Why the ongoing process of performing integration maintenance is detrimental to your business

As organizations look to build customer-facing integrations, they often focus on the initial build. 

They allocate their resources accordingly, dedicating a certain number of engineers to the initiative for a certain period of time. Not long after, however, they’ll find that the initiative is anything but a one-time investment.

Every single customer that onboards onto the organization’s integration(s) raises the risk of an integration breaking. And every time this happens, the organization’s engineers are on the hook for diagnosing, troubleshooting, and resolving the issue quickly and completely. 

Considering how nuanced and complex integration errors can be, coupled with the fact that the quality of support offered by 3rd-party APIs is often poor, large teams of engineers can be fully consumed with maintaining the company’s integrations over time.

A graph that shows the relationship between engineering resources and the number of customers that adopt integrations
As more customers use your integrations, the engineering resources you need to allocate towards maintaining them increases exponentially.

You can read on to learn more about how having to constantly perform integration maintenance can ultimately harm your business over the long-run. 

Related: What is integration maintenance? Here’s what you need to know

Creates a poor employee experience for your engineers

Maintaining integrations is, by most accounts, a stressful and tedious endeavor.

For each issue that crops up, your engineers have to research the solution in the 3rd-party API’s documentation—which might not exist—, go through forums to see if and how others have overcome the issue they’re facing, ask engineers at other companies for help, among other activities. And as they troubleshoot and attempt to resolve these issues, customer-facing employees (e.g. customer success managers) are anxiously overseeing their progress and routinely pressuring them to find and implement a fix. 

Not only is this work time-intensive, stressful, and mundane, but it comes with a notable opportunity cost: Your engineers can’t dedicate time to more interesting, innovative, and impactful work.

Over time, this can lead your engineers to become disengaged, which lowers their productivity and raises their likelihood of staying on for a shorter period of time.

Prevents your most valuable resources from focusing on your core product 

The engineers who can maintain your integrations are also the same personnel who are uniquely positioned to build out and improve your product over time. Having them focus on your integrations, therefore, comes at the cost of them ignoring your core product. 

This hurts your business in multiple ways. For one, it leaves your team without the bandwidth to explore and invest the time in building or refining competitive differentiating features, which gives your competitors a chance to catch up to your product’s capabilities—and even surpass them. Moreover, it leaves your engineers with little time to address other issues that plague your product, causing clients to grow unhappy and customer-facing employees to become frustrated. 

Forces you to consistently invest in additional developer resources 

Integration maintenance is a constantly-growing task, as it’s largely dependent on the number of applications you integrate with and the number of clients who adopt your integrations.

To keep pace with this increasing volume of work over time, you’ll need to hire more engineers who not only have a deep understanding of managing APIs but also a firm grasp on the categories of software you’re building integrations with, whether that’s CRM systems, HRIS solutions, file storage applications, etc. 

As your organization grows, so too will the number of engineers you need to have for performing integration maintenance. Hopefully, you won’t have to hire as many as the image above depicts!

Candidates who possess this unique combination of skills are naturally difficult to source and recruit successfully. Moreover, once you find these talented employees, you’re highly dependent on them; if anyone leaves, there can be a significant gap in your integration maintenance capabilities leftover, which can lead to downstream consequences for clients and your business’ bottom line.

Related: A guide to planning your API integration projects

Leads to high costs for your organization

The costs associated with maintaining integrations comes from a few sources: personnel spend, the time dedicated to being on-call, and the monitoring tools your organization has to set up and use.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas:

  • Personnel costs: Given how hard it can be to find and recruit developers who can maintain your integrations, they naturally command a high salary. In addition, you’ll need to hire recruiters (and/or outsource a recruiting agency) to identify and bring in these engineers, which also requires ample investment.
  • Being on call: Having several developers set aside hours of their time every week to be on call is expensive. If you break down their salaries by hourly rates, you’re essentially investing thousands of dollars every week, which quickly adds up over the course of months and years.
  • Monitoring tools: These applications often come at high price points. In addition, they typically require technical expertise to use and lack the ability to provide actionable insights (e.g. steps for remediating a given integration issue). These drawbacks force your engineers to invest additional time on maintaining integrations.  

Avoid maintaining any integration by using Merge

Merge, the leading unified API solution, lets your developers build to a single unified API to access a whole category of integrations—such as HRIS, CRM, file storage, etc. 

Once connected, Merge handles maintenance activities with 3rd-party API providers on your behalf. 

More specifically, we’ve built out a partner engineering team that has deep expertise in APIs and that’s split into different software verticals (e.g. CRM). The latter ensures that each team member can dedicate the time necessary to gain a deep understanding of specific 3rd-party API providers within their category. That way, they can not only build robust integrations for their designated category but also respond to any issues quickly and successfully. 

You can learn more about Merge by scheduling a demo with one of our integration experts.