Are Pre-Built Communications APIs Worth the Investment?

Find out how pre-built communications APIs can help you contain costs & conserve resources so you can build products your customers will love faster.

Are Pre-Built Communications Solutions Worth the Investment?

The cost, talent, and time it takes to build your own communications features and integrations in-house cannot be overstated — nor should they be overlooked. Even if you have a big budget and a large team, in-house communications builds are an ongoing investment. 

Features like authentication, email tracking, and calendar synchronization require continuous maintenance so you don’t run into problems when providers run updates. This alone is a massive undertaking for your developers, to say nothing of building these integrations from scratch. An efficient, scalable, and cost-effective alternative is to implement pre-built communications solutions. But are they worth the money?

Pre-built solutions outsource infrastructure so your team can focus on building products and satisfying customers. Let’s review why they’re absolutely worth the investment.

Benefit #1: Save on ongoing integration maintenance

In-house communications solutions are great in theory, but the process of maintaining these solutions is unpredictable. 

You can’t predict provider updates, customer edge cases, or bugs that might crop up. Often, integrations that you’d expect to take weeks or months quickly grow into yearslong initiatives that require time and attention from your engineers indefinitely. Your team’s time is money, which makes in-house solutions incredibly expensive. 

With pre-built solutions, you’re guaranteed to stay within budget because maintenance is performed by an external team. Luckily, platforms such as Nylas abstract away most of the work required to build and maintain communications API integrations. The Nylas Platform processes billions of API requests every day, and we handle ongoing maintenance for any provider updates. The responsibility for keeping things running smoothly is on Nylas, not your team.

Take LionDesk, for example — their product team saw an opportunity to improve user experience by centralizing essential communications and activities. They needed a secure, reliable way to sync users’ email, calendar, and contacts data into the LionDesk CRM. Two developers on the LionDesk team integrated and launched all three Nylas APIs (Email, Calendar, and Contacts) in just two months. Building these integrations for each provider themselves would have taken 28,242 hours and cost $1.8M.

“We don’t want to build our own stuff to support all the different versions of Microsoft. Just leave it to the experts, right?” —Lee Ling Yang, Director of Product at LionDesk

When you use in-house solutions, they’re difficult to scale. The complexity of building a single integration is daunting enough. But when you consider the accompanying costs and time of maintaining this infrastructure as you go, it becomes clear just how massive of an undertaking this proves to be.

Each time you need to add a new integration, you’ll have to build it out. You may have been successful in developing a solution to integrate with the Gmail API but whenever you want to integrate a new service (like Microsoft, for instance), it will require more developer hours and work. 

In contrast, using the Nylas Email API will provide you with a single point of integration to connect to any provider in the world. “It’s much easier for us to build and test one integration than individual integrations with each email provider,” says Lee.

Benefit #2: Refocus technical talent on other critical work

Say you’re a famous chef and you want to redesign your kitchen. You could spend hours learning how to tile and getting the grout perfectly smooth. Or, you could hire a specialist and focus your genius on developing your next great menu. 

The same principle applies to your engineers. You want them to focus on product work, not unnecessary maintenance tasks. In addition to the monetary cost of diverting your engineers to build and maintain your in-house solutions, you’re taking their attention away from important work. 

If you use pre-built solutions, engineers can bring all of their expertise and talent to the product work you hired them to do. Instead of putting out fires, their energy will be focused on delivering more value for your customers. Freeing developers up to experiment with ways to improve products will help with motivation and breed innovation in your organization.

Pipedrive, a leading CRM, wanted to build a secure and reliable email integration and further their mission of helping salespeople. Nylas APIs saved them months of engineering resources, allowing them to build new features, introduce new pricing tiers, and generate millions in ARR

Meanwhile, Dialpad, a cloud VoIP provider, was able to build a full contacts integration in two days with one engineer. “With the Nylas API, I had launchable code for full features in just two days,” said Stefan Roesch, a software engineer at Dialpad. The time saved allowed Dialpad engineers to focus on core differentiators. They introduced Voice Intelligence and AI features into their platform, allowing Dialpad to bring in new customers and help them be more productive and efficient.

Benefit #3: Go-to-market faster 

A pre-built solutions provider can take on the task of upgrading your software quicker than you. It saves both you and your customers valuable time. Updating products and solving problems fast is essential to avoid customer complaints and the risk of customer churn. Once issues are taken care of, your engineers are available to take advantage of R&D opportunities.

Clio, a legal CRM, used Nylas to allow users to access all client email correspondence in one place. Having that kind of control over a client’s first impression of their attorney helps with onboarding in the early stages of an attorney-client relationship, proving most valuable for Clio’s users.

Nylas’ API integration allowed a handful of Clio engineers to build this email support in just two weeks. “Our customers needed email features in their CRM, and Nylas made it easy to build…it would have cost us at least a year to build out just the Exchange and Google integration,” says Aaron George, co-founder of Lexicata. The time saved meant they could move beyond onboarding and build more tools to help their users grow those client-attorney relationships for the long term.

Benefit #4: Deliver secure customer experiences 

When you build your own solutions, the responsibility of security is on you. If something goes wrong, you’ve got yourself a massive and very expensive problem. Clio chose Nylas because their clients handle sensitive material every day, which means security is a primary concern for them. Regardless of your industry, security is a concern for many customers.

Nylas employs a dedicated full-time security team that responds to security alerts right away. We adhere to SOC 2, GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA | HITECH, and FINRA, so you can build the integrations that you need, without taking on the associated risk.

Conserve resources, reduce risk, and increase engagement with Nylas 

For teams of any size, Nylas takes away the burden of building integrations in-house. Save months of development time and retask your developers toward other mission-critical work. Then, transform that savings into more value for your customers — like launching innovative communications features that automate manual tasks and make your users as productive as possible.

For more information on the benefits of pre-built communications features, sign up for a live demo.

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