One of the key areas of capability for Autologyx is our ability to integrate with different solutions and technologies. Such integrations enable businesses to manage, automate, and scale all their work while incorporating a customer’s various existing systems for an end-to-end workflow solution.
In this interview, Gareth Jones, Principal Consultant at Autologyx, talks about the types of integration we commonly see, how they may work, and best practices for getting the most out of them.
As Principal Consultant, Gareth serves as the point of contact to get Autologyx customers underway. He often can be found project managing customer implementations, gathering requirements, building workflows, and coordinating customer and Autologyx teams.
Gareth, tell me what the term integration means to you?
Integration is a seamless way to pass data between systems based on workflow processes. Over the last few years as our customers have continued to embrace technology to improve transparency, efficiency, and service delivery, integration(s) have become even more strategic.
Why do people integrate systems?
Integrations make sense when you need to combine two systems or functions together to create a better whole: a problem that requires constant manual intervention or re-keying or duplication of effort. For example, suppose you need to collate a set of metadata and store it alongside a file in a claims management use case. In that case, you’d use integration to bring the data in from the system of record into Autologyx.
Automated workflow makes their lives easier and less manual. By using integrations to transfer data between systems, you obviously make fewer mistakes and have fewer issues with the data. And when built the right way, it’s secure as well.
Integrations also allow people to stay within their own systems rather than having to log into multiple systems to get or view data.
So Gareth, talk to us about the different types of integration our customers have deployed within their solutions.
It depends on our customer orientation. Our recruitment customers may require links back and forth from Autologyx to their CRM solutions and then a connection to email sending services such as SendGrid, which makes automated updates to stakeholders as to the status of recruitment efforts.
We have out-of-the-box connectors for e-signature tools including Docusign and Adobesign, and we also integrate with Microsoft Sharepoint.
For our legal customers, we’ve got out-of-the-box connectors to iManage Work for document management and the iManage RAVN machine learning tool for extracting information from business documents.
What makes integrations so easy within Autologyx?
People tend to underestimate the level of effort it takes to integrate technology. We strive to make it simple. The value of an integration that essentially allows you to connect various systems is often misunderstood.
Autologyx integrations are always workflow-based. Where in the process do we need something to connect to push and pull data or send something?
In trying to make integrations simple, the core Autologyx application contains many of the essential components when looking at delivering integrations:
- Our baseline API capabilities, exposing them through a standard toolset like Swagger – which is a suite of API developer tools with API documentation and examples of how to make API calls
- Our sequence builder tool allows you to build visual representations of processes and directly join or integrate different systems, and
- Our testing plan confirms and ensures that everything works as designed
We have tried to reduce complexity and the dependency on the need to ‘code’ through the use of configuration instead, and it’s only getting better as we evolve the platform to include more off-the-shelf integration components.
What is the purpose of the integration? (Guiding principles of integration)
Integrations can be challenging, and Autologyx tries to provide a technology framework that makes it accessible. The most important thing is that you should always be asking lots of questions.
First and foremost, they need to understand the requirements and involve the users in building the workflow. We often ask our customers, “What are you trying to do?” And sometimes, they don’t really know, which is problematic. The response is often, “We just need to integrate this,” instead of asking, “Why?”
For example, for a DocuSign integration, we’d need to know when in the process that we’re sending documents, what kind of documents, and to which parties.
They should ask questions to make sure they understand what the goal really is. Does it make sense, and how are they going to meet their objectives?
- What are you trying to do?
- What is the purpose of the system that we’re connecting to?
- What type of system user needs to do it?
- What system are we connecting to?
- What do you want the integration to do?
- Copy documents?
- Display a new element on the form?
- Update a field within a system of record?
- What authentication processes and methods do we need to consider?
- How do we support the integration in the future?
- One of the most important is to ensure what executives and managers might need in terms of outputs to report on productivity, the workflow processes, and captured data?
And these are just some of the questions to start.
And then, there are more technical questions, such as whether the system that Autologyx needs to connect to is on-prem or in the cloud? What are the firewalls? The kinds of questions that would involve the customer IT team.
So can anyone build integrations in Autologyx?
That’s a great question. To deploy one of our Autologyx out-of-the-box connectors, you have to learn it just like any technology. It’s about the connector configuration, and you need to understand the basics, like authentication, data structures, and where to connect them in your process.
There are, of course, more complex integrations, to which you may need specialist help from an Autologyx consultant or the vendor of the third-party software, or your own IT team. Regardless, we’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to call upon us to have that integration conversation that enables your workflow.