“Optimus, take my parts, and you will have the power you have never known. Fulfill your destiny” – Jetfire (Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen)
Do you remember this dialogue from the Transformers movie? Jetfire said this to Optimus Prime when Prime needed some integration of parts to fight The Fallen. Such is the approach of software integration. Your primary tool may not handle the particular function the way you want it, so you choose to integrate it with another tool. And, to get the work done, you need synchronization between those tools to give the user the power he/she has never known before.
Why Do We Need Software Integration?
There are technical and non-technical reasons for integrating your software tools and systems as the need arises. We literally want to do everything in one tool, but is it possible? No. If a tool has 19 listed features, it may be best in 10 or 13, but for the rest of the features, we need other tools, or maybe we need the 20th feature that is missing in our primary tool.
Probably the most common reason for software integration is to share data between the tools. When you want to accomplish a task in one tool and use that data in another, you integrate them. For example, if you want eCommerce features in HubSpot, you can integrate the Shopify app with HubSpot CMS and CRM. You can sync the data collected by Shopify and display that in HubSpot. The data you can share includes first name, last name, email, phone, note, orders count, city, country, etc. You can then segment the generated contacts retarget them in email marketing. Manually inserting data from Shopify to HubSpot is tough, time consuming and consider it impossible if you have multiple orders and you have good sales figures.
There are several scenarios based on business models where integration for a simple data sharing process between two tools gives a productive outcome. Let’s take another example; if you use MailChimp for email marketing and want to track every email activity in HubSpot because of its better reporting, you can integrate both the tools. Once connected, you can see MailChimp activity in HubSpot, then use that email activity to create lists or enroll contacts in workflows based on the prepared lists.
Manually sharing data fields among tools hampers the productivity of the team. If we take the same example of HubSpot and MailChimp, then you know that manually transferring data from MailChimp to HubSpot needs to be done often if you have 100 new customers every week. Reporting of each sale made comes along with customer data. Also, count the human error factor when manually inserting the data. Integrating two tools for such tasks saves time and effort, and you create a hybrid work environment where the human and machine work in sync to bring out the best in the respective beings.
Put your best tools to this laborious task while your team focuses on planning and strategizing the next moves. Integrating is the one-time process until you change your requirements. New customers and new contacts formed are updated in your tool automatically whenever there is a purchase made. There won’t be delays or errors. You, however, have to match the data fields in both the tools for successful integration to take place. While importing, the tools also highlight the duplicate entries or data fields in the data so you can get the authentic data without duplicate contacts or overlapped entries.
Achieving Multiple Functionality
Multi-functionality is achieved when each tool has a specified role to play and is added to a hierarchal system to perform the specific functionality in a well-structured way. For example, in digital marketing, uploading a blog and posting it on social media for promotions is a standard practice. By integrating two tools, you can auto-post the blogs on social media whenever they are published on the website. The auto-post feature will upload the title of the blog as the text of the social media post, the link, and the blog image as they are. Integrating a reporting tool, you can then track the analytics of the social media posts. This, however, has a limitation. You cannot have custom text in the social media post. It always picks the title of the blog.
Example 2; Regardless of the business niche, the employee reporting tool is common where the employees clock in their daily tasks and time taken to accomplish those tasks. The reporting tool can be integrated into the employee attendance software, where their attendance and working hours are automatically updated daily. Furthermore, it can be connected to the biometric system (if that is used for attendance). This integration can further expand to the HR payroll system to decide the monthly salary based on the hours clocked.
In an eCommerce setup, the need for multi-functionality grows as your customer base increases, your inventory grows bigger, payment modes are increased, order data becomes complex, and above all, this needs to be in sync.
In a business setup, each sale must be filed under the salesman who locked the sale. This prepares the complete record of the salesman in one place.
There are many such scenarios where integration between the two tools streamlines the whole process. If you use a CRM, you can connect any of the tools specified for your industry and business process.
How to Integrate HubSpot with Anything
Native Integration APIs
Where there is integration, there are APIs – (Application Programming Interface); it’s a never-ending love story. APIs allow two software systems or applications to interact with each other for the purposes the user sets. There are protocols set within the APIs that assist in the integration.
Software tools have some pre-build APIs within their system to connect with other software. If you use your system’s default integration APIs, that is native integration. HubSpot Offers Most Integrations than Anyone as the company boasts the claim in their tagline. It does offer you to connect your HubSpot solution with 3000+ apps. That’s a huge number and does the job for most of the users. But some of our clients already use an app that’s not on HubSpot’s list. They don’t want to shift to another app, but they want to connect HubSpot to their favorite app. For them, we build the APIs from scratch for a seamless integration to take place between HubSpot and the app of their choice.
Middleware or Connectors
If not the direct API way or the custom API way for integration, then you have middleware tools to assist you in integrating your third-party app to HubSpot. It is a standard practice followed throughout the industry.
If the connectors do not support an application that you want to connect with your HubSpot, then you can have your own custom connectors built by Computan.
All in all, there’s always a way to make your HubSpot integrate with any application.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Integrations
When you connect two apps through native integration such as MailChimp and HubSpot, then in case of any issue, you have the support of both the premium tools to help you out to resolve the issue.
Native integration is free. It comes along with the package of the software you buy. All the other means might cause you a few bucks or a yearly subscription. It being free is also a disadvantage as the users don’t get much flexibility like a free website theme.
It’s really Click-n-Play and no-code method. Developers of the primary tool had already done the hard work of making the integration smooth. You can, however, customize according to your will, but that happens within the perimeter set by the developers.
The native integration hardly evolves with time. It lags when your business expands, and your HubSpot needs an advanced integration. In that case, custom-built APIs are recommended as you can have the APIs customized according to your business requirements.
Advantages and Disadvantages of HubSpot Connectors
Middleware and connectors help you integrate two tools/software/apps when there isn’t any default API available for connection, and you don’t want to spend time and money on building a custom one. That’s one big advantage.
However, a custom-built HubSpot connector is beneficial as it can be tweaked in the future as your business expands and business requirements change.
One disadvantage is the scarcity of connector or middleware developers because there aren’t many proficient developers in this area. But Computan got you covered here. We have built custom APIs and connectors to integrate our clients’ favorite apps into their HubSpot.
Pre-built middleware tools are not so good in maintaining the performance of the system.