3 Keys to Successful Software Integration
Successful Software Integration
When it comes to integrating cloud-based software, there are three keys to ensuring your integration will be successful in helping you achieve your end goals. These keys are flexibility, security, and documentation.
Today’s software integrations are typically either file-based integrations or are achieved via web services. With a file-based integration, you determine what data sets you would like to share between two different software platforms. Data is exported out of one software platform and then imported into another. If you’re planning on using file-based integration, it’s important to make sure this can be done manually, if needed, via FTP (file transfer protocol), or via SFTP (secure file transfer protocol).
Today’s best integrations are done via web services. Unlike file-based integrations, the communication stream between software platforms isn’t start/stop; rather, the data flows naturally between the two platforms to achieve optimal integration. Unfortunately, some web services may not support all markup languages, and the most flexible web services should be able to support SOAP and REST standards.
The linchpin here is that you should be able to start with a file-based integration but be able to move into a web services integration as your needs change.
Security is paramount in successful software integrations, so make sure your integration takes place over a secure line such as SSL or SFTP. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
For security purposes, all integrations should be audit trailed. An audit trail is simply a security-relevant chronological record that provides documented evidence of any sequence of activities so you can know what is being performed on your system.
You should also ask your software provider if they offer SSO (single sign-on) via SAML (simple access markup language). SAML is a secure single sign-on protocol that the most security conscious enterprises in the world rely on, and if security is of the utmost importance to your organization, this should be a significant factor in all of your integrations.
Finally, you should be able to disable your integrations at any time. If you were to discover that someone is using your web services to pull data out or push data in, you should be able to immediately cut off that activity.
You always want to have the ability to view the integrations that will be taking place between your systems. Sophisticated web services integration should give you access to every type of web services layout structure and schema. In fact, here at nettime solutions, we offer an API library that allows you to test the web service and see how it will work within your platform before you take the time to write your integration. Other software providers offering integrations may require you to write your program first before beginning testing. Other documented resources such as quick start guides and SDKs (software development kits) can help you connect efficiently by providing simple copy and paste code samples that require minimal adjustment and will get you up and running relatively quickly.