The need for integration is a de facto for every modern application.
Customers and software users have become more demanding than ever, expecting high-quality experiences in any digital interaction. This means that to be competitive, businesses need to provide delightful, friction-free experiences that engage customers and users and establish a long-term relationship. And application integration plays a key part in delivering those frictionless, seamless experiences.
The problem is, integrations are not easy to build. Even with a modern platform like OutSystems that already simplifies integrations with out-of-the-box capabilities, there’s still manual work that needs to be done in order to have a successful integration. That takes time, not to mention skilled developers.
In addition to that, the enterprise system integration landscape is only getting more complex. Although we still see organizations that rely only on one software vendor to deal with different business areas, the trend is for customers to pick and choose different tools that better fit their business needs. This forces companies to find experienced developers that know their way around the integration of different systems.
Add the need for agility, the pressure for faster go-to-market (remember 2020?), and developer’s shortages to the equation, and you get yourself into a pickle.
That’s why, to help organizations dramatically reduce integration time and effort, we’ve just launched Integration Builder.
How Integration Builder Helps You Accelerate Time-to-Market
In my previous article, I explained what Integration Builder is. For those looking for the TL;DR version, Integration Builder is a new tool that allows developers to integrate OutSystems applications with systems of records that businesses depend on—ERPs, CRMs, HR tools—without the need of writing any code.
In other words, it removes all the complexity of building integrations, allowing even the most junior and inexperienced developers to build integrations quickly. This way, organizations are no longer just limited to using expensive and hard to hire full-stack developers for integration use cases.
As a result, companies become much more agile and are able to deliver and change at the speed the market demands while maximizing their existing talent pool.
For more experienced developers, all connectors within Integration Builder can be extended to fulfill any business requirement, ensuring they never hit a wall.
Integration Builder Advantage
As the CIO, VP, or IT manager at your company, you may be wondering how Integration Builder effectively converts into business agility. Well, here’s how.
- Faster time-to-market: in the Speed of Change 2020 report, legacy system integration and lacking APIs were named the top causes of application delivery delays. Integration Builder was developed to reverse that trend. In 15-20 minutes, with just a few clicks and without much training, developers can integrate core systems into their apps, brutally accelerating time-to-market.
- Trustworthy IT department, one the business can rely on: historically, the business has always complained that IT doesn’t cope with their time-to-market. With Integration Builder, development teams can meet those tight deadlines and needs that the business requires.
- Improve operational efficiency: by accelerating the speed of development, organizations are able to launch the solutions that cope with the business needs much faster while delivering value equality faster.
- Decrease operational costs: organizations are able to deliver more applications in the same amount of time and without needing to hire expensive and specialized developers.
- Maximize your talent pool: to build an integration with Integration Builder, developers only have to do a few clicks, and that’s it — you can see the whole step-by-step here. This way, developers don’t need to be experts in a particular integration. The platform manages all the complexity, so the learning curve is pretty flat. This is super relevant in a time when hiring specialized developers is getting harder and harder, and more organizations depend on a broad spectrum of software.
- Increase customer/end-user satisfaction: as IT is able to deliver products much faster, on the one hand, the satisfaction of business — customer of the IT department — increases. On the other, organizations are able to launch to the market the products their customers are craving at the speed they demand.
- Adapt quickly to business changes: we all know businesses are not static; they’re constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances—COVID-19 was just another proof of that. So, it’s crucial to have a tool that can easily change as the market demands. With Integration Builder it is very easy to change a connector. It’s just a matter of opening the connector, selecting the new attributes or entities you want, and providing them to your end-users.
- Support guarantee: all generated connectors are 100 percent supported by OutSystems, so organizations can trust Integration Builder connectors to deliver mission-critical applications. If the dev team finds any problem while configuring a connector, they can count on an expected SLA and the help of the OutSystems Support Team.
What Systems Can You Actually Connect with Integration Builder?
Integration Builder was designed to easily connect the most used enterprise systems of records and those that typically are harder to integrate.
That said, currently, Integration Builder includes connectors to five different systems of record—with more to come—that cover the different business needs:
Integration Builder is SAP certified and covers the whole spectrum of SAP, from SAP Financial and HR to CRM. With SAP pushing customers to adopt new strategies and protocols to integrate with their ERP (in particular, the usage of OData services for all external integration), Integration Builder includes an OData connector to simplify the whole process of connecting your OutSystems apps to your SAP systems. With OutSystems, now you can easily leverage SAP Business Hub or SAP Service Catalog to get OData specification.
For those still used to the old BAPI approach, customers can use RFCs available on OutSystems Service Studio.
Organizations can use Integration Builder to connect their OutSystems apps to all modules within Salesforce. With this connector, dev teams can pick and choose only the objects/entities they need.
Using Integration Builder, a connected app is automatically created, so developers don’t need to go through the whole documentation to manually configure Salesforce to allow OutSystems connectivity.
For organizations using Microsoft tools, Integration Builder offers connectors to Microsoft Dataverse (formerly known as Common Data Service or CDS), Dynamics 365, and Sharepoint Online. Just like for SAP and Salesforce, the integration process is fully automated, with Integration Builder automatically creating an Azure app.
This way, you’re able to create those scalable, mission-critical applications with OutSystems while consuming data from your Microsoft software.
Integration Builder Use Cases
With digital transformation now going beyond simple digitalization of commodity systems, Integration Builder supports the most common digital transformation initiatives, such as customer experience transformation, app modernization, workplace innovation, and process automation. Here’s how:
- Customer Experience Transformation: Integration Builder enables the connection of front and back-end systems so that your beautiful UIs can be much more than pretty screens, and be true performing apps that connect the necessary systems to produce seamless and high-quality experiences that your customers expect.
- App Modernization: Integration Builder enables systems interoperability which is great for companies to manage modernization at their own pace and to reduce modernization risk. Organizations can build something new and connect to existing systems through Integration Builder, and later replace those integrations when they've built or rolled out new systems. This gives control and flexibility to the pace of modernization while reducing the risk.
- Workplace Innovation: Just like you can integrate your B2C apps to the necessary systems to deliver seamless experiences to your customers, you can do the same thing for your employee apps. Take the example of an onboarding app. With Integration Builder, you can connect your systems, like SAP, Workday, Bamboo, into a single interface. This way you’re able to help a new hire get up and running faster because they don't need to log on to multiple different systems to complete different tasks.
- Process Automation: In order to improve customer experiences, drive innovation in the workplace, or modernize existing apps, there is inevitably a need to connect and automate processes across multiple systems. Integration Builder enables heterogeneous systems to be connected and the work that spans them to be automated by modeling process flows, logic, and data within OutSystems apps.
Keeping Up with the Market Changes
With the pressure to adapt to new and, sometimes, unpredictable market changes and customer demands, Integration Builder gives companies the freedom to accelerate their go-to-market and gain the competitive advantage they need to surpass their competitors. Not just for the simplification of building integrations but also by augmenting the talent pool available in the market.
Integration Builder release is just the first step of an amazing journey waiting to be unfolded. We will keep augmenting its portfolio with more connectors commonly used and enhancing Integration Builder to become the elected tool for any integration.
To learn more about Integration Builder, I invite you to take a look at this page. You can also join me in my webinar Accelerate the Development of Integrations with Integration Builder.