Native Integration: Definition, Benefits, and Examples

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Rafael Timbó
By
Rafael Timbó
|
Chief Technology Officer
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Learn about native integrations, how they increase productivity and efficiency in development, improve operations, and create a better user experience.
Published on
December 14, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

The proliferation of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model has driven the need for native integration. As more businesses adopt modular, cloud-based software solutions, the demand for them to work together seamlessly has increased. 

Software providers have risen to the challenge by providing native integrations between many popular types of software so that the data flow between systems is easy to manage. Although native integration solves many problems businesses face, some significant drawbacks may limit its functionality. 

What Is a Native Integration?

Native integration is included in the software and provides a means for two separate software solutions to be used together. Unlike third-party integrations or API integrations, native integrations don’t require complex integration solutions through a middleman. The software platforms seamlessly connect and share information and are easy, flexible, and quick to implement. 

Many different types of integrations are frequently termed “native,” but true native integrations are built on a managed package that allows data to exist on the platform. This reduces data latency and eliminates the need for different applications to sync in both directions. Native integrations are new but gaining in popularity. The Salesforce App Exchange lists over 4,000 apps, but only 620 are native. However, this number is rapidly increasing as future engineering teams recognize the benefits of native integration. 

How Do Native Integration Capabilities Impact Business?

Native integration provides improved productivity and efficiency for several use cases. When different solutions work together, programmers don’t have to waste time repeating work that’s already been done. Development teams are able to incorporate different software products into workflow automation, freeing up staff to focus on high-value tasks instead of tedious, manual data entry and other repetitive work. 

Developers also improve the user experience with native integrations by providing a seamless experience across different touchpoints. For example, when customer relationship management (CRM) software integrates with an e-commerce platform, the result provides a more personalized service and UX. 

Native integrations allow businesses to save money by eliminating the need for third-party or custom integrations, which are expensive and time-consuming to implement. Native integrations are free to implement, although organizations may still need to purchase a license for integration platforms as a service (iPaaS). 

Native Integration vs. API

When choosing between the pros and cons of native integration vs. API, most of today’s developers choose APIs (application programming interface). API integrations allow software applications to communicate with each other. Think of an API as a bridge where the applications communicate bi-directionally and send data back and forth through the API. The two applications still exist as separate entities—they just communicate through an API. 

A native integration, on the other hand, allows developers to embed solutions or applications within the platform, such as Salesforce. The functionality of these solutions is built into the platform, providing much higher rates of accessibility for users. 

Benefits of Native Integration

Based on an organization’s resources, technical project priorities, and workflow, different types of integrations may provide more suitable functionality compared to others. However, there are several advantages of native integration compared to both API integrations and third-party integrations.

Better Performance

With native integrations, applications won’t experience the data latency that affects the performance of API integrations—the entire integration lifecycle is on the parent platform. Applications perform faster and experience fewer glitches because it’s essentially become part of the hosting platform. API calls are usually made intermittently, which results in delays in data changes. 

Another issue that negatively impacts performance when using API integration is duplicate data. Unless clear processes are in place, developers may end up with confusing and conflicting practices in which one system is used one time and another in the next instance. 

With native integrations, users have improved data quality and accuracy because data is synchronized across all integrated systems. Developers are able to make informed decisions based on accurate, up-to-date data. 

Increased Technical Support

Platforms that offer native integrations tend to be large companies with extensive IT and development teams. Since native integrations are covered under the core applications, they’ll be able to understand common issues and offer technical support if users have a problem. Even though the integration might not be one of their core products, they’ll be familiar with the tech stack that was used to create it. Most native integrations are created with developer components and toolkits created by the parent platform. 

Many Cost-Effective Options

Native integrations are usually the most cost-effective options because they’re included in the price of the parent platform. Organizations won’t have to pay for third-party integration tools or build custom integrations, both of which can be expensive options. However, in many cases, it’s just the integration that’s free, not the software itself. Companies still have to pay a licensing fee for some software products to use the native integration.

Easier Data Privacy Compliance

Native integrations make it easier to comply with GDPR, CCPA, and other global privacy laws. Because systems will be consolidated, developers have greater visibility into vulnerabilities and security threats. 

Native integrations also allow for centralized management of security tools. When working with multiple systems and applications, centralized management makes it easier to enforce security standards and ensure compliance. 

Drawbacks of Native Integration

Although there are a lot of benefits to native integration, there are some downsides as well. The specific downsides depend on the type of native integration being used. Whether it’s an API-based integration or a true native integration built on the platform will affect many aspects of its performance. 

Security Issues

Native integrations that rely on API connections or cloud native integration are vulnerable to malicious attacks and are targeted by hackers. Once an API has been breached, other systems and applications can be exploited. 

Integrations that are embedded in the parent platform are not as prone to attack. Organizations have fewer attack surfaces when data is housed in fewer places. This is particularly true if companies are housing it in parent platforms that have robust cybersecurity precautions. 

Deprioritized by Parent Company

Another potential downside to native integrations is that the parent platform may not prioritize your customer support tickets. An integration hub software company may be smaller, but it may also be more concerned with customer retention. As a result, it may be more responsive to your requests. 

While it’s true that the parent company likely has a bigger IT department, it may prioritize calls related to its core product over calls related to integration tooling. 

Native Apps Examples

Many notable platforms provide tools for developers to use for building integrations. With robust integration capabilities, these platforms provide specific services for both developers and users. 

Quickbooks

Quickbooks integrates with over 750 applications. It also offers developers tools to build software that will integrate natively such as: 

  • QuickBooks Integration Platform: Lets developers create native integrations with QuickBooks Online using prebuilt connectors, data mapping tools, and workflow automation tools. 
  • QuickBooks Web Connector: It is an intermediary tool that connects applications to QuickBooks Desktop. Although this allows for a type of integration, it isn’t a true native integration since it facilitates the exchange of data rather than embedding the application in the QuickBooks platform. 
  • QuickBooks SDK: The software development kit includes developer tools and resources such as libraries, sample code, and documentation that allow developers to create native integrations such as customer lists, sales transactions, and inventory data. 

Salesforce

Salesforce is one of the companies on the leading edge of native integrations. It offers developers a range of tools to connect and exchange data with other applications without the need for customized code. Some of these core features include: 

  • Salesforce Connect: Organizations access external data from within Salesforce using External Objects as though it were internal Salesforce data. 
  • Salesforce APIs: Developers integrate Salesforce with other systems. 
  • Lightning Connect: This feature allows developers to view and work with data within Salesforce without needing to import it into the platform. 
  • Salesforce Connectors: These are prebuilt connectors for other large platforms that allow users to access and use data from these systems within Salesforce. 
  • AppExchange: This is Salesforce’s app marketplace where programmers find pre-built applications that are built on Salesforce’s platform and feature native integration. 

Slack

The usefulness of Slack depends largely on its ability to integrate into commonly used applications and software. Because of this, Slack offers developers tools to easily integrate with its platform, such as: 

  • Slack App Builder: This graphical interface tool allows users to create custom-integrated apps without code using templates and prebuilt components. 
  • Slack Development Kit: Slack provides a developer kit of libraries and tools in the most popular programming language. Programmers use the developer kit to create custom integrations. 
  • Block Kit: Blocks are the building blocks of Slack’s messages. Block Kit is a UI framework for building custom blocks with pre-built components. 

Hire Developers to Build Integrations 

Building integrations, whether native or not, helps your software applications reach a wider audience in a shorter time. However, particularly with native integrations, finding qualified developers is a challenge in a competitive talent landscape. 

At Revelo, we partner with you to help you build your team in whatever tech stack you need. Our tech talent platform is an end-to-solution for sourcing, hiring, and managing highly-skilled remote developers in all tech stacks. Revelo also offers additional services such as benefits administration, payroll, and local compliance for the duration of the employment.

Contact us to find out how Revelo helps you build a software development team.

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