Introducing Integrations Hub – Delivering on the Composable Commerce Promise
I’m excited to share an incredibly exciting new capability, our Integrations Hub.
Composable Commerce requires integrations. Deploying a “best for me” digital commerce architecture demands the frictionless integration of many technologies — both backend and frontend. Backend integrations drive approximately 60% of the cost of an implementation budget. For a $500K implementation, that’s $300K in costs and months of work.
With Integrations Hub, that cost goes back in your pocket along with time in the bank. Given the economic uncertainty every business is facing as we roll into 2023, eliminating most (if not all) of that $300K from your digital commerce project budget is likely the difference between getting the project approved by your finance team — or put on ice until next year.
Elastic Path has been pioneering innovation in the composable, API-first commerce market for many years. We applied the core principles of a microservices architecture to the product catalog, a vital commerce capability that had remained essentially unchanged for the past two decades. The result is EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) — which unleashes a combinatorial explosion of possibility in how commerce application developers and merchandisers build, organize, and manage product catalogs across multiple channels, touchpoints, geographies, and brands.
Now, we are delivering the same innovative spirit to one of the largest challenges in the Composable Commerce space — integrating with the many technologies required to build an amazing, modern digital commerce experience. As a product organization, we are maniacally focused on eliminating the complexity associated with building Composable Commerce applications, and Integrations Hub is a huge leap forward in our plan.
This matters because, historically, the longest pole in any Composable Commerce implementation project has been the integrations. Based on our experience with enterprise commerce platforms, 60% percent of typical commerce implementation time and budget is spent on integrations. So many systems, so many technologies — freedom brings responsibility and the paradox of choice.
With the economic realities we are all facing in 2023, 18-24 month implementation cycles are no longer acceptable. I just finished reading Working Backwards, a fantastic book about how Amazon has created its innovation machine. One of the nuggets from the book was the core design principle of AWS — a college student in their dorm could have on-demand access to the same compute resources as the largest corporation.
With the Integrations Hub, we are delivering on a similarly disruptive idea. Composable Commerce implementations can be much easier and connecting API-first technologies to build modern commerce applications is now instant-on, simple, and fast. It’s not the James Webb telescope; no need for Scala developers here.
Most exciting of all, our Integrations Hub is available right now for use. While many vendors in the commerce market like to share plans for what they are going to build way off in some distant future, I like to ship things. Our approach is simple, lovable, complete — then ship it. Iterate. Make it better. Repeat.
How Integrations Hub Works
The power of Integrations Hub is in its simplicity. It follows development best practices to automate the creation of the connective tissue between applications. Most importantly, with each new integration we make available to customers in the Integration Hub, we expand the list of capabilities available to all integrations — a virtuous cycle that increases the business value of the Hub to our customers. Let me explain how (feel free to skip ahead as we get into the details here).
An integration in the Integrations Hub breaks down into the following pieces in the example below of connecting Elastic Path to a third-party Order Management System (OMS) to retrieve order information:
Triggers: Triggers can be either a Webhook or a scheduled event
-> For example, each time an order is placed, the order is updated
Actions: Particular API calls or functions within a Component
-> For example, a GET call requesting order information from the OMS
Components: Mini applications that connect to an API or service and interact with it in some way.
-> For example, a OMS component is a mini application that connects to the OMS system API
Inputs: Data from a previous step’s results, configured values, such as API keys, stored data, or static data. Each action can include zero to many inputs.
-> For example, the order information requested in a previous step.
Steps: Integrations are made up of Steps, and each Step is made up of an Action and some kind of data Input.
-> For example, a Step called Get Order Information, which would be composed of a GET Action and an order number Input.
Within the Integrations Hub marketplace, all of this happens behind the scenes. A developer using Integrations Hub will simply input their authentication credentials, enter the correct API endpoints from the third party application, map data fields between the applications, and then go. Presto!
Coveo integration configuration
Coming very soon, we will extend Integrations Hub with Integration Composer, exposing all of the integration capabilities to customers to build their own integrations in a low code environment. This is where the virtuous cycle kicks into high gear. More than 1000 actions and 100+ components will be available to developers building integrations into their own internal systems or third-party applications not available in the Integrations Hub.
The combination of Integration Hub and Integration Composer is a fundamental change in how digital commerce applications are built. Faster. Cheaper. Significantly reduced complexity. Together, they will do for commerce application development what Airtable has done for relational databases and application development, or what Coda has done for document collaboration.
And best of all, Elastic Path runs it all in the background — eliminating the need to build and manage serverless functions behind bespoke integrations. We manage the DevOps/CloudOps for all the components for Integrations Hub — in a GDPR and SOC 2 compliant way — so customers can focus on their core competencies, building amazing digital commerce experiences.
More Than Just Third Party Integrations
Our objective is to offer instant-on integrations with market-leading technologies that, based on our experience, are most frequently required to build digital commerce applications. These include search, email, OMS, marketplace syndication, PIM, CRM, SSO, promotions, shipping and fulfillment, merchandising, translations, and more.
Additionally, we are building a suite of configuration utilities that customers can load to make initial store configuration simple. Data migration is one of the largest efforts in a typical implementation project, adding significant time and costs. We’ve removed the heavy lift with our configuration utilities for store configuration, data loading and transformation, including:
- Store configuration orchestrator: Enable the import, export, and deletion of store configuration artifacts such as webhooks, all flow types, currencies, and more
- EP PXM Loaders: Enable the creation and updating of the following EP PXM elements using a canonical JSON format
- Price books
- Product and node associations
- EP PXM Transformers: Provide a configurable mechanism to transform data from various formats to the canonical JSON format used by the EP PXM loaders
Build and Test in Your Dev Store, Deploy Into Production
Elastic Path customers get access to Integrations Hub, and soon Integration Composer, in both their development and production stores. And because customers can have multiple development stores, they can build and test as many integrations as they would like, then quickly move them into production when it meets their business needs.
Moving to a Composable Commerce approach means moving faster to respond at the speed of your business. With our instant-on integrations and low code composer, you can move quickly, expanding and adjusting your digital commerce applications with unparalleled speed and agility.
Opportunities for Technology Partners
Integrations Hub is also a game-changer for our implementation partners. We know that 60% of the typical implementation budget is spent on backend integrations. To be honest, so much of this is just plumbing work. Necessary, but too often cumbersome and expensive when every integration requires a bespoke effort with development, DevOps, and CloudOps components to go live.
By taking advantage of Integrations Hub, our partners will accelerate the unsexy work required to build a modern digital commerce application. This means more project time can be spent on the areas that improve conversions, increase average order value, and drive customer satisfaction. Most importantly, they are better able to focus on their own areas of expertise — the things that make their firm unique — which is why their clients choose them to begin with.
Want to Learn More?
Check out our documentation page to see how your brand can access “instant on” integrations and leverage the power of a Composable Commerce approach.Visit Documentation
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