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App Integration Design Best Practices, QuickBooks Connect 2017

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Developer Track presentation from QuickBooks Connect San Jose (Nov 2017). You've got a great idea for a small business app. You know you want to leverage data from QuickBooks. What do you need to consider up front? What other 3rd-party apps and libraries should you take advantage of? How do you ensure you've built the best customer experience? Learn best practices and practical techniques for creating the most efficient, effective, and beautiful app integration.

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App Integration Design Best Practices, QuickBooks Connect 2017

  1. 1. Sushma Rathnam, Group Manager, Engineering, Intuit Developer group Peter Lavelle, Staff Engineer, Intuit Developer group App integration design best practices 11/17/17 #QBConnect | WiFi: QBConnect Password not required
  2. 2. 2 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Today’s speakers Sushma Rathnam Group Manager @sushmarathnam Peter Lavelle Staff Engineer @nerdboots
  3. 3. 3 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Why do customers want QuickBooks Online integrations? Why build integrations using these best practices? Key best practices Summary of takeaways Q&A Agenda
  4. 4. Why Do Customers Even Want Integrations?
  5. 5. 5 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Accounting is a necessary evil of doing business. Unless you are an accountant, you didn’t go into business because you want to do accounting.  Compliance  Taxes  Payroll  Loans Why do customers NEED QuickBooks integrations? IMPORTANT: QuickBooks does not handle every workflow needed by a small business.
  6. 6. 6 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Why do customers WANT QuickBooks integrations? ? Your integration on our app store STARTING POINT: developer.intuit.com Your web site The average small business uses 8 applications throughout the course of their business day to run their business. Everything a small business does ultimately touches money or time (=money).
  7. 7. Why You Should Care About Best Practices?
  8. 8. 8 #QBConnect@IntuitDev  You want to provide valuable benefit  You want customers to recommend your app Why should you care? IMPORTANT: As a developer, you want ROI and your business to grow. 2.38 MillionAND COUNTING GLOBAL QBO CUSTOMERS
  9. 9. 9 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Why should you care? Reviews make a big difference Apps currently on our App Store • Average of 3 stars, Only 25% apps have 1 review or more • 50% of users won’t try an app with < 3 stars • Accountants want an app to have at least 4 stars
  10. 10. Why would anyone use this app” – App Center reviewer
  11. 11. So, what are these best practices?
  12. 12. 12 #QBConnect@IntuitDev When you write data to QuickBooks you take on the responsibility of maintaining the accuracy of your user’s books It’s tempting to take shortcuts • “Can’t I just record an expense for these fees?” • “Why do I have to record a deposit for the money in the user’s bank?” • “Can’t I just record everything against one ‘Sales’ item?” • “Why does the customer’s address matter?” Accounting is complex KEY TAKEAWAY: Accuracy is paramount. Don’t take shortcuts.
  13. 13. Software is not easy to use. Lots of sync issues” – App Center reviewer
  14. 14. 14 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Integration setup/review is critical to success • There is no “one size fits all” default setup for an app. Businesses are unique, their chart of accounts and needs are unique. • Users are not always familiar with accounting themselves. Set context. Guide user. Provide defaults. Allow override. • Summarize their choices and the effects of those choices. Provide a preview if possible, and tweak settings(*) KEY TAKEAWAY: Guide users through your app and provide flexibility. Give the user the confidence that their accounting won’t get messed up (*)Staged Transactions will be a easier way for developers to build data integrations
  15. 15. It’s working great! At least I think so, I am not really sure how to check whether anything is happening” – App Center reviewer
  16. 16. 16 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Insight and control Give the user insight into and control of the state of the sync and settings Show the status of the sync • When did you last sync? • What data did you create? (deep link me to it!) • When will you sync next? • Any errors I should know about?  Make sure you implement Single Sign On (SSO) with Intuit  Create a page with integration-specific information  Use the Launch / Settings links available from your app Allow user to manage the sync schedule • Let user choose how often they sync. • Let user run a manual one-off sync as an exception. • Let me turn it off if needed. • Let me update my schedule. KEY TAKEAWAY: Provide insights, allow changes to sync settings, use the door to your app.
  17. 17. 17 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Downtime happens • 3 systems with 99.95% uptime translates to ½ day/year (47,311 sec) of downtime • Be prepared, retry transactions instead of skipping them Data is not always consistent • Validations across systems vary • Don’t assume source data will match QuickBooks validations Manage errors gracefully • Use the insights page to notify user of any error and potential ways to fix them Be resilient, handle the unexpected Even the best of systems fail. Typical integration involves at least 3 systems. KEY TAKEAWAY: Errors happen, handle them gracefully and let the user knows what happened.
  18. 18. With a tool this popular and this big I tend to find them a little too ridged and not very flexible. However, I was presently surprised at the the depth of features and functions offered. It was pretty easy to track the work I performed and I was able to get all of the information I needed into QuickBooks…” – App Center reviewer KEY TAKEAWAY: You need to make sure you solicit these reviews from your customers!
  19. 19. 19 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Make sure you are accountant-ready Accountants are your best friend – Accountants can connect apps to their own firm or their client’s company – When you implement SSO, be aware of the user context as well as the realm context • SSO is with the user (accountant or SMB) • App works with the realm (data is moved to client realm) – “Accountant-ready” apps give you more exposure to customers KEY TAKEAWAY: Make sure you are ready for accountants to connect your app.
  20. 20. Summary of key takeaways
  21. 21. 21 #QBConnect@IntuitDev Summary Following these best practices will get you towards a 5-star app for 2.38 million customers KEY TAKEAWAY: Accuracy is paramount. Don’t take shortcuts. KEY TAKEAWAY: Guide users through your app and provide flexibility. KEY TAKEAWAY: Provide insights, allow changes to sync settings, use the door to your app. KEY TAKEAWAY: Errors happen, handle them gracefully and let the user know what happened. KEY TAKEAWAY: Make sure you are ready for accountants to connect your app.
  22. 22. Questions?
  23. 23. The QuickBooks Connect 2017 Conference App The QuickBooks Community qbcommunity.com Sign in with your QuickBooks login Access the presentations & continue the conversation

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