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4 common misconceptions about integrations


Integration challenges explained 

Questions regarding integrations are the most frequently asked questions during our sales process. Whether it’s asking if we integrate with a specific carrier or how they work, we hear them all. In these conversations, we also hear a lot of misconceptions of how integrations work as well as various expectations. So let’s clear those up:

1. Integrations are flawless 

Recently we were asked why a piece of BerniePortal sales collateral stated that integrations are not perfect and that 1% of clients go back to manual data entry after an API integration. The natural next question was “Well shouldn’t an integration be perfect?”

In order to understand why no API integration will ever be 100% perfect, it’s important to understand how they work. Often times, people have a misconception that integrations in the HR space work just like their iPhones syncing with their iPad. To take a deeper look at this, let’s talk about the difference between APIs and EDIs and how each works.

2. Confusion between APIs and EDIs 

EDIs, more commonly known as file feeds, are often times the most advanced technology most carrier and payroll vendors can provide. While they are a step above faxing, they are tedious and have lots of rooms for errors. In addition, they’re hard to interpret and often takes months to set up.

API integrations are a step above EDIs, but they still aren’t perfect. APIs are created by companies leaving parts of their software “open” so other softwares can easily integrate with them and request information. APIs offer instant syncing for certain actions. However, with two different databases at two different companies talking to each other, there’s plenty of room for error.

For more detailed information on the difference between APIs and EDIs, check out our recent blog, “What is the difference between EDI and API integration?”

3. Limitations are based on vendors 

Another common misconceptions is that integration limitations are on the benefits administration vendor’s side. While this could be true, the majority of limitations are actually on the carrier or payroll provider’s side. Think about it - which one is a technology company? At it’s core, a carrier’s core competency isn’t developing innovative software solutions, and before the last few years they haven't had to have the capacity to do so. A technology company can only integrate at the level of technology a carrier will match.

In addition, the  vast majority of carriers will not integrate for under-100 life groups. Taking this into account, it’s important to consider how much of your book of business this would actually effect.

4. Well how are the big guys doing it? 

Another common misconception is that some software companies, like Zenefits for example, have integrations figured out. The truth is they don’t. There’s actually people behind the curtain and reports have come out that Zenefits employees are spending hours doing data entry into Excel. These sheets are then emailed to carriers. As you can imagine, manual data entry and emails are highly susceptible to errors.

The truth is, integrations aren’t going to be perfect but they’re better than not having an integrations at all. As carrier and payroll providers adapt to the billions of dollars and developments in the HR software space, we’re sure to see advancements soon.


Interested in learning about BerniePortal's integration options?

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