Universal Integration

API Connector”

“Technical Partnership”

“Self-Serve Integration”

“Product Partnership”

“Marketplace App”

“Third Party Integration”

All different terms for what we label “universal integrations.”

Here’s our textbook definition: “a universal integration is a self-serve software tool built to empower end-customers to productively connect two (or more) other cloud/SaaS products.”

Universal integrations are typically built on top of a public API. Done right, they require little customer support (and zero developer intervention) for your end-customer to implement and manage.

Universal integrations delight sophisticated users who want to automate or unify work through no-code, “no developer required” solutions.

The world “universal” is meant to draw a clear distinction with a one-off, bespoke, and “custom” solution built only for a single end-customer.

(Note that universal integrations are Left Hook’s specialty; if you need a custom solution, meet our sister company Integration Helpers.

“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 contribute toward the cost of 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.

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