Best practice of integration plug-ins

Selecting the proper software solution for data integration can be tricky, with so many different choices available. Besides, these options provide you with websites, catalogs, and pamphlets, only leaving you with half the story told. For that very reason, we've worked to compile several well-known and lesser-known data integration platforms into a single and easy to read document to aid in your decision making. In this blog, we'll discuss the pros and cons of plug-in integration.

Suppliers of renowned solutions, like Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe, and so on, often offer small integration solutions based on plug-ins. This type of approach is typically developed by a partner or a supplier with the purpose of exchanging data from one application to another.

How to find the right plug-ins

Plug-ins can range quite dramatically in terms of quality. It’s important to realize and invest in the following:

  • Understand the difference between plug-ins that realize a 1 to 1 integration and those that are linked to an iPaaS solution and are suitable for linking data to multiple applications. For instance, if the plug-in is part of an ESB/iPaaS, you’ll receive all of the benefits of an ESB/iPaaS.
  • Determine the certification of the plug-ins themselves. Have they been checked and certified by the relevant package? Is it well maintained? Is it a brand new plug-in without much experience?
  • If you use a plug-in, it’s important to remember that you can’t assume it’ll respond to custom wishes. In other words, customization is most likely impossible. In this case, it is important to plan and ensure that your customization needs are supported by the plug-in that you’re choosing.

Pros

Plug-ins can be brought to the market quickly, which means that they’re often quite cheap. You don’t have to send the same data to multiple applications if the plugin is already certified because it’ll automatically do the job. Plug-ins are great when you fall in the 80% category that suits that particular use case and when you don’t need customization now or in the future. And they also don’t have to be monitored, which means there’s no need to struggle with information integration.

Cons

  • It can become frustrating when you need customizations and can't determine exactly who is responsible for managing errors.
  • You are unable to send data from your plug-in to two (or more) different applications, so you cannot reuse your data; you have to build an integration for each software connection.
  • Error handling and logging are often minimal and basic, which leaves you without the ability to recover data without manually reconstructing the integration.
  • Plug-ins can introduce another tool to learn with a varying degree of complexity.
  • Changing software in your IT landscape requires a big project and a big proc. Adding new functionalities can be near impossible. For mission-critical integrations, your team would be forced to create custom monitoring protocols, which are highly custom and expensive.
  • When the APIs are updating themselves, you could experience communication issues.
  • You'll need extra custom coding at some point to integrate new technologies like marketing automation software, AI, and machine learning tooling.
Using plug-ins for integrations is just one of the many ways to integrate your applications. Learn more by downloading our free white paper 'How to choose an integration solution.'

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