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5 questions to ask yourself when considering a paid integration

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Integrations, synchronizations, migrations — these topics might seem straightforward, but they can turn out to be complicated when you actually get started. To help demystify things, I'll share a few guidelines the getint.io team has put together to help Atlassian customers during our years creating and supporting Atlassian integrations.

 

Here are 5 important questions (and several related sub-questions) to keep in mind when considering investing in a paid integration: 

 

1: Why do you need the integration?
(Hint: It's not just about saving time)

Most companies we meet during our daily work think that the reason to get an integration is just to save time for their team members. Instead of manually copying and pasting issues/tasks by humans, now we will get the tool (app) that will do the job, which would be way faster, and ultimately save time. This is true — the little moments spent manually synchronizing data across applications do add up. 

 

But saving time isn’t the only benefit. It’s not even the most significant way your workflow can improve. What we’ve seen time and again from Atlassian customers is that the biggest benefit is actually avoiding mistakes. Adding in manual steps will always increase the opportunity for error. Another important benefit is increased employee satisfaction, which comes from improved collaboration, productivity, and work/life balance.

 

Spend some time investigating the possible benefits for your company including but not limited to time savings — these benefits and possible savings will be a valuable benchmark for discussing price or administration cost. 

 

2: If the integration isn’t free, is it worth it? Or should you build it natively? 

 

If you can’t find a free version of your desired integration, building your own custom integration might start looking attractive. You have developers on your payroll, so why not use them? From here, it’s a matter of priorities. Is learning to navigate new documentation, experimenting, troubleshooting and testing out a new integration the best possible value your developers can bring to your company? 

 Maybe the answer is yes! But remember, it’s one thing to develop the solution. Once it’s built, the integration will still need to be maintained. Your team will need to fix bugs and keep track of all the changes made to the integrated apps. For example, when Jira changes a feature API or when the Jira Server API is different from the Jira Cloud one, this will represent a new project for your engineering team. There is also evolving scope in most cases, since your team may not have a strong sense of what they need at the very start.

As the building and maintenance time adds up, it might be worth your time to buy an integration that’s already built and will be maintained by another team. If you come to this conclusion, the next step is to make an informed buying decision — particularly for integrations that are not offered for free. 

 

The getint.io team has put together this list of questions to help guide you toward an informed decision when it comes to your paid integration selection: 

 

  1. Do you need one-way or two-way integrations? It may be good to have both when the requirements change in time.
  2. Do you need to filter out some issues/tasks/incidents? For example, you may need to integrate just a given project first but then also limit the integrations to a given label.
  3. Is there a chance to add custom JQL to the integration setting?
  4. What about custom fields? 
  5. Do you need to integrate attachments and comments?
  6. What about integrating users?
  7. Is there a migration option?
  8. How is more complex data like status transition performed? That is very important when connected projects (like Scrum and Kanban projects) have different workflows.
  9. Is there an option to add post-creation updates?
  10. Is there an option to quickly scale to other connections, f.e. you have a new contractor you want to connect with - what are the rules? Usually, it costs.
  11. How about data security?
  12. What are the deployment options? The bigger the customer, the more they are interested in on-premise deployment, while plenty of Vendors offer SaaS-only solutions.
  13. What about the volume of issues? If you have a Jira DC, you may want to make sure the app can handle the load, f.e. thanks to the parallel threads. 
  14. What about syncing intervals? Is the tool supporting real-time synchronization? Some tools charge more for shorter intervals.
  15. How can I know that everything is synced as it should be? Is there some dashboard/reporting module?
  16. What happens when suddenly, an app (f.e.) Jira, to which data should be sent out is OFFLINE? 
  17. Is there any mechanism that will notify me when something is wrong with my integration?
  18. When, e.g., someone in a destination app (like Jira) changes mandatory fields, and all my synchronizations fail, how can I make sure they are resynced gracefully?
  19. What about custom development options, when needed?
  20. Is the app owned by a Partner, a vendor with plenty of other applications, or are they specialized in one topic? 
  21. What is the SLA? Is there a Premium SLA option?
  22. What about the docs? Are there video tutorials?

 

In addition to answering these questions, we also recommend scheduling a call or reaching out to see how responsive the partner is. Go to reviews, check the enthusiasm of reviewers. Check to see if partners are responding to constructive reviews. 

 

3. Does the paid integration meet your past, present, and future needs?

Requirements change as an organization grows, so integrations are not just about here and now. We like to think about this as factoring in the past, present, and future when making a decision about an integration. 

Often companies need to migrate existing data (from the past) first. Then, they need to integrate current issues/tasks/tickets (the present). From there, it's important to factor in flexibility for future needs. For example, maybe your team will add a new contractor that uses a different app. Or perhaps you’ll need to add a new tool to meet a new need within your organization — you need a Jira Azure DevOps integration now, but you’ve added a contractor who uses GitHub and needs to integrate Jira with GitHub. Factoring in flexibility when making decisions about paid integrations will set you up for success in the long run. 



4. What is your willingness to pay when it comes to integrations?

Most cloud customers are looking for free solutions first. Often the official version of integrations are available for free, but when they aren’t this search process can be painful. Plus, since most official integrations are free, there’s not a strong consensus about what a paid integration should cost. 

 

This is where it becomes important to understand your objectives and what you stand to gain as a business. Saving time saves money. Retaining staff saves money. These are metrics that can be roughly estimated and attributed to integrations to help you decide if a paid integration is worth the price. 

 

For example, if we look at the cost of an IT representative’s time, assume 1.5 hours wasted per team member per month (avg. equivalent to 120$ of their salary), and multiply that for a team of 100, you’re looking at $12,000 a month wasted. This should make it easier to assess the monthly cost of a paid integration app. 



5. What is the time to proof of concept?

I've often found myself in a position where I’m responsible for choosing my team’s software. If I'm choosing between two tools and one takes a long time to drive value because of a complicated config while the other can be launched within minutes - I’ll choose the tool with the faster time to value every single time.

 

When testing out solutions, you’ll need to prove the value to the business side of any organization. You’ll need to test and prove your case quickly, so simplicity is fundamental. From that point, you need a tool that can help you cover the specifics of the particular case, which you usually discover while testing. 

 

Carefully answering all these questions that will guide you in the direction of what will work best for you. 

 

Try out getint.io apps on the Atlassian Marketplace here

 

Author: Jacek Wizmur, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of getint.io - reach me out at  jacek@getint.io. Speaker on Atlassian User Group meetings, plenty of podcasts, webinars, and events hosted by Atlassian Partners, an active member of the Atlassian community. 

 

Getint.io is a platform to integrate software to make the collaboration between teams and companies smooth, easy, and secure. 

2 comments

@Jacek Wizmur _getint_io_ , nice article, thanks!

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Great article, especially the integration checklist. Thanks for sharing!

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