The Ultimate Guide to Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS)

Integration challenges slowing you down? With so many cloud apps and new technologies, integrating everything is getting harder. But don‘t worry, integration platform as a service (iPaaS) can help!

In this guide, we‘ll walk through everything you need to know about iPaaS including:

  • What is iPaaS and why does it matter now
  • Top benefits organizations realize with iPaaS
  • How iPaaS actually works
  • Use cases like app integration, B2B, IoT and more
  • Leading iPaaS vendors to consider
  • Tips for successful implementation

I‘m going to speak from experience helping dozens of companies use iPaaS to solve their toughest integration problems. This guide will arm you with the knowledge to evaluate if iPaaS is right for your needs. Let‘s get started!

What is Integration Platform as a Service?

Let‘s begin with the basics – what is iPaaS? Here‘s a quick definition:

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) delivers cloud-based technology to integrate software applications, data sources, APIs, and more across cloud and on-premise environments.

Consider iPaaS the middleware to connect all the disparate systems across your technology landscape.

Here‘s why enterprises have traditionally struggled with integration:

  • Point-to-point connections between apps were complex and expensive to build and maintain.
  • On-premise middleware like ESBs required large upfront costs and lengthy implementations.
  • Integrating new SaaS apps and data sources involved long development times.
  • Many integration methods required deep technical skills that were hard to find and expensive.

iPaaS solves these problems by providing pre-built connectors, APIs, templates and tools to streamline connecting anything and everything. It integrates across cloud, on-premise and hybrid environments.

The time and effort to integrate apps, data and processes is reduced by 50% or more with iPaaS compared to traditional methods.

Let‘s explore why iPaaS matters so much right now.

Why is iPaaS Critical for Businesses Today?

The average company uses over 175 cloud apps including solutions like:

  • CRM – Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho
  • ERP – NetSuite, SAP, Oracle
  • Marketing Automation – HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua
  • HCM – Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, ADP
  • Collaboration – Office 365, G Suite, Slack

The list goes on and on. Integrating data across all these disparate apps is extremely challenging. This proliferation of cloud apps is one major reason iPaaS is so valuable.

Consider these statistics that demonstrate why integration is so difficult today:

  • 93% of companies report using apps across both cloud and on-premise infrastructure. (hybrid)
  • Only 20% have a mature hybrid integration strategy in place.
  • 57% say integration challenges prevent them from getting the most value out of new technologies.

It‘s clear that despite massive adoption of new apps and platforms, most companies still struggle to integrate them with legacy systems. iPaaS provides the hybrid integration approach they desperately need.

Other drivers include:

  • Digital transformation – Initiatives like omnichannel commerce, digital supply chain, and IoT require easy integration between modern apps, devices, APIs and legacy systems.
  • Microservices adoption – As companies build microservices architectures, iPaaS helps connect and deploy these services.
  • IT challenges – Many IT teams lack the skills, time and budget for complex legacy integration methods.

Bottomline, every enterprise needs a faster, simpler platform to integrate their technology landscape. That‘s why iPaaS adoption has been skyrocketing.

Key Benefits You‘ll Realize with iPaaS

So what results can you expect from an iPaaS implementation? Here are the top benefits organizations see:

1. Accelerated application and data integration

With pre-built connectors, templates and no-code mapping tools, iPaaS speeds all types of integration projects versus traditional coding and middleware.

For example, one customer reduced ERP integration projects from 9 months to just 8 weeks with their iPaaS!

2. Increased data reliability and accuracy

With iPaaS, you configure connections and mappings versus complex coding. This improves data quality with less errors introduced compared to custom-coded or scripted integration.

3. Seamless B2B and supply chain integration

Trading partner integrations are simplified for seamlessly sharing orders, inventory, logistics, invoices and other B2B transactions. No more manual processes!

4. Orchestrated business processes

Automate processes like order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, quote-to-cash, financial close and more that span multiple apps.

5. Enhanced productivity

Citizen developers can now create integrations with easy-to-use iPaaS tools instead of relying on IT. Less complex skills required.

6. Cost savings

Avoid expensive legacy middleware and reduction in IT resources required for integration projects. Cloud-based iPaaS can cost 50-80% less!

7. Hybrid infrastructure support

One iPaaS supports integrations across cloud, on-prem and hybrid environments. No limitations to one environment.

The bottom line is iPaaS simplifies, accelerates and reduces the cost of integration in ways legacy tools can‘t match.

Now let‘s look at some leading use cases where iPaaS makes an impact.

Top iPaaS Use Cases

iPaaS can have broad applications across your enterprise. Here are some of the most common use cases:

1. Application Integration

One major use case is integrating key business applications like:

  • CRM – Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho
  • ERP – SAP ECC, Oracle E-Business Suite, Infor
  • HCM – Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone
  • Marketing Automation – Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot
  • Supply Chain Management – Manhattan WMS, Oracle SCM, Blue Yonder
  • Payment Systems – PayPal, Stripe, Braintree

And many more. iPaaS simplifies connecting these applications to each other or other data sources.

2. B2B and EDI Integration

Exchanging orders, inventory, logistics info, invoices and other transactions with trading partners becomes seamless with iPaaS.

No need for painful manual processes. Modern B2B integration helps optimize supply chains.

3. IoT and Device Integration

For IoT initiatives, many sensors, gateways, controllers, APIs and systems must be integrated in real-time. iPaaS handles the demands of large-scale device integration.

4. Cloud Data Warehouse Integration

Quickly load data from sources like:

  • SaaS apps – Salesforce, Marketo, ServiceNow
  • Databases – Oracle, MySQL, Hadoop
  • 3rd Party – Facebook, Twitter, Experian

Into cloud data platforms like Snowflake, BigQuery, Amazon Redshift and others for business analytics.

5. Business Process Automation

Streamline processes like order-to-cash, HR onboarding, IT service requests, financial period close and more that span multiple apps and teams.

6. Microservices Environment

iPaaS delivers the backbone to develop, connect and manage microservices alongside legacy systems. Accelerates deployment.

As you can see, iPaaS has become the go-to integration platform across industries.

Now let‘s explore leading iPaaS vendors to consider.

Evaluating Leading iPaaS Vendors

There are over 100 iPaaS vendors offering various capabilities. Leaders to evaluate include:

iPaaS VendorStrengths
Dell Boomi– Most connectivity options
– Strong hybrid/on-prem integration
Informatica– Leading embedded data quality
– Broad enterprise integration
Microsoft Azure– Azure ecosystem integration
– Great scalability
MuleSoft– API-led connectivity
– Microservices capabilities
Oracle Integration Cloud– Oracle ecosystem integration
– B2B transactions focus
SAP HCI– SAP-centric integration
– Global enterprises
SnapLogic– Self-service, intuitive interface
– Fast to implement
TIBCO Cloud Integration– Broad connectivity
– Embedded analytics insights
Workato– Simple automation
– Over 5,000 app connectors

I always recommend evaluating vendors specific to your business needs. Not all iPaaS offerings are identical.

Key considerations include:

  • Apps, data and APIs you must integrate
  • Hybrid, cloud or on-prem needs
  • B2B requirements
  • Data quality capabilities
  • Skills of your integration team
  • Budget and total cost of ownership

Take time to determine the right technology fit. This saves pain down the road.

Now let‘s switch gears to implementation best practices.

Tips for a Successful iPaaS Implementation

If you‘ve decided to pursue an iPaaS initiative, here are tips to drive success:

Start small, prove value. Begin with a limited pilot that demonstrates quick wins. Document benefits through metrics like reduced integration time and cost.

Assess connectivity requirements. Catalog all the apps, data, APIs and devices that must be integrated. This helps match required connectors.

Leverage pre-built tools. Choose an iPaaS with pre-built connectors, templates and widgets that accelerate your high-value use cases.

Evaluate data needs. Determine if embedded data quality and transformation capabilities are required based on your data profiles.

Plan for scale. Pick a solution capable of handling your integration data volumes, velocity and security requirements.

Mitigate disruption. For mission-critical integrations, ensure the iPaaS vendor helps migrate existing interfaces seamlessly.

Train users. Get citizen integrators and non-technical users up to speed on self-service capabilities through training and support.

Monitor closely. Keep close tabs on performance dashboards and alerts to catch any issues before they impact the business.

With the right strategy and vendor partnership, iPaaS can solve your trickiest integration challenges. Reach out if you need help assessing options!

Key Takeaways

Here are the critical points to remember about integration platform as a service:

  • iPaaS provides cloud-based, pre-built integration tools to simplify connecting anything – apps, data, devices, APIs.
  • It accelerates integration projects while being easier to use and more affordable than legacy middleware.
  • Key benefits include faster app integration, seamless B2B partner connections, hybrid infrastructure support and process automation.
  • Leading use cases are application integration, B2B, cloud analytics, IoT, microservices and process automation.
  • Evaluate leading vendors based on your connectivity needs, ecosystem requirements and internal integration capabilities.
  • Follow best practices like starting small, evaluating scalability, and monitoring closely during implementation.

I hope this guide has provided a helpful introduction to how iPaaS can empower your digital transformation through seamless integration capabilities. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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