How to simplify tech stack integrations
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Christine Masters, Contentstack Senior Product Manager for Emerging Products, talks about composable and how integrating the right SaaS solutions for your application can take time. She gives a behind-the-scenes look at how Contentstack’s Automation Hub significantly simplifies complex integrations with clicks, not code and the multiple ways it can be used to save time.
- The biggest time-consuming aspects of migrating to a composable architecture
- How engineers have dealt with integration complexity in the past
- Benefits of Automation Hub
- Innovative use case for Automation Hub
- The future of Automation Hub
- Can anyone use Automation Hub or only developers?
- Can Automation Hub reduce the need for middleware?
00:58 The biggest time-consuming aspects of migrating to a composable architecture
Integrating the right SaaS solutions for your application can take time.
Composable technology gives you the opportunity to use the best-of-breed of different kinds of SaaS solutions. The idea is that you can put everything together to create the best implementation for your particular business. Unique essentially to you. And, as you mentioned, the difficult part is that each of those has to be tied together. We have APIs these days that allow the software to essentially talk to each other pretty easily, but you still have to create that bridge between them, and that's where it takes some time. ... Anytime you want to build something special for your business, and you want it to be the best-of-breed for search, e-commerce, and content management, anything like that, you want to build it together from things that are the best for your business. So, this is where we start having to build these integrations, and this is where Automation Hub comes in.
04:49 How engineers have dealt with integration complexity in the past
Automation Hub is a better way of dealing with integration complexity.
Let's think of something like a search engine. You might decide that a particular search engine vendor works well for your business. It might be faster or index things in a way that's very beneficial to your business. You want to use that particular vendor, but to send all of your items over to that vendor to keep them in sync or delete something in the CMS; it also deletes them in your search engine. That type of thing required integration. You have to use different APIs to send the information back and forth whenever you're doing that integration. And again, that's something that with Automation Hub, we have created a connector with a lot of these search engines. ... [In the past] somebody would have to create specific development for that, and now that development doesn't have to happen. It's something that they can just add.
07:42 Benefits of Automation Hub
You can easily create automation using triggers, webhooks, and schedules.
When using Automation Hub, there is a trigger—this trigger is usually something inside of Contentstack, where I'm creating a new entry, or I am publishing something, or I'm doing a release. It can be an HTTP request or something using webhooks. We have a scheduler—that is where you can set up an automation that happens every day. ... All of these are things that can create an event and then essentially just stack actions after that. Every single automation can have multiple different actions that happen after the initial event. And a bunch of different vendors are in our connector database for things like Jira, Amazon, and Algolia. We have dozens and dozens of them, and you can just choose them, set them up, and then stack them to create your automation.
09:02 Innovative use case for Automation Hub
Moving from a clunky process to compare changes to an automated report produced by ChatGPT.
We had a customer who wanted to set up an automation. It was a situation where they were cutting and pasting things quite frequently. They had a content type, and any time it was changed, they had to get approval from a manager within the organization. Anytime somebody changed the content type, they would go into Jira and write a note to create a new ticket. They would write a quick description that this has been updated. The manager would get that ticket, and he'd go back to the content type and try to figure out what had changed, maybe look at the old version and see if anything is missing. ... What we were working on with them is a trigger based on the content type. We look at any time this content type has been updated as the trigger that starts this automation. Then we send it to ChatGPT. ... [ChatGPT] compares the two schemas and then essentially writes a report about what's different between them.
17:03 The future of Automation Hub
Look for advances in both composable content management and enterprise features.
I'm excited about the future of Automation Hub. We have a great vision for where to go in the future. There are other integration providers out there, and we're digging into both the content aspect—where ChatGPT is a good example of showing how this can be used to enhance content, content operations, and content orchestration as well as enterprise. Where we exist in the market today is that we're both—content that is composable as well as enterprise. So we're trying to dig into that with Automation Hub.
22:16 Can anyone use Automation Hub or only developers?
It’s simple enough for a business user to quickly understand and powerful enough for a developer to use.
The way that we built this, it's meant to have a simple interface. All of these things are just APIs and webhooks—the language of the internet and applications talking to each other. A developer will be familiar with those concepts, but for a business user, it's very simple. You can have an event, and whenever that event happens, you have these actions that happen afterward. It's very easy for a business user to understand. At the same time, we have a lot of advanced features, [such as] code block, repeat paths, conditional, and so forth, that help a developer dig in and set up some things so as not to have to spend so much time doing middleware and integrations anymore. Whether it's the business user using it or a developer using it, either way, we're helping you streamline and do those integrations more easily so that you can use that time for real problems and really interesting things that help build value for your business.
23:46 Can Automation Hub reduce the need for middleware?
Contentstack and Automation Hub replace content and digital stack integration middleware.
There might be situations where your HR automation or Salesforce automation or something like that is still appropriate to use. But for enterprise content-related situations where you're doing content integrations or integrations for your digital stack, that's where Contentstack and Automation Hub together really shine. We definitely see that we have a lot of advantages in those situations over some of those other vendors.