Many teams across your organization work with numerous programs, systems and services that send and receive data between them. Yet, sending data can be a challenge if these same applications can’t directly communicate with one another. To solve this problem, you might want to facilitate the process of transferring your data between these systems manually.
However, doing so can lead to operational delays, software bugs, or even data loss. In other words, costly consequences that no business wants. Then, there must be a solution to integrating your applications and benefiting from seamless operations across your entire organization, right? This is where iPaaS comes in.
What does iPaaS stand for? — iPaaS meaning
IPaaS stands for Integration Platform as a Service. An iPaaS company is a centralized, cloud-based platform that integrates different services and enables smooth data flows between them.
IPaaS companies are a part of a bigger group, referred to as PaaS (Platform as a Service).
The purpose of Integration platform as a service (iPaaS)
Businesses use hundreds of services and applications for their daily operations. Each system has its own specific role and, together, they form different processes happening inside a company.
For a process to run efficiently, systems need to integrate with each other and transfer data in either direction in an automated manner.
Although more and more SaaS tools are built with integrations in mind, it’s still a challenge to form mutual connections. Often, engineering teams need to delve into respective APIs and set up custom integrations to bridge the gaps, this takes time and requires regular maintenance.
Things get even tougher if a business works with both cloud-based and on-premises systems that were not built with mutual integration in mind. Frequently, they’re left to do lots of manual work, wasting once again their precious resources.
To address these challenges, the concept of an iPaaS emerged, opening up opportunities for easy, streamlined integration between different systems.
What is iPaaS? — A simple example
Let’s say your work teams face the challenge of sharing data more efficiently. Your marketing team may need to use numerous applications such as Teams for meetings, Canva to design campaigns, Dropbox to share documents, etc.
If your marketing personnel needs to search for these applications on their disparate systems, this can slow down their workflow. Even worse, not having these applications connected on one platform can make real-time data processing practically impossible.
Using iPaaS your marketing team can connect all their applications (Teams, Canva etc.), databases, systems and other endpoints in order to gain a holistic solution for their data management.
They can now exchange information faster by using one platform of applications and services that can deliver data in real time.
Benefits of iPaaS
iPaas presents numerous benefits for your business, which include but are not limited to:
- Removal of data silos — iPaaS allows teams to retrieve data easily, owing to greater data accessibility. For example, data generated by your sales team in a CRM can be sent to the product management team on Trello using platform-specific requirements. This means that your data is no longer isolated by department and is accessible to all stakeholders.
- Empowerment and Satisfaction — iPaaS solutions can provide exceptional end-user experience, especially for those who are not exactly tech-savvy. For example, solutions like Dell Boomi allow users to create custom application interactions with a drag and drop interface. This means that no coding experience is required. So, giving users the power to work independently without concerning themselves with underlying technicalities.
- Time Efficiency — iPaaS gives you the ability to save time on system maintenance and monitoring for dozens of connections. You also save time on building hundreds of integrations from scratch. In the case of Azure logic apps, for example, your apps are already synced and any changes in API design, including security threats are monitored by Azure.
The features of an iPaas solution can differ between tools due to vendor-specific development. However, in general some tools can include:
- Enhanced security and connectivity — Bridging your social media accounts, databases and documents. It enables you to do business in a secure manner using standard security protocols, and channels, which can help to ward off any threats lurking on your system.
- Application monitoring — Giving you the ability to trigger warnings or notifications based on performance optimization or data delivery.
- API management — This allows you to send and receive your live data instantaneously within your platform. Numerous API life cycles can be designed and created intuitively based on platform requirements.
So where can one locate these iPaaS solutions and how do they work exactly? Well, some of the biggest players in the industry include:
- Microsoft Azure Logic apps — This cloud-based platform gives users the ability to create and run automated workflows which sync their systems, data and applications. It increases performance by delivering real-time data solutions for businesses. It provides high-scalability and works best in the B2B industry.
- Zapier — Zapier provides workflow automation by supporting thousands of the most popular applications on the web today (Spotify, Slack, Gmail, etc). It is a platform that is lightweight and easy to use, giving users the ability to perform actions that allow diverse applications to talk to each other.
- IBM cloud integration solutions — This platform gives users the ability to connect multiple cloud applications with ease. It also provides features that can assist in updating, creating and integrating new applications.
- Another iPaaS integration tool to introduce here is Coupler.io. With Coupler.io users can integrate their data with Google Sheets, Google BigQuery, Microsoft Excel and more.
Coupler.io is a lightweight cloud-based tool that provides real-time data processing and automatic scheduling. Data is integrated instantaneously from several applications supported by Coupler.io, and users are able to automate when they would like their data to be collected and sent.
Synchronizing several applications in this way can be beneficial for cross-functional teams that need a simple, straightforward way of both ingesting and sending data efficiently and affordably, without the unwanted overhead.
iPaaS use cases
It is not surprising that iPaas solutions like Coupler.io can support the following use cases:
- Platform integration: Connect multiple platforms whether they are cloud-based or on-premise.
- Data integration: Integrate different data types like text, numbers and charts on the go.
- Data analytics: Send data reliably to and from accounting and reporting applications and create dashboards for data analysis.
- B2B integration: Give business associates the power they need to collaborate securely by managing data exchange through iPaaS without having to use custom-built integrations and APIs.
iPaaS pros and cons
iPaaS solutions can offer many advantages, but they are also not without flaws. Here are the most common ones:
- Cost-effectiveness: Implementing an iPaaS solution for your siloed applications can be more cost effective (especially in the long-run) than outsourcing software engineers to develop integration solutions each time you start using a new app.
- Customization: Many iPaaS solutions support hundreds or even thousands of different applications that can be connected together with little to no effort from the end user. Therefore, you can easily choose the apps that work best for you and not the other way around.
- Agile Teams: As remote work becomes more widespread so is the need to easily generate, as well as share resources among employees. Work teams can now facilitate these activities through drag and drop features or even event triggers, automating their operations at a faster rate.
- Compliance: Data protection is a crucial activity for all businesses, especially when operating on the Cloud. iPaaS helps you secure who gets access to your data and supports GDPR, HIPAA, and other regulatory compliance mandates.
- Application support: Regardless of programming language or transport protocol requirements, iPaaS can transform your data depending on its end-point destination. This can guarantee smooth operations across various departments and programs.
- May not suit all business needs: Your chosen iPaaS suite of programs might not suit all your business requirements. Depending on your market niche, you may need a custom-built solution.
- Multitude of vendor options: With a sea of competing products available, choosing the best solution for your organization can become difficult.
- Less focus on security management: Ease of data management, coherent interactions between applications and enhanced security compliance can leave management with a false assumption that they no longer need security teams to analyze, update or maintain the security of these integrated components.
iPaaS best practices
iPaas can bring an organization rewarding advantages. But perhaps the real advantage comes from how your team enforces the appropriate best practices while using your chosen solution. These best practices can help in maintaining your platform and ensure that it remains practical with continuous use.
- Periodic monitoring: Review software application performance periodically, ensuring that data is being used as desired. Implementing an iPaaS solution means that you should ensure performance benchmarks are being met and what you pay for, is what you get.
- Make resourceful use of your iPaaS solution: Check whether your iPaaS falls short in certain areas. Incorporating other available cloud solutions or creating a custom solution might be necessary to fill the gap.
- Security is a process, not a product: Security analysts as well as administrators should stay vigilant, monitor their iPaaS suite, and ascertain that employees use it correctly. They should also watch out for any security breaches that can compromise the system.
Why do you need iPaaS?
Well, with all these good practices in mind, iPaaS can surely help keep your organization on the right track. It combines functionalities for faster processing and scalability, boosts organizational productivity, improves cross-departmental collaboration, and last but certainly not least, helps your organization standardize its many working components into one harmonious unit.
One way to go about it is by bringing the data from your favorite apps into a spreadsheet or a dataset. If you haven’t already, create a Coupler.io account and see how easy it is to automatically pull your data on a chosen schedule.Back to Blog