THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATIONLunch & Learn Series | August 21, 2014
Importance of integration2Steve SniderDirector of Technologyssnider@hilemangroup.com
What well coverWhat defines an integration?Why integrate?Discovering solutionsSocial & custom integrationsQuestions
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Hello, I am Steve Snider and I am the Director of Technology here at HilemanGroup
Our development team has designed, implemented and provided technical direction on many different types of integrations for our clients and some of what we will be covering today consists of:
What defines an integrationWhy should you integrate with third party providersExamine some implemented solutions that we have providedDiscuss the implications of Social network and Custom written integrations
TransitionLets look at what defines an web integration
2What defines an integration?3When we connect two systems together. The communication between them can be unilateral or bi-directional depending on the situation and requirements.
These external systems could be:Social media connectorsCRM connectorsEcommerce interfacesEnterprise infrastructureThird party data sources Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Integration in a nutshell is enabling systems to exchange information.
Lets examine some of the different types of integrations that are out there,Specifically, what categories exist for us to gain efficiencies or enhance our users experience?We have groups such as:
Social networking Sharing and Liking pages, displaying feeds and timelinesCRM connectors - Lead captureEcommerce Shopping carts, shipping rate calculators, inventory stock levelsEnterprise level integrations Corporate domain servicesCustom Integrations This is where everything else lives! Do we have defined requirements to utilize third party APIs in order push or pull data whereas we can provide a better user experience or capture and submit information?
3Why Integrate?4What are some specific goals?Increased website trafficEnhanced user experienceConsistent processMarketing AutomationCRM lead capturee-CommerceEnterprise based authentication
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Why invest capital? What goals can it help to achieve?Increased website traffic by utilizing using social media sharing to enlist the help of others to get the word out?Enhanced user experience pulling numerical data, displaying assets which are stored on an external servicesConsistent process Is your website capturing data from the which is currently being manually exported, can you utilize integrations to remove some of the manual steps by creating an automated solutionMarketing Automation and CRM lead capture how can you complete the cycle from your campaigns and place them directly into the CRME- commerce Populating the website with products and inventory levels from an ERP, collecting payment and then routing orders for fulfillmentEnterprise authentication Do you have a need to validate extranet users where you can utilize role based access based on their domain credentials, is dual password maintenance problematic?TransitionNow lets narrow this list and take a closer look at some of these specific categories
4Discovering Solutions5Some of the integrations that we will examine:Social network APIsCustom API integrationsProduct fulfillmentRetrieving 3rd party dataLead capture
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Lets thin the list of categories so that we can examine some examples of how using integrations can
Increase website trafficEnhance user experienceSolidify a routine process Help complete the CRM lead capture cycle
Through examples containing
Social network APIsCustom APIs for Product FulfillmentRetrieving dataCapturing Leads
TransitionLets begin with a site that we recently launched and discuss some of its integrations5velosano6VeloSano (meaning swift cure) is an annual community event where cyclists come together to raise money for cancer,our nations second largest killer. In the events first year, participants raised over 1.6 million dollars to directly benefit cancer research.
The website aimed to generateawareness and provide participant tools as they raised money for this great cause.
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup VeloSano! This is really a cool site from many perspectives and for such a wonderful cause!
As for the development aspect it was a really enjoyable site for the Hileman team to work on and was so satisfying to see it live in production.
TransitionLets take a look at a couple of these integrations6velosano7Website integrations implemented:Social integrationsFacebookTwitterCustom integrationsCurrent fundraising totalTop fundraisersFeatured riders
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup This site incorporates many aspects of a distributive solution combining separate entities: Convio, a provider of fundraising and participant registration software and Hileman providing the Kentico CMS public facing website, it was combined in such a way that from the users perspective it appeared seamless.
There were several different types of integrations including Social Media to help get to word outCustom API integrations to pull and display transformed data from ConvioCurrent fundraising totalTop fundraisersFeatured riders
As a side note we utilized Single Sign On to allow seamless domain transitions between Velosanos website and Convio
TransitionNow lets have a look at where some of these features exist on the site
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Looking at the home page we have called out some of the social elements, lets discuss where they come from and what they do.
The call out on the right demonstrates an implementation of Shareaholic this is a highly configurable tool that enables sharing the page among various social media platforms.
This class of sharing plugin is extremely convenient in the way that it handles the heavy lifting of displaying and configuring each of the social media buttons individually, additionally the green icon allows selection of many more platforms to share with.
The bottom three call outs show some example of pulling data from some of the top social networks
The left bottom callout retrieves images that are pulled from the VeloSano Instagram FeedThe center bottom callout renders the Twitter Time LineAnd the Right Bottom displays the Facebook Feed
Shares vs. LinksCost vs. Value
8Benefits of Social Integration9Why use Social Signals?Increased SEO rankings?Increased page viewsFollowers and timelinesLow cost for implementation
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup What are some of the Benefits?
Increased SEO rankings? Increased page viewsAccess to Followers and TimelinesLow Cost
TransitionThe low barrier to entry and subsequent price tag makes this one of the most cost effective integrations to implement9Social Integration Sources10Resources to explore:
Social Media Plugin SDKsFacebook https://developers.facebook.com/docs/pluginsTwitter https://dev.twitter.com/docs/tfwLinkedIn https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins
Combination WidgetsShareThis http://www.sharethis.comAddThis http://www.addthis.com/Shareaholic https://www.shareaholic.com/
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Here are a few links and resources if you would like to give it a try!
I would also like to discuss Social Network SDKs verses some of the pre-packaged Widgets that are available.
Tools like ShareThis, AddThis and Shareaholic have the same low cost to implement as the SDKs and additionally provide some valuable features as opposed to the Out of the Box solutions with regards to social sharing.
The most important being that several of these have their own social analytics reporting engines so you can get insight into your most popular content, who's sharing it, and through which channels.
secondly they have the ability to configure what networks are shown and allow the user to select additional social sharing services if their preferred one is not in the displayed button list.
10Custom API Integration11
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup The basic premise of a custom integration is a condition where written code within the website reaches out to a third party data source and interacts with its data.
The data once retrieved can then be formatted in such a way that it meets the required specifications for display on the website.
We see here how the VeloSano Kentico implementation interfaces with the Convio system through the internet via the Lumminate API.
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Some of the integrations that we have implemented from the Luminate Convio API include
Retrieving the total dollars raised to date
Listings that include retrieving the top individual fundraisers along with the top teams
A slide show that fetches images of participants along with hover effects showing supporting data, for example there name and how much they have raised.
12Custom Integrations13BenefitsCommunication between third party sourcesSeamless data connectivityCohesive user experience
ConsiderationsCan effect page load timesCan be expensive to implement
Tweet Us with #HilemanGroup Read the BenefitsAllows interaction and communication with the third partySeamless data connectivity (SSO)Cohesive user experience
Lets discuss some of the considerationsLoad times are important, deferring and loading data asynchronously can help eliminate SEO ranking penalties
Custom integrations can become expensive to implement depending on how easy the API is to work with and if the data is returned in manner that is easily