Monday, February 10, 2020

Integrating with SaaS Applications - Common Architectural Elements

integrating with SaaS applications
Part 2 - Common architectural elements
The introduction to integrating with SaaS applications laid out groundwork for a deeper exploration of it's logical diagram.

In this article we continue with a look at the common architectural elements. A description is provided to guide you with aligning what we've presented here with the landscape your organization works with every day.

These details should help you understand both what the elements contain and how they might align and how their functionalities are grouped.

Let's look at the foundation of our integrate with SaaS applications blueprint, the logical diagram with it's architectural elements.

External applications

integrating with SaaS applicationsThere is one element in this category of external applications and it's meant to encompass the applications external to our systems.


These can be any applications provided by the organization or third parties connecting with internal services.

These are applications that can operating outside of the organization's infrastructure, or as internal employee interfaces to the organizational services. Can include IVR, text, chatbots, etc. We've seen many instances of these applications and decides to group them in one element fronting all external actions that trigger a need for integrating with SaaS applications.

Container platform services
integrating with SaaS applications

A group of elements are collected here in the container platform and provide essential services to external applications.

Note that each element covers a microservice collection and in most cases are discussed as a group of microservices without detailing or splitting out single specific services.
  • Frontend microservices: Interface of business logic, mobile clients and orchestration calls to back end components. 
  • Process microservices: Services for orchestration using deployed process automation services.
  • Integration data microservices: Providing abstraction between front end services and internal storage. 
  • Integration microservices: Providing abstraction between front end services and external systems.
integrating with SaaS applicationsAs these microservices would likely be specific to each organizations needs, it's helpful enough to understand their groupings without worrying about functional details.

Infrastructure services

These services are grouped into infrastructure as they provide core functionality that cross many system boundaries and / or are embedded with the help of code plugins.

Some are physical servers or platforms that support services across the organization and others have a coordinating function.
  • API management: Manage and expose APIs for microservice and application interface availability.
  • External SaaS CRM: External customer resource management (CRM) system exposing an API.
  • 3rd party services platform: A platform hosted with services for entire organization, legacy architecture choice.
  • Single-sign-on (SSO) server: Single-Sign-On server, supporting code plugins.
  • Storage: Large unstructured data or file storage local or cloud-based as needed by applications, processes or services.
As we look in to the more detailed schematic diagrams of specific use cases, not all of these infrastructure elements are apparent, but they are core to the successful integrating with SaaS applications solutions.

What's next

An overview of the series on integrating SaaS applications portfolio architecture blueprint can be found here:
  1. An introduction
  2. Common architectural elements
  3. Example CRM integration
  4. Example CRM connector integration
  5. Example 3rd-party platform integration
  6. Example processes and 3rd-party platform integration
Catch up on any articles you missed by following one of the links above.

Next in this series, taking a look at integrating with an external SaaS CRM application.