Native Integration vs API: Which Is Right for You?

5 minute read | 17 Apr 2023

By Boomi

Changes in both consumer behavior and business culture have led to technological innovations that rely on vast quantities of free-flowing data. But when this data is being moved between systems manually, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, there are ways to integrate applications so the transfer of information is automated, ensuring your business maintains data integrity. The two most popular integration solutions are native integration and API integration.

Before we get into comparing these solutions, let’s take a moment to clarify a few terms, since there are overlapping elements to the technology that powers them.

Understanding the Role of API in Integration

Application programming interface (API) is code that enables communication between two applications using set definitions and protocols for the data being exchanged.

For example, when a customer is shopping at an online store, an API connecting the web store to an inventory database will send data indicating the availability of that item. When the order is placed, the web store will then send data to a ​​logistics application like an ERP, identifying which item was purchased and the customer details necessary for shipping the order.

The API filters through the mountains of raw data in each application – customer profiles, product inventory – and ensures the right pieces of information are delivered to the right applications.

While both Native and Custom API integration methods use API protocol, the way an integration is developed and deployed is different:

What is Custom API Integration?

Custom API integration uses API code developed independently of the software to create connections between software solutions. These can be APIs created by your developers or by third parties.

For example: When you set up Google Analytics on a website you’re using Google’s API to collect and process data from your site traffic.

What is Native Integration?

Native integration utilizes API code that is written into the software itself which enables communication with one or more other applications.

For example: Your CRM software may have native integration capabilities with services like Salesforce and Zoom, where an administrator can activate the integration via a setting in the CRM software.

Native Integration vs API

Deciding which solution is right for you depends on your organization’s integration needs and IT capabilities. Here are the relative benefits and downsides of each approach.

Native Integration Pros and Cons


  • Most software has native integrations for common services. While tech stacks vary from business to business, there are certain applications and services that are favorites, such as WordPress, Shopify, and Facebook. Your native business platforms likely have native integrations available to share data with these services.
  • It’s easy to activate native integrations. When the integration comes pre-packaged with the software, all you need to do is activate the setting that allows you to connect.
  • Native integrations typically don’t cost anything extra. After the initial purchase or licensing of the software, there are no additional fees for that integration.


  • You’re limited to the integrations built into the software. If one of the services you’re using is new or not as widely used, odds are you won’t be able to natively integrate with that service.
  • Custom native integrations can be costly. If you are using proprietary software and need your application to share data with a new service, you will need to have a developer create the code that enables that integration.

API Integration Pros and Cons


  • You’re able to stay up with what’s current in tech. Custom or third-party APIs allow you to create connections when you onboard new solutions or change services.
  • Solve for unique problems. Data flow and resource-sharing are key to solving many of today’s business problems and inefficiencies. The right API could make the connection that solves the issue and differentiates your service from others.
  • Scalability that keeps your business growing. The flexibility of API integrations allows your business to remain effortlessly connected through significant times of change.


  • Security can be a concern. When using third-party APIs, it is important to validate the security of the integration.
  • The more APIs you use, the more difficult it is to manage. Managing a stable of APIs can be burdensome in terms of ensuring data security compliance.

How API Management Enables Integrations

There is an excellent solution for developing and maintaining custom and third-party APIs. API management is the process of designing, documenting, distributing, and analyzing APIs. These systems also ensure the APIs you are using are compliant with the data security regulations that govern your industry.

The design capabilities of an API management system can help you build and automate the custom connections you need within a secure platform. Learn more with our eBook: “Simplifying API-led Connectivity with a Modern Integration Platform