In Left Hook’s vocabulary, an integration is “custom” when it is built to solve a single end-customer’s needs and is not made available to other end-customers. Such solutions are often described by developers as “one-off” or “bespoke.”
“Who benefits” and “who pays” are often a central issues in deciding if an integration is going to be custom or universal. Universal connectors are often built and maintained by the SaaS itself (or third parties like Left Hook), whereas custom solutions are typically purchased directly by end-customers. (Occasionally we see a SaaS contributing toward a custom solution, but this is rare and more likely when you’re buying a very expensive enterprise tool.)
Custom integrations require the SaaS to offer an open API that is documented and accessible to third-party developers. Beyond offering the API, some SaaS companies refer one or more development partners they they trust to do a good job.
Some SaaS companies offer or even require their own professional services team to build a custom integration, but this is increasingly rare. Most are happy to refer this work to an outsourced partner like our sister company Integration Helpers