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Bridging the Integration Gap: File-Based Discovery vs. Custom Integration for the Unavailable Out-of-the-Box Solutions

  • 8 November 2023
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In the ever-evolving landscape of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, businesses often find themselves needing to integrate their data across a variety of systems. While out-of-the-box integrations are readily available for some applications, many organizations face the challenge of connecting their unique mix of SaaS tools and systems. In such cases, two powerful alternatives come to the rescue: File-Based Discovery and Custom Integration. In this blog, we will explore the key differences between these options to help you make an informed choice for your SaaS integration needs.

Understanding the Need for Custom Integration and File-Based Discovery

Before delving into the distinctions, let's clarify when and why customers opt for these alternatives. Custom Integration and File-Based Discovery are both sought after when there are no pre-built integration solutions available. Businesses may also choose this path because they need to share data that is specific to their SaaS environment. This approach offers the flexibility to connect a wide range of systems available in the SaaS Management Platform (SMP), catering to various needs like SaaS discovery, financial and expense management, and HR data integration.

Differentiating File-Based Discovery from Custom Integration:

Broad System Support:

Custom Integration primarily supports Single Sign-On (SSO) & Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) systems, Financial Systems, and Contract Management Systems. While these are essential components, the limitation arises when businesses need to integrate other vital systems. File-Based Discovery, on the other hand, offers a broader spectrum of system support. It encompasses SSO & CASB Systems, Financial Information, Contract Management Systems, HR Systems, Credit Card Management Systems, and Expense Management Systems. This versatility enables organizations to discover SaaS and SaaS-related information across a wide array of systems.

File import option

Technical Complexity:

Custom Integration typically involves setting up a system capable of running a Python script, using an Import API for data ingestion. This process may be daunting for customers who lack technical expertise. In contrast, File-Based Discovery simplifies the technical aspect. Customers can perform data ingestion without the need to establish a system to run complex scripts. Instead, it involves a user-friendly drag-and-drop mechanism, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Data Ingestion Requirements:

When customers opt for Custom Integration, they must adhere strictly to the data ingestion requirements defined in Discovery Capabilities. These requirements dictate whether data should be ingested via a stream, blob, dataframe or file. File-Based Discovery streamlines the process by providing templates during data upload. Customers can simply download these templates, fill in the necessary information, and upload the file. This reduces the likelihood of errors during data ingestion.

Error Handling and Clarity:

Custom Integration can pose challenges in terms of error handling. If an error occurs during data ingestion, customers need to check the console, often using complex scripts with report_level=ReportLevel.FailuresAndSuccesses. This process may be confusing for non-technical users, and error messages are not always clearly defined. File-Based Discovery offers a more user-friendly approach. Errors are displayed on the screen immediately after file upload. These error messages pinpoint which columns and rows need modification, along with suitable data types. This transparency simplifies the troubleshooting process.

Errors and fixes in File-Based Discovery

Tracking and Monitoring:

Custom Integration lacks a built-in tracking mechanism, leaving customers in the dark regarding the progress of data processing. Organizations are only aware of the data's arrival in the target workspace. File-Based Discovery includes a tracking and monitoring system that allows customers to easily trace the processing of their files. This feature offers real-time visibility into the data ingestion and transformation process.

Tracking using File-Based Discovery

In conclusion, the choice between File-Based Discovery and Custom Integration hinges on an organization's specific needs, technical capabilities, and the systems they wish to integrate. While Custom Integration offers a more tailored approach for certain systems, File-Based Discovery provides a user-friendly and versatile solution. Customers should carefully evaluate their requirements and consider the technical proficiency of their teams before making a decision.

In order to understand process of Custom Integration, checkout this blog.

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