The Third Way of Industry Interfaces — Sciant’s Managed Interface Service

Addressing the niche in the integrations market to open up new commercial possibilities

Feb 25, 2020 · 5 min read
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Sciant’s Managed Interface Service is a new way to solve some old problems in the hospitality and travel integrations space, by combining the best of what is already out there.

The challenge of interfaces

Software integrations are a necessary, if sometimes distracting, part of the modern travel and hospitality industry. Focusing on building, maintaining and updating interfaces can often take precious time, staff and resources away from the core mission of the business. Furthermore, businesses in the hospitality sector often don’t have the required knowledge or experience in-house to build robust and effective interfaces. Afterall you only need to connect to each system once, and each system has its own specification. Hiring an internal specialist would be an expensive and time-consuming process to address a temporary issue.

Expertise is crucial in this area because having the wrong interfaces can literally leave a business stranded while other companies move forward. This not only impacts the bottom line but the reputation of the business within an increasingly tech-savvy sector. Having the right integrations however can open up markets in new territories all over the world, leading to the kind of accelerated growth that investors dream of.

The stakes are clearly high, so the best, most efficient and cost-effective solution is clearly of the utmost importance.

Issues with current solutions

There are currently two main solutions for connecting different software applications such as PMSs, CRMs, RMSs and the many other essential applications that make up the modern hotel software suite.

One method is the direct connect approach — using APIs to write specific, individual, in-house interfaces between two systems. The other is with integration platforms such as HAPI, SiteMinder SMX, Snapshot or Impala, which host integrations on the cloud, offering a plug-and-play, app store approach that businesses can opt into.

Both methods have distinct benefits and disadvantages which can be challenging, especially to start-up and growing businesses. Direct connections are tailored to and owned by specific businesses but they can be time-consuming and costly. And although open APIs are hailed as being a universal solution, the reality is that many companies are unwilling to write to anyone else’s specifications, meaning that although many businesses are sending around their open APIs, actually connecting to the OpenAPIs is another matter.

On the other hand, integration platforms like Impala and Hapi offer flexibility and ease of integration, however the “one size fits many” approach may leave customers without the flexibility they need to advance their future product roadmap. And businesses lease rather than own the intellectual property associated with the interfaces. This means that if, as has happened in the past, a platform goes down or the company goes out of business, companies and hoteliers are left in the lurch with no interfaces at all. And, if, as in many cases, the product needs the integrations to access data and information in order to function, this can create a challenging commercial risk and put in jeopardy the future of the company.

Sciant — a middle way

Now, however, there is a third way. At Sciant we blend the advantages of direct connects and integration platforms to give technology companies and hoteliers the best of both worlds. This addresses a niche in the market between the direct connect space and the integration platform space.

Using our extensive experience of software integration — more than 100 different hospitality system integrations in the last three years — Sciant’s Managed Interface Service is a cloud-based solution that combines the flexibility and ease of integration platforms with the tailored and individually owned benefits of direct connects.

You don’t need to worry about finding the right experience for each integration needed, you can focus on developing your existing platform and technology, and with Sciant our teams know the industry systems very well reducing the time to activation and providing you with insight of the potential issues in the ongoing production support. Furthermore, our ongoing interface support services address issues as they arise to limit downtime.

How it works

Sciant achieves this by using stock cloud services, tying them together with a combination of a Sciant provided purpose built framework and custom integrations that the individual customer owns. This means the product is scalable, secure and dependable and that the customer has control over the customizations, effectively future-proofing them against crises such as business closure of the integration provider. Furthermore, we upfront negotiate a way for the customer to take this all in-house if they want to in the future.

In the meantime we provide an ongoing 24/7-helpdesk support and continual maintenance of the interface with additional services for a clear, proportional monthly fee to ensure the connection remains stable, and any production issues are quickly resolved. In addition customers have API based visibility into their infrastructure, allowing them to integrate health status and other features into their own applications and support environments. We offer log shipping so that customers get their own copies of all logs created by the interfaces. There are also monitoring, mapping, learning and health-check APIs to give customers unprecedented insight and control over the interface architecture, as well as instant notifications of problems or errors.

Sciant’s Managed Interface Service can integrate any and all hospitality software from CRMs to PMSs to RMSs and even door-locking systems and other IoT technologies. And with hundreds of hotels already on board, the service is established and rapidly growing.

Integrating the future

Sciant’s Managed Interface Service is not meant to replace direct connections (which we also offer) or compete with integration platforms. Instead we offer a middle way that combines the benefits and minimises the risks of both. It provides the perfect solution for technology businesses that want to combine the flexibility of integration platforms with the security and customised approach of direct interfaces.

Take the strain away from searching for the right talent and resources, focus on the growth and development of your own systems by working with a partner who has experience building bespoke integrations for systems throughout the industry.

We build the interface, you own the intellectual property, while hosting and support is provided on dependable, scalable, cloud-based systems to identify issues and maintain the connection to help your business grow and remain flexible.

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