Building custom software solves a lot of problems that businesses face while pushing digital transformation. Whether it’s an analytics dashboard that unites data from different platforms or a social media chatbot that boosts customer service ratings, custom software can be built to a company’s exact specifications without the compromises that come with third party solutions.
Custom software does present one problem: how to integrate it smoothly with existing systems. Often those systems contain third-party software which requires special design consideration.
It doesn’t have to be a roadblock, though. Keep these core concepts in mind during development and the result will be custom software ready for integration.
Adding to an existing monolith is complicated and makes the deployment process harder than it needs to be. For a more forward-thinking approach, lean towards a microservice architecture. Microservices isolate a specific function into its own module which can operate independently of other functions.
There’s a lot to be gained through microservices. They’re highly scalable and easy to integrate into a stack using APIs. When one microservice needs maintenance, it can be worked on or replaced without taking the entire system offline. It’s also possible to modernize outdated legacy systems by adding new functions via microservices.
Use API to Connect Necessary Resources
Application programming interfaces, or API, are software “middlemen” that allow unrelated software to communicate with each other.
The most visible API are the public ones that extend functionality to third parties for mutual benefit, like social media API. However, using private in-house API is an excellent way to integrate new software.
API reduce the risk of affecting existing software when adding new features. They position the system as a whole for agility and consistency. If several components communicate using the API, they must also use the same data formats, requirements to mandatory and optional parameters, and dependencies between fields.
This simplifies data governance and makes it simple to scale or add new functionalities.
Adopt Continuous Integration and Delivery
Something which is often done last when building custom software is actually integrating it into the existing stack.
Under this practice, bugs or gaps in function that previously went unseen can derail launch at the last minute. Adopting continuous integration and delivery helps address such problems before they affect delivery timelines.
Continuous integration means automating the build and testing of code every time a change is committed to version control. It merges all changes into a shared version control repository, encouraging developers to share their code and unit tests.
This results in fewer merge conflicts and earlier identification of bugs.
Continuous delivery, which is often used in tandem with continuous integration, involves automating the release process. Changes can be pushed straight to customers at the press of a button.
Some developers take this a step further with continuous deployment, where changes get sent out as soon as they’re committed. A bad tests will prevent deployment, but otherwise changes are pushed straight to users.
Why does this make integration easier? Frequent, productive communication is essential for building quality software on time and within budget. Continuous integration and delivery provides the basis for that communication.
It allows for smoother collaboration and frequent client feedback, letting developers fine-tune their approach for a seamless integration.
On top that, frequent testing and validation leads to faster discovery of errors. This is especially important when integrating with existing systems because bugs can affect those systems if they aren’t caught before integration.
Repairing bugs earlier in the process can be more easily than at later stages, which lowers the overall cost of development.
Custom Software, Custom Integration
While there are challenges when integrating custom software with an existing stack, those challenges apply to any software integration. Taken as a whole the opportunities outweigh the risks. With custom solutions, companies can guide the integration process and minimize the disruption to their daily business.
Concepta’s software development team has 12 years of experience with building custom solutions. If you’re looking for guidance on how new custom software can fit into your stack, set up your free consultation today!