Deep app integrations: New waves in technology

ThinkstockPhotos-179747897-A - ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS

Switching apps to complete tasks is burdensome. App integration helps solve this challenge. One UI for all apps makes completion of tasks faster and easier

It’s a typical Monday morning, and Pooja has just started her day. She begins by firing up myriad productivity apps – there’s an app for pretty much everything. As a marketing manager, her work revolves around coordinating with teams of myriad functions on a daily basis.

So, she opens the travel applet on the company’s intranet to review her travel plans, and then another to approve a reimbursement claimed by a team member. And, oh! The calendar app, just in case there’s an early morning meeting that she has forgotten about.

It doesn’t stop there – she has to check in with her vendors for a product launch campaign. So that means logging into her email and writing them a tedious letter.

More is not always merrier

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by just reading about Pooja’s app use, imagine actually juggling all these apps! There’s a limit to just how many productivity apps a user can efficiently use until the task of switching between tabs takes its toll. Clearly, more apps don’t translate into more productivity.

Multiple apps, one UI

Interestingly, the simplest approach to tackling this problem of plenty is also the most effective and least expensive – integrate all your tools into one UI. While some productivity apps do ‘talk’ to each other, their systems are still rather basic. Most of these integrations simply allow a user to receive notifications generated in one app in the other.

What users need is two-way or cross-app communication, so that they can also manage and respond to notifications, without having to go back to the mother app! And ideally speaking, team communication apps are the perfect place or host for such integrations, as they are built for collaboration.

The platform first approach

An ideal team communication app should offer its APIs to developers to build ‘middleware’, which integrates with other collaboration apps. It should also allow others to customize its UI with widgets that would be built using the APIs. Thus, team messengers should come with APIs available for developers to build such middleware, and widgets to be integrated seamlessly into the UI.

One app to rule them all

Most businesses use a file sharing service, like Google Drive, in addition to a messaging app. The messaging tool is more likely to be kept open most of the time, while the file sharing app will be accessed when needed. Thus, to collaborate on a document, a user would have to switch between tabs, which is always a messy proposition.

But, integrations apps solves these problems by offering a deep integration with Google Drive. With the integration, the collaboration app’s users can share their Google Drive files with others, grant permissions, and view documents – all within one single app. No more switching!

Silos are out, open is in

Traditionally, allowing third parties to build on one’s own software was seen as admission of the inability to provide users everything they wanted. Thankfully, this thinking is changing. Team messengers are increasingly playing the role of a platform, by opening up their APIs to developers. This collaboration is the best way to cater to the unique needs of businesses and teams around the world.

Authored by Ninad Raval, VP of Product and Design, Flock

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