Lessons learned while moving beyond bespoke integrations David Hallinan Published: November 1, 2018 Recently an educational technology company – let’s call it EdTech Co. for now – signed up for Kloudless in order to move beyond its inherited, bespoke integration strategy. First, here’s some background on the company.EdTech Co. supports both educators and students in schools, universities, and higher education institutions. Founded in 1979, EdTech Co. is among the first to pioneer the space, exploring and innovating new methods to enable technological methods of instruction.EdTech Co.’s suite of educational products equips teachers and administrators with the tools to ensure that their students have access to a safe, secure, and engaging place to learn. With over 90 million users across thousands of institutions worldwide, EdTech Co. needed an integrations solution that was effective, secure, and scalable.Students and educators share files in and out of the classroom. EdTech Co.’s flagship product – let’s call it EdTech Teach1 – is an educational platform built for both teachers and students to communicate and collaborate outside of the classroom. Yet even with the full suite of platform features, EdTech Co. Teach1 was still just one of the many software services found in the average educator’s technology stack. Educators and students alike would store their files, assignments, and other assets in any number of popular cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.EdTech Co.’s users wanted to be able to access, upload, and edit those files within EdTech Co.’s own platform without their workflow being interrupted.Version upkeep for multiple cloud storage services proved challenging. The product team at EdTech Co. had inherited a bespoke integration—Dropbox—and initially sought to build out the rest of the popular file storage services the same way: internally. They started with Microsoft OneDrive, a popular request, but soon ran into a number of issues.To their surprise, the initial integration was not what required the bulk of their time and effort: it was the maintenance of the integration that proved to be a headache. Over three years of maintaining their bespoke integration, EdTech Co. received more than 600 JIRA tickets and racked up approximately 8,800 hours towards OneDrive support alone.Unpredictable changes that Microsoft made to the OneDrive API would interrupt EdTech Co.’s automated scripts, breaking their meticulously designed integration infrastructure. Each issue would remain open for anywhere from two to four weeks before it was fully resolved. It was starting to distract engineering attention away from the core product, and even began to hurt the confidence that their customers and users—especially the newer ones—had in the EdTech Co. platform. It was becoming painfully clear that EdTech Co. needed to find a scalable solution that did not involve building and managing each integration in-house.To solve the problem, EdTech Co. used Kloudless to code once and integrate many services. The EdTech Co. team needed a solution to manage their integrations efficiently and effectively without diverting resources from their core product. After evaluating several options, including building directly from the API providers, they selected Kloudless as their new integrations solution. The clean and intuitive developer experience coupled with the depth of features enabled EdTech Co. developers to quickly and efficiently develop a proof of concept that brought clarity to their decision.EdTech Co. uses the Kloudless File Storage API to integrate EdTech Co. Learn with cloud storage integrations like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SkyDrive. The “one-and-done” approach allows EdTech Co. to access multiple applications and in a fraction of the time while drastically reducing the need to consistently monitor their integrations for breaking changes.Here’s a snapshot of the Kloudless File Picker.The open source nature of Kloudless allows EdTech Co. to take advantage of customizable UIs to scale internationally, prompting users in various languages to select their files and folders in the Kloudless FileExplorer user interface.EdTech Co. manages integrations on-premise.Doing so ensures the security of data across integrated services.The flexibility of the Kloudless Enterprise on-premise deployment allows the team to easily scale up the instances they needed while simultaneously ensuring that their sensitive data—students’ personal information—stays safe and secure. The freedom of scaling even allowed them to successfully reach their product international expansion goals.Using a unified API saved EdTech Co. substantial resources. Months later, EdTech Co. continues to see meaningful benefits from their investment across the several teams and functions.EdTech Co. estimated that maintaining a single in-house integration took up to one third of a full-time engineer’s time, dedicated solely to troubleshooting integration issues for that one service alone. Since EdTech Co.’s core competency as a product is not centered around integrations, it didn’t make sense to block the development cycle of the entire product by tasking developers with the challenge of building an integrations solution from scratch. Kloudless allows EdTech Co. developers to stay on track and focus on what they’re good at: improving and expanding their core educational technology product.With Kloudless, EdTech Co. is able to save up to $150,000 and 5,000 hours of developer time a year, while simultaneously ensuring reliable access to the multiple softwares services they need.Integrating with multiple services also helped EdTech Co. catch up in the market. As integrated workflows became more widely adopted, EdTech Co. saw their competitors expanding their integrations offerings to meet user demand. After integrating with Kloudless, they quickly caught up to—and even surpassed—the industry standards by adding five fully functional and stable integrations in mere days after the initial implementation.With the breadth and depth of integrations supported by Kloudless APIs, EdTech Co. is considering countless opportunities to enable creative new use cases for their user base to set themselves apart from their competitors.These results are in line with those experienced by other companies across industries. On average, Kloudless customers deploy applications eight times faster and decrease their maintenance overhead by a factor of four. What’s more, Kloudless customers code once and connect additional services twelve times faster than if they had built the integrations from scratch.For more information, please reach out to us here.