The Beginner's Guide to SaaS Software Integration

Looking for tips on SaaS software integration but don't know where to begin? In this guide, we'll show you how to get started with SaaS software integration to enhance your current SaaS offering.

Software as a service, or SaaS, has been partying like it’s 1999 since its inception in March of the same year when Salesforce entered the foray.

Now, the global SaaS market accounted for USD 177.10 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 37.12%, reaching USD 1177.19 billion by 20271.

This means the landscape is ripe with opportunity in terms of available software. Agencies and enterprises savvy enough to embed and package SaaS applications into their own platforms can stand out in the market by providing tailored solutions to customers.

But if you’re just starting out or new to SaaS software integration, where do you even begin? In this post, we’ll demystify the process of embedding software into your existing solution. Let’s dive in!

Content Index

What is SaaS software integration?
Who should consider SaaS software integration?
Why you should consider SaaS software integration
What are the benefits of SaaS software integration?
Get started with SaaS software integration

What is SaaS software integration?

SaaS software integration is the exciting future for software companies and service providers, but what exactly is it?

While it sounds complicated, SaaS software integration refers to the seamless incorporation of third-party SaaS applications within a primary SaaS platform. 

This means that users can access and utilize the functionalities of multiple applications without leaving the primary application they're currently using.

Here’s an example of what this can look like in the wild. 

Notice that SMM Management (Cloud Campaign) is a selectable option in the master platform. Check out this post to learn more about How to Embed Cloud Campaign’s SMM Product in Your Existing SaaS Product.

Let’s break down the key elements of embedded SaaS integration to understand it better. Use this as a guide to determining whether or not software integration is possible for a given platform.

Embedded: the third-party integrations can be incorporated directly into the user interface of the primary application.

SaaS: both the primary and the third-party applications are cloud-based software delivered as a subscription-based service.

Integration: the applications are connected and can exchange data and functionality seamlessly.

Who should consider embedded SaaS integrations?

While embedding software is more accessible than ever before, it isn’t for every business. 

This approach to SaaS integration is best suited for businesses already providing software services with their existing product and looking to expand their offering with features that would be otherwise too expensive to develop.

For example, let’s say you offer a best-in-class SEO platform and want to expand your product to include social media management tools. 

Integrating an SMM platform like Cloud Campaign allows you to provide tools built specifically for those tasks while preserving your product as a single “suite” of marketing tools.

Or, let’s say you offer specialized recruiting software and want to enable your users to exchange texts with job candidates easily. You could enable this workflow with embeddable messaging software, like TextUs, to customize your software stack to your business’s needs.

Why you should consider embedded SaaS integrations

In today's digital landscape, businesses rely on a multitude of SaaS applications to manage various aspects of their operations.

While SaaS offers undeniable benefits like accessibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency, using multiple applications can lead to several user challenges. Let's explore some of the most prominent ones.

Context Switching

Jumping between different interfaces and workflows disrupts focus and cognitive flow. Users constantly need to re-familiarize themselves with each application's layout and functionalities, leading to wasted time and frustration. 

Imagine writing a report and switching between your word processor, CRM, and data visualization tool – the constant context switching can significantly impact your productivity and creativity. 

In fact, Asana reports we’re spending more than half our time responding to notifications and multitasking during other activities, like virtual meetings, so reducing this tendency through your software stack is a good investment.

Siloed Data

Each SaaS application operates in its own data silo. This means that information is often isolated and inaccessible across different platforms. This lack of data integration makes it difficult to gain holistic insights and make informed decisions. 

For example, if your sales CRM doesn't integrate with your marketing automation tool, you'll have trouble analyzing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 

This poses a tremendous obstacle for agencies and enterprises looking to report on the effectiveness of their products or services.

Manual Data Entry Clerical and Synchronization Errors

Manually entering data into multiple applications is prone to errors and inconsistencies. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also introduces the risk of inaccurate information, leading to miscommunication and poor decision-making. 

Imagine manually updating customer records across your CRM, billing system, and email platform across hundreds or thousands of team members or customers – the potential for errors is significant.

Task Automation

Without seamless integration, automating repetitive tasks across different applications can be challenging. 

This results in wasted time and effort, hindering operational efficiency. For instance, automatically sending invoices to customers based on sales data requires integration between your CRM and accounting software.

These challenges highlight the need for embedded SaaS integrations. By seamlessly connecting various applications within a primary platform, businesses can eliminate context switching, break down data silos, reduce manual data entry, and facilitate task automation. 

This ultimately leads to improved user experience, enhanced productivity, and better data-driven decision-making, which we’ll explore in more detail next.

What are the benefits of embedded SaaS integration?

There are a number of benefits to creating a customized embedded software solution for your business. Let’s explore some of the most impactful ones as you weigh if embedding software is right for your business.

Enhanced user experience, productivity, and retention
Embedding other applications into your platform is like building a “super app” because you can choose what functionality you want to provide based on your customers’ needs, and your users benefit from the integrated workflow.

Users don’t need to switch between different apps to do their work and information is centralized for easy access. Improving the user experience also lends itself to a higher retention rate when platforms and workflows are integrated.

If your software doesn't work as an "all-in-one solution" to your customers' problems, they have to shop for other software independently. This opens the door for them to be sold onto a platform that replaces your product rather than supplementing it.

Creates a competitive advantage

Embedding new applications or features is much faster and more affordable than developing and maintaining them in-house. 

This allows you to build a robust and highly customized platform comprised of top-shelf software at a fraction of the cost, giving you a distinct advantage over competitors while also allowing you to charge a higher retainer or subscription. 

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to a full-featured software solution's development time and cost. Several factors influence these aspects, making estimations highly variable, but here are some general guidelines to help you understand the scope of this type of project.

Simple applications with basic functionality could require 3-6 months for development, assuming a small team and well-defined requirements. Development costs can range from $25,000 to $100,000, depending on location, team experience, and project complexity.3 

The more complex the software, the longer the development time and cost. Unless your business is flush with reserves to invest in a product, integrating a proven solution is considerably more time and cost-effective when your customers want a solution today. Check out this post for more information on pricing your software solutions.

This is especially true if you’re focusing on a specific or niche market, also known as a verticalization strategy. Click here to learn more about agency operating models.

Improved data flow

Another key benefit to embedding other SaaS integrations is the improved ability to collect and pass data automatically between applications. 

This eliminates the need for manual data entry across applications and helps ensure data accuracy, especially amid larger teams with many clients. 

Having access to a richer, centralized database also allows account managers or other decision-makers to make more informed decisions when planning content, pitching upsells, or other revenue-impacting efforts.

Get started with embedded SaaS integrations

If you’re tired of juggling multiple SaaS applications or want to build a centralized dashboard for your product suite, it’s time to jump on the embedded SaaS integration bandwagon! (It’s way more exciting in action than it is to say, trust me 😉)

Because these tools can transform your user experience and business processes by seamlessly connecting various applications within a single platform, you can create a central access point for everything your clients need – from CRM to marketing automation tools to data analysis – without ever leaving your primary application.

This is the reality of embedded SaaS integrations, and we can’t wait to help you get started! Click here to reach out to our team to see how we can help you with your embedded SMM integration.

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