We are often asked about the main differences between using an off-the-shelf integration versus developing a similar integration internally.
Naturally, that is a topic that interests many of you. A number of questions come along with it:
Why should you invest in an integration product that can be developed at your organization?
If you have the available resources at hand, can’t you just use them to build exactly what you need, on your own schedule and with your own budget?
Or, alternatively, can’t you simply outsource the integration to an external development team?
We get it, it’s not an easy choice. That’s why we’ve decided to give you more information on all of that, and help you decide.
In this article, we’ll be looking into the five main factors to take into consideration when deciding whether to use an integration platform like ZigiOps, or developing one from scratch.
1. Integration Maturity and Cost
ZigiOps is a mature integration platform, which can be deployed and put into use in less than 10 minutes. With our predefined integration templates, you can setup, modify and release an integration in a few clicks. ZigiOps does not require any development and the system connections are managed from the UI itself.
When you’re developing an integration internally, the whole process might take a while. You need to go through a few steps prior beginning to build the integration:
- Gather the integration use case and requirements. The more fields you need to synchronize and relate – the more complex it becomes for developers.
- Have a team of at least 1 developer, 1 integration consultant and 1 QA.
- Get information from the system vendors on the official APIs and the fields which can be extracted and exchanged.
- Agree on a budget and timeline – with a team of 3 people (as mentioned in the previous point) it will take from 2-4 months, depending on the complexity of the integration.
This is the best-case scenario. During the development process you may face additional unexpected delays, increase in costs and frustration in employees. Buying a ready-to-use integration product now seems like the better choice, right? Here’s why:
- You don’t need development force. In fact, you don’t need any other people engaged in this.
- You can choose your specific use case, based on the predefined integration templates and further modify it, if necessary.
- There are no hidden costs, you know exactly what you are paying.
- You don’t need to worry about integration or system downtime since ZigiOps supports high availability.
- Maintenance and Customer Support are part of the final cost.
You can now see the pros and cons of getting an integration platform versus developing your own, but let’s dig a bit deeper in some of the key differences.
2. Integration Flexibility & Scalability
Let’s say you successfully developed your internal integration, but what is next? Well, a lot of things. After testing and releasing for use, you need to maintain it, but also prepare to scale or modify it on the go, if necessary.
With ZigiOps, you can easily scale and adjust your integrations from the UI entirely. If you need to add a new connection between a pair of systems, you simply add another license and operate all of your integrations from the same dashboard.
If your integration use case changes or requires a new feature, which is not supported by default, reverse engineering needs to take place. This will require development force once again and the costs remain unknown till the end. If you need to sync additional fields or new types of data, the above-mentioned is applicable as well.
Buying a ready-to-use integration tool such as ZigiOps is the better option since you don’t need to think about scalability and flexibility of the connections – they are supported by default.
3. Integration Updates and Maintenance
We regularly release updates on our integration platform as to resolve bugs and add new features for better user experience. If you have an internal solution updates will take place only in the case when there is an urgency and again you will need developers to address it. Sparing an additional employee to support and maintain your integration is not cost efficient.
The maintenance of ZigiOps’ integrations is quick and efficient. With our platform, you don’t need to allocate a team or additional machines, or look for the last person who was working on the integration. You get support by professional integration engineers, who are available immediately.
Troubleshooting with ZigiOps is very quick and efficient, thanks to the platform’s troubleshooting features. The same is valid for new integrations: you can add as many integrations as you need, on the same platform, without initiating a new development cycle. Each integration only takes minutes to set up.
Even if you have the most highly skilled developers in your organization, their availability is probably tight, and they’re likely working on other business-critical projects at the moment. Focus your employees’ attention on your core business and don’t give them additional projects which don’t lie within their expertise.
Our integration consultants and software developers have years of experience in creating system integrations only. They have seen 90% of all customer use cases and know exactly how to address them.
It’s important to know the best practices for developing software integrations between different systems, in order to be able to build a well-functioning integration. Due to our expertise in the field, we’re able to support even the most complex use cases with our deep integrations. Complex use cases are usually difficult to handle within small development projects, and you might simply not have the necessary resources at hand.
4. System Upgrades
With an integration platform like ZigiOps, you don’t need worry about any of the upgrades of your systems, or incompatibilities resulting from that. We support all the upgraded versions of the software apps you can integrate.
How do we achieve that?
Let’s say ServiceNow, Jira Software or Azure DevOps are getting upgraded to a new version. Before this happens, we are notified of the planned upgrade and all the changes it will feature. That means that you get instant support for all upgrades before they’re deployed. We support the upgrades of all systems as they happen, and no further effort is required from you.
Compared to that, upgrading systems which are connected through an internal integration can be slow and costly. Developers need to get the upgrade first, do the necessary research, and change everything manually. Which is complicated, if you need to upgrade quickly—and can be risky if the upgrade comes with its security patches.
This naturally leads us to the next point.
5. Integration Security
In 2019, security was already among the top concerns of companies, regardless of their size—and with data breaches costing over $3.90 million last year, that’s to be expected. We understand the need to provide secure solutions at all costs—and we guarantee that our integrations are safe. We use only the official APIs to connect the systems.
As our integrations are vendor-certified. This means that vendors actually check if the integration platform is compliant to their standards and if it meets their security requirements. We’re working with the core teams of each vendor to make sure we’re building the most stable solution for the integration and for 3rd parties.
One of the best things about our integration platform is the fact that it doesn’t have any database and thus it cannot store any of the transferred data.
In the case when you want to integrate your and client’s systems, there is an enormous security risk of who gets to see the transferred data. With ZigiOps this is risk is fully mitigated, as it does not store any of the data.
ZigiOps vs. Internal Development: An Overview
In the table below, you can see an overview of how ZigiOps compares to developing your integrations internally:
|Maturity||You get a mature integration tool, which is deployed in 10 mins.||Developing a home-grown integration takes from 1 to 4 months, depending on the use case complexity.|
|Cost||All costs are known from the beginning.||The cost is unknown, and the budget might need to increase on the go.|
|Flexibility and Scalability||With ZigiOps you have full control over your integrations from the UI itself. Scaling and modifying the integrations is done in a few clicks.||Changing or scaling an internally-developed integration usually requires reverse engineering and additional development force.|
|Updates and maintenance||ZigiOps is maintained regularly as we increase the features for better user experience. Our platform also supports high availability and there is no risk of integration downtime.||Updates and maintenance require additional development force and planning.|
|Upgrades||We support all software upgrades from the day they become available.||Your team will have to deal with software upgrades as they become available, and manually implement them in the integration.|
|Security||We comply with all security standards of the vendors. ZigiOps doesn’t have a database, so there is no risk of external exposure to your data.||You may need a security consultant to develop a plan on how to comply with all data privacy regulations. If you are integrating your systems with those of clients things become even more complex.|
In short, with ZigiOps you get to use a fully mature platform that has been developed by experts, and you won’t need to worry about updates, upgrades, maintenance or security—we’re taking care of all of that. To connect DevOps, ITSM, ITOM and APM, you simply need to deploy your integration in a few clicks, and then you can instantly start using it.