Today, organizations across all verticals are adopting cloud-based applications and services. The rapid pace of change for industries, combined with the exponential increase in cloud-based applications, is fueling the growth of iPaaS. iPaaS helps organizations deal with their data silos by connecting disparate data systems. Using this method, data is maintained in a single place, enabling employees and departments to access and manage the information needed to achieve business goals. By putting data into a centralized repository, organizations can reduce manual data entry and compliance requirements. iPaaS also enables greater visibility and simplifies access to information for your employees. However, an iPaaS is only as useful as the systems it connects.

Let’s understand what iPaaS actually stands for and why it can be the most important decision you might take in a long time!

Related: What is application integration and how to achieve enterprise-level efficiency

What is an iPaaS?

iPaaS or Integration platform as a service is a central platform that standardizes how data flows between apps to streamline business processes.  

iPaaS is one solution that helps in improving the communication between different departments and streamline data sharing within the organization. It allows companies to expand their offerings without building it internally by integrating with another software that already has that capability, allowing businesses to offer a more holistic and robust solution to the customers.

The advantages of an iPaaS

Integration platforms are the perfect solution for organizations trying to unify information to improve the flow of people, information, and services between their teams. This allows for team members to access your applications through a unified front-end, understand what data is available and what actions they can take on it, and view information anywhere and at any time—all without having to re-enter information multiple times. In today’s world, you should also consider how your employees are using each application. The benefits of a centralized approach for many, information access is a concern, but if you use an iPaaS, you can reduce the time spent entering data and increase employee productivity.

Why should one think about getting an iPaaS?

  • Reduce the time spent entering data and increase employee productivity.
  • Customize apps for specific customer needs, such as better integrating CRM with Salesforce or automating IT management tasks with ServiceNow.
  • Improve security by encrypting data in transit between systems.
  • Support more users at a lower cost than traditional integration tools.

So, if you want to improve your business processes, reduce costs and enhance your employees' productivity? You need an iPaaS platform!

However, let’s look at the benefits your company can derive from iPaaS in a tad bit detail:

  1. Your integration efforts can be accelerated: You can substantially reduce the time it takes to integrate applications with iPaaS, allowing you to get integrations up and running much faster, accelerating the digital transformation initiatives.
  2. You'll be able to devote more time to higher-value integration tasks: You won't have to write low-level networking code with iPaaS because it comes with pre-built, validated connectors that are already integrated with application-specific APIs. The iPaaS provider promises to keep connectors up to date and ensure compatibility with key applications.
  3. You have the option to increase your integration capability: Integration experts, market analysts, and even citizen integrators may use the high-level tools of iPaaS, enabling you to extend the pool of people who create and manage the integrations. This speeds up the release of new integrations and relieves the pressure on the IT department, allowing them to concentrate on higher-value tasks.
  4. You can adjust your integrations quickly: Since your company and the technology you use are constantly changing, iPaaS enables you to adapt rapidly by providing a consistent user experience that allows you to upgrade or evolve your integrations to keep up—a prerequisite of most digital transformation efforts.

How and for what you can use iPaaS

  1. Exchange data: To streamline your business processes, improve your customer and employee interactions, and motivate your corporate decision-makers, exchange data between your applications in real-time.
  2. Migrate data: To make the company more agile, migrate data from legacy systems to new, cloud-based business systems. You can map, convert, and transfer data from an older on-premise business system like Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to a cloud CRM like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. iPaaS will assist you in migrating data such as identities, contacts, and opportunities in the proper order so that relationships between data in the new system are preserved. Many businesses often use custom fields and objects, which the iPaaS can detect and incorporate into the migration process.

iPaaS Alternatives

  1. ESB: The enterprise service bus (ESB) is a technological approach to facilitating application integration and providing Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). ESBs work with a collection of rules that work together to combine various applications. Although an iPaaS offers more versatility, it can also be used in conjunction with an ESB. ESBs have grown to support cloud services when interacting with RESTful APIs, and are recommended for building aggregating services.
  2. SaaS: iPaaS providers enable customers to maintain control over their applications and data, while SaaS providers handle all aspects of the application. Furthermore, while SaaS solutions can be used for analytics and benefit from effective and efficient integration, it is not their primary function. iPaaS, on the other hand, is used to tie multiple cloud services together by integrating SaaS solutions.

iPaaS functionalities

Although the benefits of an integration platform as a service are numerous, the question remains how an iPaaS operates. Several key functionalities make up the architecture of an iPaaS, and according to Gartner's 2020 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Application as a Service, the solution should provide a wide range of these capabilities in order to truly be a valid platform:

  1. Application integration features include the ability for various systems to send and receive messages, call each other's business functions, and automate business processes. In most cases, transaction-level integration is needed. It must support use cases like data consistency/synchronization between applications, the creation of new services from aggregations of existing applications or services (typically published as APIs or events), and the delivery of a multistep process that involves multiple systems.
  2. Data integration features include the ability for various data stores to synchronize, transfer data from one to another, and merge, deduplicate, and integrate data from multiple stores. Bulk/batch, federated/virtualized, or replication/synchronization data distribution modes are often used in this integration. It can extract, turn, combine, and provide data to serve a wide range of use cases, including analytics and data processing and integration.
  3. API management features include the ability to build, deploy, protect, and track APIs. These features must consist of an API gateway and an administration portal; a developer portal is optional.
  4. Connectivity to a variety of on-premises and cloud-based endpoints, including: Application connectors (for example, for Salesforce, Workday, NetSuite, Oracle E-business suite, SAP S/4HANA, ServiceNow, Microsoft Dynamics, and Marketo); Data source connectors (for example, for file systems and SQL and NoSQL databases); Technology connectors (for example, for FTP, HTTP, Java Message Service [JMS] andOpen Database Connectivity [ODBC]).
  5. Multiple data/message delivery styles, including: API-based; Messaging/event-based; Batch.
  6. Data and message validation.
  7. Data and message mapping and transformation.
  8. Data and message routing and orchestration.
  9. End-user tools for developing, testing, deploying, executing, administering, monitoring, and managing integration flows and managing the life cycle of related objects (transformation maps, routing rules, orchestration flows, adapter configurations, and others).

How to choose the right iPaaS

Although an iPaaS architecture has a lot of potentials, businesses search for certain common features and capabilities during the discovery and selection processes. The following are several characteristics to look for in an iPaaS architecture:

  • The capacity to connect to new data sources and business processes.
  • Data protection, uptime, and reliability
  • API management is one of the management solutions available.
  • End-to-end control is provided by monitoring solutions.
  • Ability to scale and adjust to changing business needs
  • Data storage on-premises, in the cloud, and in a hybrid environment

Is Quickwork the right solution for your business?

If you're tired of developers taking too long to build out your next product, or if you want to be able to launch on a schedule without hiring someone for every project, then Quickwork is the perfect solution. With an easy-to-use and well-documented API and Connector Library that anyone can use, we provide the opportunity for your business - big or small - to scale without sacrificing quality.

Quickwork is an enterprise iPaaS designed for teams of all sizes to collaborate and innovate more efficiently. It combines intuitive visual design with powerful task automation and workflow development capabilities. Quickwork helps organizations to manage their mission-critical business processes by automating manual tasks, enabling rapid application integration, and allowing users to quickly build an application on the fly that does something they need now. Quickwork’s visual process designer provides complete control over nearly every aspect of the process definition, allowing advanced workflows to be built by anyone.

Now you know more about iPaaS – what it is, how it works, and how to determine if an iPaaS solution is right for your company. With this information, you can start to search providers and see if an iPaaS solution is right for your business.  

To learn more about Quickwork and to see how the platform can benefit your organization, schedule a demo with one of our automation experts!

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