Scoping and managing a custom integration
This article is intended for SaaS companies, consultants, IT integrators and agencies that use Qlik Application Automation for OEM to provide custom integration services to their customers. We outline the different steps of a typical custom integration project, so that you can staff the right people, prepare a realistic quote and estimate the time required to deliver the overall project.
Please note that the Qlik Application Automation for OEM platform is often used to create reusable integration templates that are deployed for many customers. These templates can even be tweaked (customized) for individual customers that need a little
extra. This article however, covers the case where a fully custom integration is being built from scratch, based on specific requirements from your customer, and where a template is not available (yet).
This section discusses which roles are involved in managing a custom integration.
- Manage timeline
- Overall communication with customer
- Getting requirements from the customer
- Making sure the integration is delivered, documented and tested
- Defines the overall flow of data
- Defines the object types involved (e.g. Accounts, Contacts, Invoices), the relationship between these object types, the fields involved, required transformations, how data maps from the source to the destination, business logic that needs to be applied etc.
- Uses the Qlik Application Automation for OEM scoping document (intake document) to get a more detailed view of the project
- Good understanding of data models (relational models)
- Good understanding of the platforms involved (CRM, marketing automation etc.)
- Good understanding of the business case (why is the integration important, what is the required outcome, how can we verify if everything works as expected etc.)
- Build the actual Blend(s) inQlik Application Automation for OEM
- Testing of the Blend(s)
- Switching from test accounts to production
- Good understanding of Qlik Application Automation for OEM platform
- Completed all getting started videos and basic help articles
- Understands the different integration
Patterns, for example how to process data incrementally, what Upserts are etc.
- Has programming or scripting skills, this is needed to build comprehensive automations (loops, variables, conditions, data structures etc.)
- Good understanding of JSON, (REST) API's etc.
- Good understanding of data models (understands foreign keys, primary keys etc.)
- Knows what epoch timestamps are, understands different date/time formats, understands challenges of timezones etc.
How to make a quote
This section discusses how to estimate the overall effort required and make an accurate quote.
Time involved in the project
Example (actuals can vary heavily depending on complexity of the project):
- Project management (5 technical calls, follow up etc.): 2 to 10 hours
- Analysis: 1 to 5 hours
- Building the Blend(s): 20 to 40 hours
- Testing: 2 to 10 hours
- Documentation: 1 to 4 hours
- Finetuning/small changes after production: 0 to 20 hours
- Ongoing maintenance, monitoring: 1 hour/month
Make sure to budget following aspects:
- Qlik Application Automation for OEM license for one end-customer (recurring)
- New connectors needed? One time setup cost needed?
- Your services based on above total amount of man hours (e.g. 30 - 80 hours)
Phases of the project
This section discusses the different phases that a project will go through: analysis, building, testing, production, documentation, monitoring, and maintenance.
You can use the Qlik Application Automation for OEM example scoping document (intake document) to make sure you gather all the required information from the customer.
Building the integration
Use the automation editor to build and test the integration.
Testing & QA
Make sure to build and test the automation using test accounts on the connected platforms.
Make sure to use the Integration Checklist.
You can build a
Compare automation to compare e.g. the data in source and destination to make sure all data is synced correctly.
Bring into Production
Switch the connected platforms (datasources) from test to production.
Make sure to document your integration, especially the
why's, the overall business processes involved, etc.
You will receive emails if automations fail, make sure to check the jobs (history) of the automation on a regular basis, check for warnings etc.
You may need to make small changes to the Blend(s) (e.g. add a field mapping) as time goes by, because the data of the customer may change, more data is added etc. Make sure to also maintain the
knowledge of the project so that you can dive back in when requested by your customer.
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