Escape from vendor integration hell

Welcome to the second installment of An introduction to Customer Data Platforms for Engineers. If you had a chance to read the first part of this series, you already have an idea of what CDPs are, the role they play in the customer data ecosystem, and the benefits they offer to engineering teams. Maybe you have some questions––that’s good! The rest of this series is aimed at answering them. In this installment, we’re going to dive into a central concept of CDPs––having a single access point for all of your customer data, and the benefits this delivers to you as an engineer.

When it comes to marketing and product management, the tools of the trade are many and varied. Analytics, A/B testing, conversion tracking, re-targeting, and countless other business functions present growth teams with a vast array of SaaS tools to choose from. And just like your team needs the freedom to decide which frameworks and build tools you use in your stack, PMs and marketers should be able to onboard and experiment new vendors with ease. 

The problem is that unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Not for you, at least. Every new vendor integrated into your products means a new set of docs to dive into, new API conventions to learn, new rules for structuring and naming data, and more institutional knowledge that your team is responsible for preserving and calling on at any given time. What’s more, the deeper your vendor ecosystem becomes, the more likely it is that you’ll need to enlist the time of senior engineers with intimate knowledge of your stack to handle integration maintenance tasks like data plan changes. 

Think about the most exciting and rewarding work you’ve gotten to do lately. Did it have to do with integrating a marketing automation platform into your mobile app? How about tracking down all the data collection APIs that are collecting Customer_ID, and manually changing them to CustomerID? Odds are, dealing with the vast array of errors and laborious maintenance that arises from a multitude of vendors is probably not what makes your heart sing. 

Then, of course, there’s the code clutter. Oh, the code clutter! Nothing leads to a tangled, messy, spaghetti-like codebase faster than a sea of integrations. Complicated config files (hopefully with useful comments, at least) pile up in your repos like mobsters in the christening scene in The Godfather. Your HTML files groan under the weight of resource-intensive scripts and <head> tags as tall as California redwoods. 

Thankfully, there is a path out of vendor integration hell in the form of CDPs. Customer Data Platforms deliver integrations with hundreds of the most popular marketing, analytics, and data warehousing vendors, eliminating the need to implement and maintain individual vendor SDKs in your codebase. For collecting data across all of your platforms, mParticle delivers a complete set of tools including SDKs for iOS, Android, Web, Roku, FireTV, and more, as well as a versatile HTTP events APIs. 

This blog post provides more details about how CDPs not only help engineering teams reclaim their time and improve cohesion between developers and non-technical data stakeholders. Check out the other topic deep dives in this series to learn more ways in which CDPs directly benefit engineering teams.

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