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Paul McAvinchey
Co-founder of Product Collective
Asked a question last year

Quick question regarding integrations and best approaches. They work for a startup and one thing they keep hearing is that companies want to integrate their data into their existing HCM/LMS rather than using our dashboard. There are many different tools out there to integrate with (Workday, SAP, UltiPro, etc.) and being a startup, they obviously don't have all the time and the money to integrate with all of them. Do you think it makes sense to: - open their APIs so that whichever customer or engineering team they work with can grab data that way - look to integrate with one or two of the most popular tools out there Or do you think it matters what each dev team wants/needs?

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There are 2 very good reasons for building native integrations directly into your platform.

1. IP - If you build the integration you own it. This will be particularly important when factoring the valuation of your company and pitching to investors.

2. Self serviceability - Building a native integration into the most popular platforms will make it much easier for your customers to adopt your product. Being you are a startup and likely have limited resources my advice is to tackle the top 2 or 3 integrations your ideal customer is asking for.

That said, being you are in startup mode you likely do not have the capacity to build integrations into every platform your customers are requesting. Start by making your APIs consumable, even if only for your solution, if they are not already. Then consider either making the APIs available to your customers so they can build to their hearts content and/or use deal revenue to fund the build of a native integration (going back to point #1 and #2 above) whether that is done in-house or outsourced.

Kent J McDonald
Product Manager & Writer

My thought is to open your API’s so that your customers are able to access your data for a variety of different uses, as long as your data is suited for that purpose.

I’d suggest this approach because it provides the most options for you and your clients without having to incur a lot of work to integrate  with several different tools. Going this route provides a path for your customers to access your data quickly. You may find that if a significant portion of your customers integrate with a specific tool, you can circle back and build a specific integration with that particular tool.

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