When Comparing Cloud Fax Providers:
Ensure Application and System Integration Continuity
This blog post, the fourth in our series about scoping the essential features of an electronic fax solution, examines application and system integration. When your organization is planning to integrate a cloud fax solution into your existing infrastructure, you will need to find a fax vendor who can interface successfully with every system you already use. This post covers some tips for choosing a digital fax provider who can help you integrate online fax in a way that makes the most sense for your organization.
Whether your organization is looking to eliminate fax machines or on-premise servers, or you’re seeking a replacement online fax provider, our checklist will get you started. Use this checklist to assess what’s important to all of your organization’s stakeholders in this project, so that you can find the right fax solution for your entire organization’s requirements.
The Basic Integration Options for Cloud Fax
Most fax providers should offer two principal methods of integration–API/web services and application connections–that allow cloud fax platforms to connect to your essential systems and work for your organization as a strategic capability.
API/Web Services – Using a fax service provider’s API suite often facilitates the most functionally effective integrations. Built with customized coding, these integrations have capabilities that surpass other methods of integration and provide an unparalleled experience for users. Though the implementation may be more involved for this option, it gives you the ability to fully customize your organization’s fax solution.
Application Connectors – Working similarly to desktop plug-ins, application connectors eliminate the need for customized coding, making convenience a hallmark of using application connectors for this integration method. However, application connectors’ capabilities can vary significantly between vendors and the range of plug-ins from a single vendor can range widely in their reliability. In some instances, a fax vendor can skimp on development such that new versions or features are not very well supported. An important best practice is to research a vendor’s history of offering effective connectors.
Replicating Existing Fax Integrations
For organizations that are making the move to internet fax and eliminating their on-premise fax servers, they need to migrate existing custom application integrations. Though developers and other members of IT teams may have worried in the past about complicated integration efforts, there are three simple ways for online fax providers to replicate integrations:
Folder-based integrations – Folder-based integrations are easily configured—your provider can use folder or file-drop integration for sending and forwarding received faxes if you include the metadata and addressing information that is needed.
Embedded addressing – The addressing information embedded in documents being transmitted, typically for automated fax transmission from host or mainframe applications, is very useful for developers. Your cloud fax provider should have the capacity to process tokens used by fax server software so that your IT development team has less responsibility for coding and configuration.
API Integration – APIs are the best option for integration, facilitating real-time fax, multiple options for sending and receiving faxes, and job status updates. Leading cloud fax vendors typically offer free developer-led integration and best-practice design support to customers using their APIs, which facilitates full customization of an internet fax solution.
For any transition to a cloud fax solution, application and system integration need to be carefully considered as an important element for success. Vendors who focus closely on the user experience and include developer services are more likely to provide a solution that meets your organization’s needs and helps you use fax effectively and strategically.
Download fax requirements checklist
To help you gather the right questions to ask other internal stakeholders for your fax solution purchasing process, we’ve put together a checklist of considerations to help you begin scoping your project. Download the checklist below.
Start asking the right questions about your organization’s fax uses and needs, so you can find the right solution for the entire organization.