As organizations continue to invest in more and more applications, it’s paramount that they find ways to integrate them with their existing technology.
After all, siloed apps can lead your organization down a rabbit hole of issues—whether it’s preventing lines of business from accessing critical data or it’s forcing employees to re-enter information manually across several apps.
However, the solution that organizations often take to integrate their ecosystem of technology, namely point-to-point integrations, can also lead to disastrous outcomes.
Why can point-to-point integrations be harmful to your business? And what can you do instead to connect your apps and move data between them?
We’ll tackle both questions, but first, let’s align on what we mean by point-to-point integration and breakdown a few conditions that, if met, can make the integration approach worth pursuing.
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What is point-to-point integration?
Point-to-point integration, or P2P integration, involves the use of custom code to connect two apps together. Several technologies can be used to write the code, which means your team can build a network of point-to-point integrations using various coding languages.
Related: A guide to enterprise application integration
Situations where it might make sense to use point-to-point integration
This integration solution can be a suitable choice in the right situations—especially when each of the following holds true.
- The integration is relatively shallow in scope. When the integration’s capabilities are fairly straightforward, your team doesn’t need to invest as much time and resources on building and maintaining it.
- There’s only one integration to build. With just a single integration to worry about building and maintaining, the task becomes more manageable for your team; moreover, your team doesn’t need to acquire expertise in building to multiple complex APIs—which likely leads to hiring expensive employees.
- The integration can be a significant growth lever for your business. Not all point-to-point connections have an equal impact on your employees, clients, or prospects. Prioritizing one that can have an outsized influence makes the process of managing it in-house all the more sensible.
Related: How to decide between building and buying integrations
The disadvantages of using point-to-point integration
Even when your business faces one of the situations above, it may be worth avoiding point-to-point integration. At the very least, you should minimize your reliance on this approach. Here’s why:
- It’s time consuming to implement. The process of building out a single point-to-point integration can be drawn out, hurting your dev team’s ability to meet stakeholders’ needs and the organization’s more broadly.
We discovered this first-hand when surveying our customers: Before using Workato, the leader in integration-led automation, the majority of our respondents said that they weren’t building integrations fast enough.
Though some of these respondents may have previously relied on an ESB, a traditional integration platform as a service (iPaaS) or on native integrations, it’s fair to assume that many used point-to-point integrations.
- It isn’t scalable. Whether you work at a startup or at an enterprise organization, you’re likely using more than 100 SaaS apps across your business. The prospect of building point-to-point integrations across all these apps—or even a high share of them—is likely unattainable, forcing many to operate in silos.
- It isn’t future-proof. The apps you want and the way you want them to interact will shift as your business evolves and your requirements change. Point-to-point integrations simply aren’t designed to keep up with such changes, making them less than ideal over time.
- It forces your organization to depend on a few employees. Only a handful of employees know how to code in any language—let alone specific ones, like Python. This means that as employees who’ve built point-to-point integrations leave the company, the valuable knowledge that’s required to maintain and fix your integrations go with them.
- It’s difficult to track. The absence of a centralized means for tracking your P2P integrations leaves many on your team unaware of which exist and how they’re running. This lack of transparency makes it painfully difficult to monitor your network of integrations and troubleshoot any over time.
Fortunately, there’s a better way to connect your apps and move data between them, and that’s through an integration-led automation platform.
Related: 3 disadvantages of using a legacy system
How an integration-led automation platform addresses P2P integration’s drawbacks
Using this type of platform, you can connect apps quickly and at scale via pre-built connectors. Here’s more on the platform’s functionality and how it can address your business needs:
1. It offers a low-code/no-code UX that empowers lines of business to build integrations
As an integration-led automation platform doesn’t require writing a line of code, employees across lines of business can use it themselves to build integrations.
This, in and of itself, can help your organization quickly scale its integration-building efforts as well as overcome its backlog of integrations efficiently. In addition, since you’re allowing the employees who consistently use the apps and that have experience with the workflows to implement everything themselves, they’re more likely to build integrations and automations that do a better job of addressing their team’s needs.
2. It provides a dashboard that gives you full visibility
The ability to track the integrations and automations you’re building and to see how they’re running is critical, both in keeping your data secure and in ensuring that issues get resolved on time.
To that end, an integration-led automation platform provides a dashboard that lets your team view the various activities performed in the platform along customizable time frames. This includes everything from the apps connected to the workflows implemented to the jobs that ran.
3. It allows you to build end-to-end automations that can transform your workflows
Connecting your apps and allowing the data to flow between them in near real-time can be critical to your business. But it doesn’t fundamentally change the way your team operates. What can? Integrating your apps AND implementing end-to-end workflow automations across important processes, such as lead routing, quote to cash, and employee onboarding.
This type of automation can help your team provide experiences that delight customers, engage prospects, and enable employees; in turn, this allows you to meet key business goals, as measured by customer retention, customer acquisition, employee retention, etc.
Workato, the leader in enterprise automation, offers a platform that has all of these features, among many others, so that you can automate at scale.
Want to learn more about our platform?
Discover how Workato can transform your workflows by scheduling a demo with one of our automation experts.