What Is iPaaS?
Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is one of the best platforms on the market today. When you use multiple software as a service applications for your company's work, you'll likely want to connect them all into a single platform. iPaaS solutions allow you to do that, helping you enhance your company's data flow and receive the many advantages that come with it.
Learn more about what iPaaS means and how it can benefit your business. You might also be interested in how it's different from other popular solutions and some best practices for integrating it into your operations.
In the simplest terms, iPaaS is a cloud-based solution designed to link all your SaaS apps. When companies use this solution, it acts as a connector, allowing multiple systems to communicate seamlessly. After implementing an iPaaS solution, you can more easily share data and integrate various apps on one platform.
Companies rely on iPaaS as a cloud solutions suite, helping them create, execute and govern many different integration scenarios. Some of the leading ones include applications, processes, systems, data, IoT, B2B and service-oriented architecture. As a platform, it can connect an almost limitless combination of cloud applications or on-premise systems for a single organization or several.
Due to iPaaS' incredible functionality and cloud integration, it serves as a hybrid integration platform. When a company has this solution in its corner, it'll have the versatility to perform application integration with many trading partners.
Why Use an iPaaS?
If you're interested in integrating many different applications with iPaaS, you may want to know more about the many benefits it can provide to your company. When you use iPaaS solutions, you can receive several advantages. Some of these enable you to deliver a better customer experience, streamline company communication and eliminate data silos.
Learn more about the top eight iPaaS benefits below.
1. Improved Communication
Since an iPaaS solution keeps all your data in a single place, you can significantly improve communication across your company. All your data will pass through a single ecosystem, making it so everyone on your team can see critical messages and stay on the same page. By having information about contact data, tasks and projects in one place, your team can more easily spot issues and provide input on solutions.
2. Better Customer Experience
Customers want consistency when they interact with various departments in your company. iPaaS allows your company to provide that quality, as all your departments can easily access information about customers and any of their previous interactions with other staff members.
Since you can sync various tools to your CRM, such as phone apps, support software and ticketing tools, your team can view a customer's entire data trail. Additionally, you can use customer touchpoint data to better automate processes and craft more personalized workflows.
3. Better Data Analysis
When you use iPaaS solutions, your business will have all its data in a single location. You can also create rules for your data's access and organization. The greater control iPaaS solutions give you over your data allows you to easily interpret information from various systems. Due to this ability to centralize data and quickly access it, your business can improve its data analysis, gaining vital insights about your business and customers.
4. Easily Scalable
When you use iPaaS, you can grow your company and add new tools for your team to keep up with that growth. With iPaaS in your corner, your team can easily migrate apps or bring in solutions as you scale. Since iPaaS allows you to easily sync relevant data to new apps and tools, you can quickly get everything up and running without having to do any manual updates.
5. Easier Centralized Integrations
With iPaaS, your team receives a single way to manage every connection and tool on its platform. Due to this centralized integration, you don't have to worry about dedicating a team or an individual to managing different integrations, leading to inefficiencies and mistakes. Instead, your team can access and manage all your connections from one console.
6. Greater App Power
When you have all your apps integrated into an iPaaS solution, you get more power from each of them. For example, with all your apps integrated into your stack, you can use trigger-action automation to customize how they work with one another and streamline various processes. Using two-way application integrations for contact syncing can also help all your apps have increased data. This extra data directly translates into better results.
7. No Data Silos
When a company uses a lot of third-party integrations, they often run into data silos. The more integrations they add, the more likely it is that their team has difficulty accessing critical information or seeing needed insights. Since iPaaS keeps all your integrations in one platform, you don't have to worry about data silos. Essentially, iPaaS helps your company become more transparent, giving all your team the ability to quickly access crucial insights and data.
8. More Security
When you use iPaaS solutions to centralize your integrations, you'll have a more comprehensive view of your data and apps, allowing you to spot data mismanagement and errors. As a result, you can increase your compliance with various standards. Additionally, iPaaS solutions come with intruder alerts and fraud detection.
Due to the centralized platform, you can quickly take action on any compliance or threats. Since you'll know the origin of threats, you can take appropriate steps to neutralize them. You'll also solve regulation compliance issues faster, as you can adjust processes on a single platform, with the changes applying to all your tools.
iPaaS vs. PaaS
As you consider using iPaaS solutions, you might wonder if platform as a service is the same. While these terms are similar, they're very different from one another, with various PaaS and iPaaS pros and cons making them more suitable for specific businesses.
PaaS refers to a platform where a provider houses essential development elements and allows users to access them. Some primary examples include servers, an operating system, a database and memory. Essentially, PaaS providers give developers generic tools to help them create apps. PaaS merchants also offer developers data management solutions, business analytics and storage options. Many developers enjoy PaaS, since it gives them a toolbox to work with instead of creating from-scratch solutions to craft new apps.
You can see a significant difference between iPaaS and PaaS in the applications they offer. When you use PaaS solutions, you'll often only be able to use applications native to the platform. In contrast, iPaaS connects various applications created by different merchants. Additionally, iPaaS merchants often offer many features like PaaS, but these features are solely for integration.
Generally, medium-sized businesses with a team of developers work with a PaaS merchant, while smaller companies work with iPaaS merchants. Since businesses need a developer team to properly use PaaS, larger companies with the money to create a full development team often have an enhanced ability to use PaaS.
In contrast, most iPaaS tools don't require users to have any coding experience to use them and integrate them into a single platform. Many small businesses enjoy iPaaS for its accessibility, helping them keep their expenses lower by not needing to hire developers.
iPaaS vs. ESB
Another solution you might run across when considering using an iPaaS is electronic service bus. ESB is a middleware tool, often considered to be iPaaS' predecessor. It functions much like an iPaaS solution, as it bridges applications. Unlike iPaaS' sole function of integration, ESB's primary function is to distribute and integrate messages and data.
Since ESBs are older and came about before cloud integration, they're on-premise solutions, and companies commonly use them for legacy systems. Though they work on premises, ESBs can still integrate with some cloud applications. However, the connection isn't usually very viable. In contrast, since iPaaS solutions are cloud-based, they can easily integrate with other cloud applications.
Another notable difference between iPaaS and ESB is scalability. Due to an ESB working on-premise, companies can find it challenging to scale quickly with it. Adding a new application to an ESB can take months, meaning scaling takes much longer. iPaaS ensures you can scale faster by allowing you to integrate new applications quickly and create connections between apps without any restrictions.
In addition to their differences in scalability, they're also very distinct in terms of multitenancy. Software with multitenancy capabilities means many separate users can access the same piece of software simultaneously. ESB is much more restricted with its multitenancy. It needs hardware to operate, making it much harder for an ESB to guarantee multitenancy. Unlike ESB, iPaaS works with the cloud, making multitenancy a widespread feature.
iPaaS Integration Best Practices
With all the advantages of using iPaaS and its enhanced capabilities compared with PaaS or ESB, you may want to use it in your organization. As you attempt to enhance your company's data flow with iPaaS, check out these best practices for successful iPaaS integrating below.
- Establish your goals: Before selecting a solution, take a moment to figure out what goals you want to meet with data integration. Some companies may wish to receive a broader understanding of their customers by integrating data from various applications. Other organizations might focus on getting a clearer view of their business by integrating business data. When you know your goals, you can maximize your platform by using it more efficiently.
- Decide the data to integrate: After you've established your goals, you should have a better understanding of the type of data you need to integrate. Since some iPaaS solutions only organize specific types of data, you'll want to check if a platform can handle the data you're using.
- Figure out the data flow: Another key consideration is deciding how you want your data to flow. You might be interested in two-way, real-time synchronization, or you could want trigger-action, one-way data pushes. By knowing your ideal data flow, you can select an iPaaS solution able to facilitate it.
- Determine data storage: As you look for the applications and data you'll want to integrate into an iPaaS solution, you can set yourself up for success by finding the source of the data you want to integrate. All you'll need to is find out which applications are collecting the data you want to collect. After finding them, you can coordinate these apps with your iPaaS solution to ensure you always have the most accurate data.
- Evaluate your app stack: As you plan to integrate your data and apps into an iPaaS solution, take a moment to evaluate your app stack. You might find that you don't need specific apps anymore, or that a new feature you're using from another app removes the need for an older, separate app. By evaluating your app stack, you can only take what you need to your new platform, simplifying your tools as a result.
- Schedule setup time: When you first integrate your data and tools into your new iPaaS solution, it's wise to set aside some time to set everything up. In your scheduled setup time, you can figure where your data should flow and the apps you'll need. Next, you'll perform your integrations, ensuring everything has synced to the right locations. This setup time can help you correct any mistakes and have everything running smoothly before you start working with clients or roll the solution out to your team.
- Work with the right iPaaS solution: You can find lots of iPaaS solutions on the market today. At ConnectPointz, we regularly stand out from other platforms, as we give users a vast ecosystem of e-commerce-focused systems and applications to use when selling products online. Additionally, we prize flexibility, meaning we can provide you with a highly customized and complete solution for your business.
Turn to ConnectPointz for Your iPaaS Needs
When you're searching for an iPaaS solution to centralize your data, look no further than ConnectPointz. Our platform allows for seamless integration with 3PLs, warehouse management systems, trading partners, marketplaces and merchants. When you partner with us, you'll also receive an omnichannel, fully automated experience designed to help you streamline processes and keep an eye on any potential inefficiencies. Additionally, you can use our platform to integrate client data from various channels into one location, meaning your team will always be aware of a client's needs.