Custom vs Pre-built Integration

Custom integration and pre-built integration are two approaches to connecting software applications or systems to work together.

Custom integration refers to the development of a tailored solution specifically designed to connect two or more applications or systems. It involves writing custom code or developing scripts to establish communication, data exchange, and synchronization between the applications or systems. Custom integration offers flexibility as it can be designed to meet specific requirements, and it allows for fine-grained control over the integration process. However, it can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and may require specialized technical skills.

On the other hand, pre-built integration, also known as out-of-the-box integration or off-the-shelf integration, refers to using pre-built software connectors or integrators that are developed and maintained by third-party vendors or platform providers. These connectors or integrators are designed to work with specific applications or systems and are typically configured rather than coded. Pre-built integration offers a faster and more cost-effective way to integrate applications or systems compared to custom integration. It can be useful for commonly used software applications, such as popular CRMs, ERPs, or cloud services, where pre-built connectors are readily available. However, pre-built integration may have limitations in terms of customization and may not fully meet unique or complex integration requirements.

The choice between custom integration and pre-built integration depends on various factors, including the specific requirements of the integration project, the level of customization needed, the timeline and budget available, and the technical expertise of the team. Custom integration may be preferred when unique or complex integration requirements exist, and there are resources and expertise available for development and maintenance. Pre-built integration may be suitable when the integration needs are standard, and a quick and cost-effective solution is desired. In some cases, a combination of both approaches may be used to achieve the desired integration outcome.

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Understanding Custom Integrations

What is Custom Integration?

Custom integration refers to the process of developing a unique solution or system that connects two or more software applications, systems, or platforms in a way that is specifically tailored to meet the specific requirements of an organization or project. It involves designing, developing, and implementing custom code, scripts, or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to establish communication, data exchange, and synchronization between the applications or systems.

Custom integration typically involves working closely with the existing applications or systems, understanding their data structures, business logic, and functionality, and designing a solution that facilitates seamless interaction and interoperability between them. It may involve integrating different types of software applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, databases, web services, cloud applications, or other proprietary or third-party applications.

When to Use Custom Integration?

Custom integration plays a crucial role in meeting the needs of large-scale enterprises seeking to implement a comprehensive and sophisticated solution for a complex suite of applications that are not anticipated to undergo significant modifications for an extended period. These enterprises typically possess a dedicated software development team that collaborates with a specialized vendor to develop a tailored custom integration solution.

By utilizing custom integration, these enterprises can seamlessly connect various disparate applications and systems, ensuring smooth data flow and efficient communication across their entire infrastructure. This integration is particularly valuable for complex business processes involving multiple software systems, as it allows for the automation of tasks, synchronization of data, and streamlined workflows.

One of the key advantages of custom integration is its ability to address the unique requirements and intricacies of the enterprise’s specific applications. Custom integration offers a high degree of flexibility, as it can be designed to meet unique and complex integration requirements. It allows for fine-grained control over the integration process, including data mapping, data transformation, error handling, and security.

However, custom integration can also be resource-intensive, requiring significant development effort, testing, and ongoing maintenance to ensure continued operation and compatibility as applications or systems evolve over time.

The Challenges of Custom Integration

Custom integration can be complex and time-consuming, requiring specialized technical expertise and programming skills. It may involve various integration patterns, such as point-to-point integration, hub-and-spoke integration, or middleware-based integration, depending on the specific requirements of the integration project.

One of the primary challenges of custom integration is the requirement for specialized technical expertise and programming skills. To successfully implement custom integration, individuals or teams must possess in-depth knowledge and understanding of the systems and technologies involved. This includes familiarity with the specific programming languages, frameworks, and tools required for seamless integration.

Furthermore, custom integration often entails using different integration patterns tailored to the project’s specific requirements. Point-to-point integration, hub-and-spoke integration, and middleware-based integration are just a few examples of the diverse patterns that may need to be considered. Each pattern has its own intricacies and considerations, making it crucial to select the appropriate approach based on the project’s objectives and constraints. The complexities associated with the different integration methodologies also hinder business agility and the ability to scale rapidly when integration is introduced to the existing software ecosystem.

In addition to technical complexities, custom integration also necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the systems being integrated. Different systems may have their own unique data structures, formats, and communication protocols, which can further complicate the integration process. Mapping and transforming data between systems to ensure compatibility and consistency can be a time-consuming and intricate task, often requiring careful planning and attention to detail.

Factors to Consider When Implementing Custom Integration

Custom integration encompasses technical expertise, familiarity with integration patterns, understanding of diverse systems, data transformation, and effective collaboration. Thus, before implementing a custom integration, there are several factors that need to be considered to ensure its success. These factors include:

  • Technological Necessities: It is essential to evaluate the technological requirements and capabilities of the applications being integrated. This includes assessing the compatibility of the different lines of business applications, their data structures, data communication protocols, and security considerations. Understanding the technological landscape will help determine the feasibility of integration and identify any potential challenges or constraints.
  • Integration Development and Maintenance: Custom integration projects involve software development and ensuring continued maintenance. It is important to evaluate the existing development and maintenance processes within the organization. This includes assessing the availability of resources, tools, and methodologies required both prior to and after a successful integration implementation. Several factors must be considered such as version control, testing procedures, documentation practices, and change management processes should be accounted for to ensure efficient development and long-term support of the integrated system.
  • Return on Investment: Evaluating the potential return on investment (ROI) is crucial before embarking on a custom integration project. With the significant costs associated with developing a custom integration, it is prudent to do an in-depth analysis of the potential boost in revenue as compared to the cost of developing the integration. This involves assessing the anticipated benefits, such as improved efficiency, enhanced data accuracy, streamlined workflows, or cost savings. Comparing the expected gains with the costs associated with the development, implementation, and maintenance of the integration will help determine the viability and value of the project.
  • Employee Adaptability: Custom integrations can have a significant impact on the team members involved, both from a technical and operational standpoint. It is important to consider the expertise and skills required to implement and maintain the integration. Assessing the availability of skilled personnel within the organization or the need for external resources is vital. Additionally, understanding the potential changes in workflows, responsibilities, and training requirements for staff members is crucial to ensure a smooth transition and minimize any disruptions.

Understanding Pre-built Integration or Out-of-Box Integration

What is Pre-Built Integration?

Ready-to-use integration or pre-built integration refers to software integrations that are readily available and can be implemented without the need for extensive customization or development. It encompasses both pre-built integration solutions and pre-built API connectors. The integration process usually involves a drag-and-drop low-code implementation of integration for predefine processes.

Pre-built integration solutions are pre-packaged integration frameworks designed to handle standard integration processes for specific industries or use cases. These solutions come with built-in features and functionality directly from the vendor, enabling organizations to integrate systems and applications without the need for extensive configuration or customization. When implemented, these solutions are ready to be utilized, providing immediate integration capabilities for common business needs. An iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) platform offers a vast library of pre-built integration packages for standard use cases for various business applications.

When to Use Pre-Built Integration?

Pre-built integrations offer a versatile solution for integrating business applications and services without the need to create a complex system. Pre-built integrations are the most effective integration solution for SME businesses in the growth phase or enterprises that require fast upscaling of operations and may need integration of new applications often. By providing a single platform capable of handling multiple integration use cases, these integrations offer several benefits to users.

One of the key advantages of using pre-built integrations is the ability to achieve faster deployment. Once the software is installed and configured according to the user’s specifications, the integration can be quickly implemented, saving valuable time and development resources. This streamlined process allows businesses to start utilizing integrated services without significant delays or extensive technical expertise.

Another notable benefit of pre-built integrations is their cost-effectiveness. These integrations are designed to fulfill specific functionality at an affordable price, making them budget-friendly solutions. Businesses can avoid the higher costs associated with custom development and instead leverage ready-made integration solutions that cater to their specific needs. This accessibility makes pre-built integrations widely available to all sizes of organizations, ensuring that businesses can easily find suitable integration solutions to enhance their operations.

Additionally, pre-built integrations often require minimal technical experience to implement and manage. These integrations leverage low-code tools, allowing users to build and modify integration solutions without relying heavily on developer teams. This empowers business users to take control of their integrations, make necessary adjustments, and adapt to changing requirements more efficiently.

The Benefits of Pre-Built Integration


Pre-built integrations offer many benefits for enterprises, revolutionizing the way organizations approach their integration needs. With the ability to deploy integrations faster, leverage reusable components, increase productivity, and reduce integration costs, these ready-made solutions provide a strategic advantage in today’s fast-paced business landscape. By harnessing the power of pre-built integrations, enterprises can streamline their operations, optimize resource allocation, and drive innovation, propelling their growth and success in an increasingly interconnected world.

Pre-built integrations enable organizations to achieve faster deployment of their required integrations. With pre-configured settings and connectors, businesses can save valuable time and effort that would otherwise be spent on developing and implementing complex integration solutions from scratch. By leveraging pre-built integrations, enterprises can expedite their time-to-market and gain a competitive edge in their industry.

In addition to speed, pre-built integrations often come equipped with reusable components for common business processes. These components can be easily customized and adapted to meet specific organizational requirements. By utilizing these pre-built components, enterprises can streamline their integration projects and avoid the need to waste time with each new integration initiative. This approach not only increases efficiency but also reduces development time, fostering enhanced consistency across different integration efforts.

Moreover, pre-built integrations contribute to increased productivity by freeing up IT resources for more strategic work. Rather than dedicating significant time and effort to building integrations from scratch, IT teams can leverage pre-built integrations as a solid foundation and allocate their expertise and resources to other critical projects. This enhanced productivity allows organizations to optimize their resource allocation, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation in other areas of their business.

Lastly, pre-built integrations offer a far more cost-effective solution compared to developing custom integration solutions. Building integrations from scratch often involves substantial costs, such as specialized skills, extensive testing, and ongoing maintenance expenses. In contrast, pre-built integrations provide ready-made solutions that have already undergone testing and refinement. This significantly reduces the development and implementation costs associated with custom integrations. Furthermore, pre-built integrations often come with support and updates, further lowering long-term maintenance expenses for organizations.

Factors to Consider Before Implementing Pre-Built Integration

Before implementing pre-built integration solutions, there are several key factors to consider to ensure a successful integration that aligns with the organization’s needs and objectives. Some of these factors include:

  • Identify Integration Requirements: One of the initial steps is to clearly identify the integration requirements and objectives. This involves understanding the specific functionalities the organization aims to achieve through integration and how it aligns with its broader business needs. By clearly defining these objectives, organizations can have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish with the integration.
  • Understand System Capabilities: Understanding the capabilities and limitations of the systems involved in the integration is another crucial aspect. It is essential to become familiar with both the pre-built integration and the systems it connects. This knowledge allows organizations to assess whether the integration can effectively meet their requirements. By having a comprehensive understanding of the system’s capabilities, potential limitations can be identified early on and addressed accordingly.
  • Data Mapping and Transformation: Data mapping and transformation should also be carefully addressed. Organizations need to understand the data structures and formats used by each system involved in the integration. This understanding allows for effective mapping and transformation of data between systems, ensuring seamless communication and data consistency throughout the integration process.
  • Implementation Plan: An implementation plan is essential to guide the integration process effectively. This plan should outline the steps and timeline for deploying the pre-built integration. It should also identify any potential risks or dependencies, providing contingency plans to mitigate them. Having a well-defined implementation plan helps ensure a structured and organized approach to the integration process.
  • Testing Environment: Setting up a dedicated testing environment prior to implementation can be a secure and effective method to evaluate the pre-built integration before deploying it in a production environment. This environment should closely resemble the production environment, enabling organizations to identify and address any potential issues or conflicts early on.

To understand how to identify the best pre-built integration platform for your business, check out the “21 Questions to Ask While Choosing the Best Integration Platform


Custom vs. Pre-built Integration – The Build or Buy Analysis


An enterprise can meet its desired application integration needs through both custom integration and pre-built integrations. However, both integration methodologies have distinctive characteristics that the end user should consider before deciding which solution to go ahead with. Understanding whether to go with building or buying a business process automation and integration solution boils down to understanding how the different factors behind the integrations affect the business and which offers the best return on investment. The varied factors of custom vs pre-built integration that businesses should take into consideration are the following:

Time and Resources for Implementation

Pre-built integration offers the advantage of ready-made solutions that have already been developed, tested, and optimized. The pre-built integration is developed for widely used business applications across the industry according to their most common processes and use cases. As a pre-packaged solution, the enterprise does not have to dedicate resources or time to develop the solution and just pay the subscription for the product. For an enterprise utilizing industry-standard applications, the pre-built integration can be rapidly and effortlessly implemented, saving time, and reducing the costs associated with development, testing, and maintenance of the custom integrations.

Custom integration must be developed from scratch, implemented in the software ecosystem, monitored for bottlenecks, and then modified accordingly to ensure reliability and cover all the required functionalities of the business. Thus, custom integration requires a greater investment of both time and resources to ensure a reliable integration.

Integration Scalability

Pre-built integration packages offer standardized integration protocols through APIs for lines of business applications. The standardized integration infrastructure ensures that the integration workflow remains streamlined and any new application that needs to be integrated into the software ecosystem can be added effortlessly. Seamless multi-application integration through a pre-built integration also offers enterprises the opportunity to automate multiple workflows across different applications and expand their processes and functionalities.

Custom integration is mostly developed for specific use cases within an enterprise and focuses on developing a highly curated integration that will not be modified over a prolonged period of time. The in-depth customization limits the capability to easily integrate any new application into the ecosystem as there is no standardized methodology or protocol being used to develop the integration. The integration is highly complex and impairs scalability.

Technical Complexity

An integration implemented through a pre-built integration removes technical complexities during deployment as it utilizes low-code/ no-code infrastructure to enable users of any level of technical knowledge to customize and manage their integrations accordingly. Pre-built integrations abstract away much of the technical complexity associated with integration. They provide user-friendly interfaces and documentation that make it easier for non-technical users to configure and manage the integration without deep technical knowledge or coding skills.

Developing a custom integration necessitates a high level of technical knowledge and experience to implement it. The integrations require writing code to establish the connection between different systems or APIs. This involves understanding the APIs, protocols, and data formats used by the systems being integrated. Additionally, Data mapping is a crucial aspect of integration where the data from one system needs to be transformed or mapped to fit the data structure and format of the target system. Therefore, for custom integrations, developers also need to understand the data models and schemas of both systems and define how data from one system will be mapped to the corresponding fields in the other system.

Maintenance and Updates

The pre-packaged integration also comes with the commitment from the vendor to offer ongoing support and maintenance. The integrations often come with built-in maintenance features and support from the provider. With these integrations being developed and maintained by specialized teams, organizations can rely on the expertise of the integration provider to handle any maintenance issues that may arise. This eliminates the burden of maintaining and troubleshooting the integration internally, allowing businesses to focus their resources and attention on their core operations.

In contrast, with custom integration solutions, organizations bear the responsibility of maintaining and updating the integration internally. This can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and require specialized knowledge and skills. Additionally, as the organization’s software ecosystem evolves or new requirements emerge, the custom integration may require further modifications and updates. These ongoing maintenance tasks can significantly impact the organization’s IT resources, diverting them from more strategic initiatives.

Choosing the Right Integration for Your Business

Understanding the difference and choosing between custom integration and pre-built integration depends on several factors and the specific needs of the business. Enterprises utilizing legacy solutions across their on-premises infrastructure may find utilizing custom integration a more cost-effective solution for them initially. However, with the industry shifting more towards cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) applications, enterprises need to consider shifting to pre-built integrations as the go-to solution for businesses eventually. Pre-built integrations offer a streamlined and efficient way to connect different software systems and applications without the need for extensive custom development. These integrations are developed by specialized teams who possess deep domain knowledge and expertise in integrating various software platforms.

APPSeCONNECT as a next-gen low-code Business Process Automation (BPA) platform can significantly reduce the time and effort required to connect enterprise software ecosystems. The vast library of pre-built integration packages is built using best practices and industry standards, ensuring compatibility and seamless data exchange between different applications. As a result, businesses can quickly implement integrations, accelerating their digital transformation initiatives and enabling them to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

With the transition to or implementing a cloud-based pre-built integration solution, organizations can quickly and easily connect their software systems, drive operational efficiency, and enhance their overall business performance. By leveraging pre-built integrations, businesses can focus on their core competencies while relying on specialized integration solutions to seamlessly connect their applications and drive their digital transformation initiatives forward.

Looking to get started with automation for all your business processes? Seamlessly integrate and automate your entire software ecosystem under a single, intelligent, and secure Business Process Automation platform through APPSeCONNECT’s robust pre-built integration packages and achieve exponential business growth.