This episode will focus on what iPaaS does, what are the challenges but, mainly, what is the value added to customer organizations. If you did not read the first episode, you can read it here >> "Introduction to iPaaS"
Generally speaking, iPaaS platforms have connectors, business/logical rules and sender/receiver mappings that are either default or can be custom created. iPaaS is scalable and can grow/decrease to match the integration needs of customers.
The main components of iPaaS solutions are:
- Connectivity: first of all, iPaaS makes sure that apps can connect to each other.
- Application integration (routing and orchestration): this is the logic of how and when data is sent between apps.
- Data Integration: mapping between sender and receiver data objects.
- API management.
Common features of iPaaS solutions:
- Adoption of new applications.
- Technical monitoring: e.g. are integration endpoints alive.
- Functional monitoring: e.g. why is the Sales Order integration down.
- Developer tools for custom integrations.
- Prebuilt connectors.
- Solid security.
Following the examples from first episode of these iPaaS series, here are some other situations where application integration platforms solve business needs:
- Manufacturing companies use iPaaS to connect sensor data from its equipments with Production Operating applications, to allow engineers to check energy consumption, downtime, and maintenance needs. In case of failures or performance issues, iPaaS will trigger service calls.
- Large companies that use customer relationship management software (e.g. Salesforce) will connect to ERP systems like SAP, Oracle, etc, so that its own sales staff will know when to contact customers, what new products to suggest to existing clients, and how to qualify a potential customer.
- Logistic providers or Freight carriers, operating large fleets, will need iPaaS to allow customers to request logistic services via multiple channels.
- Nowadays, drivers benefit from using mobile applications that tell them where available parking places exist. More details about such a business case at Cegeka, will be shared in a future episode.
Seeing examples above, it is clear why organizations need a reliable and flexible Integration Platform. iPaaS, being the cloud alternative to older integration platforms, has such abilities but also many others – here are the Top 10 reasons why to use iPaaS:
- Simple maintenance: many of iPaaS solutions are low code.
- Time to deploy: reduced compared to previous ESB (on premise middleware).
- Organized data: all integration workflows in one place.
- Improved communication: one platforms means single source of truth.
- Single solution: smaller maintenance costs.
- Real time processing.
- Increase efficiency: reduced data loss and inconsistencies by creating.
- Elasticity and multi-tenancy (previous on-premise middleware were mostly single-tenant).
- Security: risks assessment and security procedures in place.
Security is one of the hottest topics when talking about Integration platforms or cloud. iPaaS is a cloud service, therefore security risk is present. Thus, companies that want to have less risks (because of their activity domain e.g. Military, Government, etc) can either choose Private Cloud iPaaS or simply buy on premise middleware apps.
Like for any other (large) IT application, the implementation of an iPaaS is not always very simple. Therefore, in order to have the full picture, it’s important to understand also the challenges when implementing an integration platform:
- Control of the application integration is in the hands of the vendor. Therefore some companies still prefer to manage their own on-premise Integration platforms.
- Choosing the right iPaaS can be difficult. Decision should be made after thorough analysis, considering complexity of the business needs, costs of the implementation, serviceability.
- Customization is not present at all iPaaS platforms.
We talked about iPaaS in general, now it’s also time to understand who is delivering this service. Given the rise of market share, along with traditional players like SAP, new vendors appeared on the market, e.g. Boomi.
The grouping of iPaaS solutions on the market can be done from multiple perspectives:
- From vendor perspective:
- Traditional integration vendors: Tibco, Informatica, SAP, IBM.
- Pure Cloud vendors: Azure, Boomi, Mulesoft.
- From targeted customer perspective:
- Private user/small integration platform.
- Domain specific: e.g. B2B or EDI (global E-Invoicing solutions).
- Cloud Integration.
- ESB: large integration providers can also handle very complex integrations. Also, they (or their partners e.g. Cegeka) can offer consulting services to build custom solutions.
See you in our next episode about iPaaS, when we will be discussing about future trends within Application Integration Services. You can read the next episode here >> Future trends for iPaaS