allows the reader to build integrations.

You can learn more about Unanet Connect and Conser’s journey in launching the platform by tuning into his session at Automate.