3 Trends That Will Influence How SaaS Companies Build Product Integrations

3 Trends That Will Influence How SaaS Companies Build Product Integrations

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As companies seek a competitive edge, they’ll increasingly build internal and customer-facing integrations. Or, they’ll construct integrations between a company’s product and their clients’ applications, typically through APIs.

However, organizations won’t simply just build more integrations. They’ll build them with the latest advancements in AI, use new types of integration solutions to meet their aggressive integration goals, and use the data provided by customer-facing integrations to power their AI features and products. Let’s dive deeper into each of these integration trends and break down their implications.

1. SaaS Companies Will Scale Their Product Integrations

SaaS companies currently offer a handful of customer-facing integrations. According to the 2024 State of Product Integrations 2024 report, just 11% of these organizations have built twenty or more integrations, and less than a third (32%) have built ten or more integrations. This is something most SaaS organizations want to change as soon as possible.

Exactly half of SaaS companies want to build fifteen or more customer-facing integrations in 2024, and 19% want to develop thirty or more throughout the year. Larger companies have even higher ambitions, with 58% saying they want to build fifteen or more customer-facing integrations this year, and 24% saying they want to develop thirty or more.

However, this development may prove difficult with their current in-house approach to building and maintaining integrations. Nearly three in four SaaS companies (71%) take three weeks or longer to build a single integration with in-house developers. On top of that, one in seven say that it takes them two months or longer to implement a single integration from start to finish.

While companies face several challenges when building integrations using in-house resources, the ones that stand out include making sure that the integration performs up to par (55%), securing partnerships with third parties (43%), and accessing the provider’s API documentation (38%).

SaaS organizations also don’t just want to build a high volume of integrations — they want to offer integrations across a wide range of software categories. For example, organizations are looking to develop integrations with CRM software (42%) the most, but they’re also eager to build integrations with project management and help desk systems (39%), marketing automation solutions (39%), HRIS platforms (37%), file storage tools (33%), applicant tracking systems (30%), and accounting solutions (30%). To meet their integration ambitions, SaaS companies will need to move beyond building and maintaining integrations in-house.

2. SaaS Companies Will Leverage AI and ML Connectors to Build Intelligent Automations

As SaaS companies look to tap into the latest advancements in AI effectively, they’ll connect their everyday business applications with the pre-built application connectors that third-party integration tools provide for AI and ML solutions. From there, companies can build new, cutting-edge business processes.

Here are just a few examples of the AI-powered workflow automations that SaaS companies could build (the possibilities are seemingly endless):

  • ChatGPT could be integrated with Zoom and Salesforce to build a workflow where once a sales call ends on Zoom, the transcript from the call gets added to ChatGPT. The chatbot can summarize the call and provide clear action items. This information can then be added to the associated opportunity in Salesforce, allowing the rep and their manager to review it and align on the next steps.
  • Developers could combine ChatGPT with Snowflake, Slack, and Salesforce to build a workflow where once a client reaches a certain level of product usage, the assigned customer success manager receives a message in Slack that lets them know and shares a specific, personalized message they can use to upsell the client successfully.
  • ChatGPT could be used with Google Calendar, Google Slides, Salesforce, and Slack and build a workflow where once a QBR call with a client is a certain number of days away, the chatbot populates a QBR slide deck template, which is then shared with the customer success manager assigned to the account through Slack.

3. SaaS Companies Will Use Integration Data to Build More Personalized AI Features

Customer-facing integrations often provide products with a high volume of detailed, accurate client data. For instance, human resources information system (HRIS) integrations can access all kinds of up-to-date data on clients’ employees, including their full names, job titles, salaries, and start dates. In the case of CRM integrations, they can also get data on clients that closed, when they closed, for how much, the contacts at these accounts, and so on.

SaaS companies will use this data to feed their internal AI and ML models, which, in turn, will allow them to build more personalized, accurate, and valuable features.

For example, Assembly — which provides a portfolio of HR solutions to help teams communicate, manage workflows, and more — already does this for their intranet solution. They’ve integrated with their clients’ file storage tools, such as Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint, and OneDrive, to enable clients to easily upload documents into Assembly. However, they also feed the information contained in these files to their AI model that powers their copilot, “Dora AI.”

Using all the information it’s ingested, Dora AI can provide direct answers to any of its users’ questions and cite the internal documents it used in generating its answers. This allows employees to trust the copilot’s output and easily dig deeper into any answer.

The Future of SaaS Integrations

The evolution of AI coupled with the rise of new integration solutions is leading many organizations to rethink their integration strategy, the ways in which they build their product, and their key business process.

The organizations that tap into these trends in the most strategic ways first will, in turn, gain a competitive advantage that will last for years to come.