Tasktop Integration Hub: Features and Models

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At Tasktop, we’re very excited about our recent Tasktop Integration Hub launch. With this new product, we didn’t just set out to make incremental improvements. We set out to reimagine integration. Tasktop Integration Hub is one solution that handles pretty much all software delivery integration needs. It provides the right information to the right person in the right tool at the right time.

I set out to write about the features of this new product, but while writing, I had a few realizations…

First, reading a laundry list of features is boring. If you want to see the features along with some short videos, please visit our feature page.  You will find brief descriptions along with one-minute videos. These videos will do a much better job of ‘showing’ you the features, rather than me describing them.

Second, features are probably not what you care about. But you probably care that it works. That it’s powerful enough to support your organization. Tasktop just celebrated our 10th birthday. We’ve spent a decade listening to customers, and we’ve distilled thousands of hours of real-world customer feedback and use cases into a singular tool. And it does work.

During the past ten years, we’ve noticed that integration is often the last thing a company addresses in the software development process. Enterprises come to Tasktop after selecting tools and workflows. Sometimes, customers come to us after they try to handle integration on their own. This means we’ve had to be flexible in order to fit into almost any process. It also means we’ve seen a lot. It also made us work harder to provide the best integration tool on the market.

We understand that integration is about efficiency and ease of use. A good tool lets you do what you need to do. A great tool gets out of your way and lets you do what you want. A world-class tool helps you do things you never knew you wanted to do in the first place.

What our customers highlighted as critical. How we listened:

  • Connecting the tools they use.
    • We connect to over 45 tools using fully tested connectors. And we’ve added a new integration style that allows our customers to push events from a wide variety of tools.
  • Scaling existing integrations.
    • We understand how important it is to quickly add new projects to existing integrations. Tasktop has added Model-based integration management so it is simple to add a 2nd, 3rd, or even 100th project to the integration and our solution ‘understands’ what our customer is working to accomplish with the integration.
  • Flexibility.
    • Our customers must implement business rules about what goes where and when. Tasktop can filter and route artifacts as well as comply with customer needs around frequency (and direction) of specific field updates.
  • Security.
    • We provide secure log-in via our web-based interface.
  • Minimize server traffic.
    • We consistently hear from potential customers about their concerns around server overload caused by near real-time updates. Tasktop Integration Hub has implemented Smart Change Detection to limit the load on tools. It senses the changes to artifacts and maintains the smallest footprint.

I did write that I wasn’t going to focus on features, but there is one important new aspect of Tasktop Integration Hub that I would like to cover. Before I do, I wanted to mention that Tasktop Integration Hub includes the most used/important/popular features found in Tasktop Sync. It includes:

  • Artifact relationship: maintains artifact relationships across all your tools.
  • Person mapping across tools: you know who made a comment, even if they made the comment in another tool.
  • Comment synchronization: people can converse in their tool of choice instead of relying on emails that are never attached to the persistent artifact.
  • Attachment synchronization: to prevent duplicate login to separate tools and cut down on emails.
  • Routing: so that each artifact can be synchronized to the right place on the other side. To be honest, we’ve improved this enough to merit its own blog post.
  • And many more.

So now let me point out one of the things that makes Tasktop unique… and will make your integrations much more robust.

Introducing… Models

Models are Tasktop’s way of providing a universal translator for all tools. All tools speak different languages. Historically, integration tools rely on a 1-1 mapping between tools. That’s great if there are only two tools, but we’ve seen the pain that occurs when companies want to integrate three, five, six or more tools. The number of ‘translations’ between tool languages becomes untenable. With six tools, there are already 15 translations needed. Think about what this does to tool lock-in. Changing out one of these ‘languages’ for another requires five new translations. Models fix this.

Integrating Without Models

WithoutModels

Integrating With Models

WithModels

Models allow your organization to normalize the information flowing between tools.

You may be asking yourself “What is a Model?”

A Model is your abstract definition of a given artifact. It’s how an organization defines a specific ‘thing.’ For example, what defines a Defect in your organization? What are the common fields that are required to specify a Defect at your company? Not only that, but what are the values in those fields? For example, do you specify the Severity of your defects as Low, Medium or High? Or do you refer to them as Sev-1, Sev-2, Sev-3, Sev-4? Models let your organization decide how Defects should be ‘thought of’. The beauty of a Model is that the end tools don’t need to use the same field values. That’s part of the translation capability that Tasktop Integration Hub provides.

This may sound complicated, but it’s not. Tasktop comes preconfigured with eight models. Think of these as starter Models. Maybe you’ll need a new model. Maybe you’ll only need to tweak an existing Model. Tasktop Integration Hub provides that flexibility.

The beauty of Models is once one integration is created between two tools, the process of adding another project from each tool to the integration takes a matter of seconds. See the Scaling Integrations video.

If you’re still interested in learning more about what Tasktop Integration Hub looks like, how easy it is to use and how easy it is to scale, you can check out the Tasktop Integration Hub Demo. This 11 minute demo illustrates how simple it can be to set up and scale an entire integration scenario involving four separate tools.

As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.”  Tasktop isn’t magic, but we sure want it to feel that way to our customers.

Tasktop Integration Hub is a world-class integration tool that will help you integrate tools in a way that could only be imagined before today.