Understanding the Value of Third-Party Software Integrations
Today’s customers expect more of software applications than ever before. Piecemeal solutions that provide only a few noteworthy features are quickly being overtaken by more comprehensive platforms that deliver an end-to-end experience for users. This has prompted developers to incorporate more capabilities, while also building innovative features that set their solutions apart from the competition. Thanks to third-party software integrations, they’re able to meet both demands.
What is Third-Party Software Integration?
Third-party software integrations typically come in the form of SDKs or APIs that provide applications with specialized capabilities. Rather than building complex features like optical character recognition (OCR), PDF features, or image cleanup from scratch, developers can instead incorporate the necessary features directly into their software via an SDK or use an API call to access capabilities without expanding their application’s footprint.
From a user experience standpoint, third-party software integrations allow developers to build more cohesive software solutions that provide all the essential features a customer may require. Instead of pushing them into a separate application to interact with documents, provide a signature, or fill out a digital form, they can instead deliver an unbroken experience that’s easier to navigate and manage from start to finish.
4 Key Third-Party Software Benefits
There are a number of important benefits organizations can gain from using third-party software integrations, but four stand out in particular:
1. Reduce Development Costs
When evaluating whether it makes sense to build functionality for an application in-house or buy a third-party software integration, cost is frequently one of the key considerations. There is often a tendency to think that it would be more cost-effective to have developers already working on the project simply build the capabilities they need on their own. After all, there’s no shortage of open-source SDKs and other tools that are available without having to pay licensing or product fees.
In practice, however, this approach usually ends up being more expensive in the long run. That’s because the developers working on the project often lack the experience needed to build those capabilities quickly. A software engineer hired to help build AI software, for instance, probably doesn’t know a lot about file conversion or annotation. While they might be able to find an open-source tool to build those features, they still need to do quite a bit of development work and on-the-job learning to get the new capabilities stood up and thoroughly tested.
Focusing on these features means they’re not focusing on the more innovative aspects of their application. From a cost standpoint, that means they’re being paid to build something that’s already readily available in the market. When these internal development costs are taken into account, it’s almost always more cost effective to buy ready-to-implement software features built by an experienced third party. As the saying goes, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.
2. Get to Market Faster
Software developers are always working against the clock. With new applications hitting the market faster than ever, there’s tremendous pressure to keep development timelines on track and avoid missing important deadlines. This helps projects stay within their expected budgets and prevents potential competitors from getting to market faster. Any steps that can be taken to accelerate development and potentially shorten the timeline to releasing a product could mean the difference between becoming an industry innovator or being labeled as an also-ran.
Third-party software integrations allow developers to quickly and seamlessly integrate essential capabilities into applications without compromising their project timeline. Rather than building features like forms processing, document annotation, and image conversion from scratch, teams can instead use third-party SDKs and APIs to add proven, reliable, and secure features in a fraction of the time. By keeping projects on or ahead of schedule, they can focus on delivering a better, more robust product that exceeds customer expectations.
3. Expand Application Features & Functionality
Software development teams typically possess the experience and expertise needed to build the core architecture and innovative features of a new application. In many cases, they’re designing something novel that will provide a point of differentiation in the market. The more time they can spend on refining and expanding those capabilities, the more likely the application is to make an impact and win over customers.
What these developers often lack, however, are the skills needed to implement a variety of other features that will enhance the application’s functionality. Features like document conversion, OCR, PDF support, digital forms, eSignature, and image compression are complex and difficult to build from scratch. By integrating third-party software, developers can leverage proven, feature-rich technology to expand their application’s capabilities. This not only allows them to improve their solution’s versatility but also enhance the overall user experience by eliminating the need for external programs or troublesome plug-ins.
4. Access Specialized Engineering Support
Incorporating features like PDF support, image conversion, and document redaction into an application poses several challenges. Some of those challenges don’t show up right away, instead, they become evident long after a software product launches. If the developers don’t have a lot of experience with the technology behind those features, minor issues can quickly escalate into serious problems that leave customers unhappy and willing to look elsewhere for alternatives. No organization wants to be caught in a situation where a bug embedded in an open-source tool renders a client’s valuable assets unusable.
By leveraging proven, tested, and secure third-party software integrations, developers gain access to support from experienced engineering teams with deep knowledge of their solutions. In addition to documentation and code samples, they can also speak directly with developers who can provide guidance on how to best integrate features and resolve issues when they emerge. The best integration providers will even work with organizations to customize their solutions to meet specific application needs, which helps create even smoother user experiences and enhances reliability.
Integrating Third-Party Software with Accusoft
For over 30 years, Accusoft has helped organizations add essential features like barcode recognition, file conversion, document assembly, and image compression to their applications through an innovative line of SDKs and APIs. Our document lifecycle technologies are backed by multiple patents and have been incorporated successfully into a wide range of applications. Our dedicated engineers provide ongoing support and work closely with customers to implement their specific use cases, ensuring that their software platform is delivering the best possible experience.
To learn more about integrating third-party software with Accusoft SDKs and APIs, talk to one of our solutions experts today.