DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORM VS CUSTOM API INTEGRATION

By Henning Lund - February 14, 2022

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Businesses typically start data integration projects to optimize business processes. Naturally, they want to minimize costs while picking up the right data integration tool to do the job. 

Sticking to a budget will always be an issue. No business wants to end up with an expensive piece of software that doesn’t do what they need it to.

Finding the most relevant way to integrate data between your systems might not be the easiest task. Often, businesses have very specific processes and requirements, and as a result have made many customizations to their systems.

Also, when selecting the right system integration solution, you must make sure that it can be fitted to your business needs and requirements.

One of the choices to be made is between a custom API integration and a standard data integration platform. Find out if a custom-developed solution is the right fit or if you can use an off-the-shelf integration platform. 

This article will compare the two different data integration approaches and investigate the pros and cons of each solution.  

Many believe that a custom API integration system is the better choice, but data integration platforms offer flexibility and functionality that are hard to beat. Especially when you want to do Salesforce integration or Microsoft Dynamics integration.

What is custom API integration?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. In simple words, an API is a software that lets two systems or applications communicate with each other. 

APIs make it possible to integrate two systems and ensure data transfers between them. Custom API refers to the process of customizing existing APIs to meet a business’s specific needs or requirements. 

API Management is the collection of processes that allow for distribution, analysis and control of the APIs that connect your applications. 

There can be many API management requirements. Handling these can be done using API management solutions.

 

ARE DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORMS EXPENSIVE?

While a custom development might cost more to set up, it is likely to be a cheaper solution to maintain over time. The reason is that in a custom API integration, you cannot be sure what the maintenance costs will be as the business develops. Things change all the time as businesses grow, and that could mean that much more maintenance is needed than first appears.  

Also, custom development often only includes a small amount of, or sometimes no, additional functionality for scheduling, error handling or monitoring. 

These things could be included at no extra cost in an integration platform. This is the case if you choose RapidiOnline as your data integration solution. Adding them to a custom platform after setup can be a substantial extra cost.

WHY are DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORMS said to be EXPENSIVE?

Data integration platforms have a reputation as being an expensive option. This is an undeserved prejudice. A high level analysis however often shows that it is cheaper for most businesses to use a system integration platform. 

It is likely that this reputation comes from the early days of data integration. The first tools that were used to transfer data from one system to the other   (for example ETL or extract, transform and load) were expensive and only offered limited functionality. They were far from drag and drop solutions. 

As a result, in the early days of data integration, custom integrations were often both cheaper and more effective.

Nowadays, the tools used include development, operational processing and integration functionality. There are many affordable data integration options available, for businesses small and large.

 

WHY USE A DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORM?

With the rise of big data, data warehouses, data lakes etc, it has become vital for companies worldwide to make sure they control and consolidate their data.

Data integration platforms make it far easier for businesses to develop simple and effective data transfers no matter the data sources. They are fast, user-friendly and robust, often much more than custom integrations are. 

On the other hand, custom integrations are rarely the best solutions in the longer term. 

In the early days, data integration platforms could be difficult to implement. Today, a Salesforce Microsoft Dynamics ERP integration can be up and running in just three to 10 days using  cloud-based data integration tools such as RapidiOnline.

7 BENEFITS OF DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORMS

Often, data integration platforms are cheaper than custom builds, but what about their other benefits? Data integration platforms are no one-size-fits-all solutions. However, they have proven data integration capabilities. Platforms are usually highly flexible.

Being data-driven has become a strategic direction for many businesses. Data transfers, international data transfers, control access, real-time transfers are on every tech executives’ minds. 

Top management teams all over the world have to think about data management and transformation, data processing without compromising on data quality.

Data integration platforms help companies integrate systems together, for example their salesforce CRM and their Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP. Data integration platforms provide a solution to companies’ data integration needs. They also have to maintain high performance of the systems.

A data integration platform such as RapidiOnline comes with pre-configured endpoints to integrate Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and GP. This means that you can:

  1. Set up the integration quickly.
    There’s little point in starting from scratch with a custom integration when out-of-the-box templates can give you the functionality you need. Even if you also need some custom elements, the templates speed up the whole process significantly.

  2. Find the easiest way to map your data.
    Data mapping is often difficult, particularly if you’re dealing with multiple validation criteria or trying to integrate different field types. Data integration platforms have the tools needed to deal with this, built in. In a custom development, you would have to handle everything without those tools, using up valuable time.

  3. Schedule and sequence data transfers.
    You will not necessarily need or want to transfer all your data between systems straight away. Real time might not be what you need. You might find that you only need to transfer some data once a day. Using a platform, you’ll be able to use the standard templates included to map, schedule and sequence data transfers as you need them.

  4. Handle errors.
    The ability to handle errors is vital to successful data integration. That is why data integration platforms usually have an automated error escalation system. RapidiOnline sends an email to the system administrator with a link to the data transfer that contains the error. It makes it simple for the administrator to deal with the error, understand why it happened and to work to prevent more errors in future.

  5. Synchronize your systems.
    When you switch your platform to support mode, it will tell you straight away if there is a malfunction in the integration.

  6. Keep your integration up-to-date.
    Custom integrations can be great when they’re first developed...but what about down the line when they need an update? It’s difficult and time-consuming to update custom systems as the code needs to be changed. That’s not the case with a platform, which has the ability to update built in.

  7. Let your integration grow with your business.
    As your business grows, so does your integration. You can use the transfers you have already configured as part of new integrations, as you need them. It is really easy to do this - far easier than with a custom integration.

 

Data integration platforms are the better approach for the vast majority of businesses. There will always be some businesses that need a custom-build, but a data integration platform is customizable enough that it can work as well or better for the majority.

 


About the author

Henning Lund

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With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.
RapidiOnline is resetting the standards for simple, secure fast data  integration. Learn more now
   CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY: Berling Media  Berling Media integrated SALESFORCE, Microsoft Dynamics AX and PUBLIT to  AMALGAMATE all business-critical processes. Read the full story
THE RAPIDI TECHNOLOGY  At Rapidi, we make data integration and replication easier, faster, and more  secure.  Why the Rapidi technology is different:   * No programming needed.   * Easy to implement and simple to use.   * Robust and yet flexible.   * Our RapidiConnector encrypts data to keep your data safe.    * Scalable to fit your needs as you grow.   * Can be used out-of the box or customized to fit your needs.   * Top-rated support. 

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