Third-Party Platform Integration
Today I am writing about the ways to integrate with Service Objects APIs. This will be different from our other discussions where we talk about running batches and hooking up our APIs in code. Here I am going to discuss leveraging our APIs in third-party platforms and embedding our services directly into those underlying technologies. Third-party platforms have varying degrees of available integration channels, and Service Objects products can easily be injected into most of these channels.
Why data quality is important for third-party platforms
First off, what do we mean by third-party platforms? When we talk about third-party platforms, we are talking about CRM systems for the most part. From the Service Objects perspective, we mean any platform out there that interfaces with data such as names, addresses, emails, phone, numbers, IP addresses and so on. These are systems that, at their very basic core, allow users to interact with data in their systems in a human-readable way. Beyond the basics, those platforms have much more functionality built into them that is tailored to solve specific problems and address specific needs.
It is this broad range of functionality that makes third-party platforms rely on good data and supplemental data points. As the old phrase goes, “garbage in is garbage out”. Without good data you cannot rely on your underlying business processes to be carried out effectively. Companies spend countless hours and money into implementing their business logic into systems and the platforms they build or subscribe to. They are constantly refining those processes so they can adapt to changes in business practices and increases in efficiency. If the data in your system is “garbage”, all the hard work put towards creating great processes cannot be realized. That’s where Service Objects steps in, ensuring your data is as clean, up-to-date and accurate as possible.
Adding value to your data
On the other hand, your data may be accurate out the gate, but you may want to append additional data points to it or evaluate how these data points work together so you can properly feed a downstream process. Service Objects’ web services help with that too. When we validate a record, we return many additional data points, not just validation, that can be used to add value to your records.
Here a few examples of how the added value can be used:
- Your organization may be trying to feed leads to sales staff in the most appropriate time zone. Our service appends time zone data to your name and phone records, so you can add this logic to your lead distribution.
- With phone validations, we can return the date of porting, line type (e.g. whether it is a landline, wireless or VOIP), contacts associated with the phone line, and SIC codes.
- For addresses we can provide fields like barcode digits – so you can match duplicate addresses, carrier route, congress codes, latitude/longitude, designated market codes and address fragments.
These are just a few examples in a couple of our services, but they contain so much more. A quick way to take a look at the value we can add to your organization is to take a look through our developer guides or try out our services with our look up pages.
There is an enormous amount of functionality that businesses require that often does not come out of the box in third-party platforms. The way organizations keep their data well-tuned and supplemented is by utilizing many of the built-in features of third-party platforms that allow you to integrate much more complex external logic not possible (or not easily possible) with the out-of-the-box product.
Support for a wide range of interfaces
Nowadays third-party platforms are opening their systems up to more and more customization; for example, Salesforce has been a leader in this area since the early 2000’s. The way platforms typically open up their systems is by allowing external connections to web resources such as web APIs. With these APIs, organizations are given the ability to push and pull data from the platform. This means that instead of trying to build logic into a third-party platform, organizations can rely on experts in their respective fields to do the heavy lifting for them, and they can deal with a simple call to an API.
With Service Objects, you can be connected in minutes to validating and appending data to your records while we deal with the complexities under the hood. Other examples of platforms that Service Objects web service APIs can be called from are Marketo, Zoho, SugarCRM, Eloqua, Dell Boomi, and many others. We have or can create step-by-step documentation for most of these, so if there is a platform your organization needs help integrating us with, simply reach out to us.
Not all platforms expose the ability to call web service APIs directly from their applications. Many of these, though, provide an API themselves that you can program against. In this case, you could write up a bit of code to pull records from the third-party platform from outside of it, call our API to validate the records, and then push them back into the platform. This way is a little bit more work, but should also be a task that can be completed in a short time and isn’t really resource-heavy either. Hubspot is a good example of a platform that only allows you to connect to them externally.
There is also another kind of platform out there that acts more like a hub for API’s. The most obvious example of this is Mulesoft. Mulesoft can do many things, but from our vantage point it is a platform that acts as a hub for your internal and external API’s and allows you to maintain a fine-grained level of control over their various uses and usage. When paired with Service Objects, you can inject our data validation services into any of your connected applications in Mulesoft and implement logic around it.
Need programming support? We’ve got you covered.
The last thing we want to touch on is our sample code and our programming language support. Off the top, we support and have sample code for C#, Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, NodeJS, VB.net, Classic ASP, Apex for Salesforce and Cold Fusion. We also have sample code for integrating right into Microsoft SQL Server. We handle a lot of interfaces, and our capabilities are so wide-ranging that if you need a sample we don’t directly have, we can typically build one for you on demand. Want to learn more about interfacing to your third party platform? Visit our online developer’s portal, or contact us anytime.