Why Dev Teams Are Incorporating More SaaS Tools as Application Components

Nov 26, 2020 · 6 min read
Illustration showing two computer monitors in a development environment.
Illustration showing two computer monitors in a development environment.
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Most modern dev teams have little appetite for spending weeks or months building payment processing from scratch, when they can instead quickly incorporate a SaaS tool like Stripe to handle that functionality. There’s a lot of upside to using a tool like Stripe: it cuts development time, abstracts much of the complexity associated with payment processing, and reduces maintenance effort. That’s pretty darn appealing when you’re racing to get your product to market and staring down a mile-long list of features to build.

The Trend: Incorporate Rather Than Build In-House

It’s not just payment processing, of course. A clear trend in modern software development is that dev teams are increasingly incorporating SaaS tools as components of their applications rather than developing every last bit of functionality from scratch. This is especially true for components that are:

Auth0 recently shed some light on this trend with a survey of hundreds of software developers, engineering managers, architects, and CTOs. In their report The 2020 State of Application Assembly, they found that “rather than build everything in-house, the majority of app builders now utilize best-in-class SaaS APIs… to enable unique features and functionalities.”

Payments, authentication, and messaging are common examples of application components that many dev teams choose to implement using a SaaS tool rather than build in-house. In fact, in the Auth0 survey cited above, 74% of respondents who needed to implement payments used a SaaS tool like Stripe rather than building that functionality themselves. For authentication, 58% chose to use a SaaS — or IDaaS, Identity as a Service — tool such as Auth0. For messaging, 71% chose to implement a SaaS tool such as Twilio.

The list of application components that dev teams are increasingly incorporating using a SaaS tool is large and growing. Just to name a few:

We’ll come back and explore that last one, integration platforms, in a bit.

Why Dev Teams Leverage SaaS Tools as Application Components

So why are modern dev teams leveraging SaaS tools to implement many application components rather than building all functionality from scratch? Let’s examine some of the biggest benefits to this strategy.

A SaaS Tool to Consider Incorporating: Integration Platforms

Given those benefits — and the increasing number of SaaS tools available for application components — we can expect this trend to continue.

As it does, one SaaS tool that teams should explore incorporating is an integration platform. Many dev teams, especially those who provide software for niche vertical B2B markets, spend an inordinate amount of time providing integrations between their application and the other systems their customers use. Building individual integrations from scratch is incredibly time-consuming, not to mention the time it takes to deploy them to customers, maintain infrastructure to run them, monitor and support them, and so on. Such teams may look to an integration platform — a comprehensive toolkit for building, deploying, and supporting integrations — to make integration work an easier, less manual, more repeatable process.

Not only are integration platforms highly beneficial, they are an excellent candidate for leveraging a SaaS tool. They resoundingly meet our criteria of being:

Integration Platforms: Complex and Time-Consuming to Build In-House

Integration platforms, sometimes known as iPaaS or Integration Platform as a Service, are a SaaS tool that reduces integration effort. A high-quality integration platform fitting for B2B software companies requires a complex set of functionality, including:

  • An integration designer that enables easily building reusable integrations.
  • Customer deployment management functionality that allows deploying integrations to multiple customers and handles customer-specific configuration and versioning.
  • First-class integration logging, monitoring, and alerting tools that enable better customer support for integrations.
  • A robust catalog of pre-built components (“integration building blocks”) that handle most integration logic, as well as support for building your own components to handle product-specific, industry-specific, or otherwise non-standard integration requirements.
  • An embeddable, white-labeled customer portal that allows customers to access integration tools and documentation from directly within your app.
  • A purpose-built infrastructure and environment for running integrations.

That’s a lot to build. Most teams can’t carve out the time to build such an integration platform in-house or would need to omit many of these items due to time constraints.

Integration Platforms: Not Part of Core Product Functionality

Aside from not being able to take the time to build an integration platform in-house, most teams probably shouldn’t because it’s not their core competency.

An integration platform abstracts the many aspects of integration work that are not specific to your team’s core product domain, including:

  • Integration coding work such as triggers, authorization, data formats, data protocols, data transformation, and connectors.
  • Integration infrastructure work such as production and dev environments, security, testing frameworks, logging and alerting tools, versioning, and deployment.
  • Tools and documentation for non-developer groups such as a documentation repository, logging/alerting access, an embeddable customer portal, and an integration app store.

With those items abstracted or greatly reduced in effort, software teams can focus on the aspects of integration work where their domain knowledge is critical, such as product vision, customer discovery, business logic, and customer training.

And of course, as happens when you incorporate any SaaS tool as a component of your platform, you also free up time to drive your core product forward — whether you’re racing competitors to market or hustling to deliver that next big feature customers are clamoring for.

Originally published at https://www.prismatic.io.

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Written by


Finally, an integration platform for B2B software companies. https://prismatic.io/

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds


Written by


Finally, an integration platform for B2B software companies. https://prismatic.io/

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds

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