What is iPaaS?
Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a cloud-based software model for integrating data from multiple applications into a single solution. Most organizations today have multiple applications that handle various aspects of their business processes and IT operations. They must integrate data from all their applications for analytics and deeper business intelligence. With iPaaS, nontechnical users can easily integrate data from software as a service (SaaS) applications and on-premises data centers into a centralized cloud-based service. The iPaaS solution abstracts underlying data integration complexities. This means nontechnical users meet integration needs without requiring complex software development or additional middleware technologies.
What are the benefits of integration platform as a service?
Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) has become a crucial solution for businesses that rely on multiple tools and systems and also require seamless data integration. We give several benefits next.
iPaaS helps you automate workflows between systems, which streamlines operations and reduces manual processes. You get real-time data synchronization between connected systems, which helps ensure that analytics always has up-to-date information. Integrating different systems eliminates data silos and promotes a comprehensive view of business data for improved decision-making.
Speed at scale
Traditional integration is time-consuming. iPaaS platforms come with prebuilt connectors and templates that support faster deployment of complex integrations at scale. You can accommodate growing data volumes or more integrations without significant infrastructural adjustments. Companies can also integrate various systems regardless of where they are hosted—on premises, in a private cloud, or with different cloud providers.
Secure and simplified integration
iPaaS reduces the complexity traditionally associated with integration tasks. It reduces the need for in-house integration specialists or bespoke solutions.
At the same time, there is no compromise around security and quality. iPaaS providers prioritize security and offer features like data governance, encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and adherence to regulatory standards. Organizations can also manage and monitor all integrations from a centralized dashboard, which streamlines error detection and incident management.
What are the use cases for integration platform as a service?
With integration platform as a service (iPaaS), SaaS application administrators and business analysts can implement most of the integration workflows they need. And they don’t have to months for IT to finish integration projects. We give some example use cases next.
Data synchronization across applications
iPaaS helps ensure the consistency of data across different data sources and applications, so you can perform real-time operations.
For instance, with iPaaS, you could sync data from your marketing automation platform with your customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Sales, marketing, product, and fulfillment teams could then access up-to-date customer activities instantly.
iPaaS plays a pivotal role in merging the business logic of multiple applications. This integration forms broader, more beneficial workflows and procedures, which enhances the efficiency of business operations.
For example, you can create records in Salesforce from new Marketo leads. It’s useful for applications in scenarios like case management, insurance underwriting, order processing, and logistics.
iPaaS helps you transfer data from multiple sources to a new destination. There are various reasons for a business to move data. For example, you might want to transition from on-premises hosting to cloud storage, upgrade legacy systems to cloud-based systems like an ERP, or integrate data sources for cost benefits.
Process automation makes your business operations more efficient. iPaaS interconnects data and applications. And it establishes integration flows that automate specific business processes for efficiency. For example, you can use integration flows to onboard employees, sanction credit applications, or streamline order processing.
How does integration platform as a service work?
The integration platform as a service (iPaaS) provider provisions integration tooling and infrastructure, so you can share data across SaaS applications. iPaaS platforms typically provide you with a centralized dashboard or user-friendly interface. You can design, orchestrate, deploy, and manage integrations between systems from this interface.
In the iPaaS platform, you can configure and choose both your data sources (like various business applications) and destination targets (like data lakes or warehouses). Many iPaaS solutions have prebuilt connectors for popular applications and databases. You can select and configure the appropriate connector for your needs rather than build integration solutions from scratch. You have to contact the iPaaS vendor if specific business applications are not supported.
We discuss other iPaaS software capabilities next.
Many iPaaS vendors offer flexible solutions so users can build custom integrations at speed and scale—on a schedule, in response to a business event, or on demand. You can configure data transformation capabilities as part of your integration flows to generate ready-to-use data. For instance, data structures often vary between systems. iPaaS tools allow users to map data fields between systems and transform data into the appropriate format or structure needed for the target system.
You can also develop integration flows that are triggered by specific events. For example, a new record in an application triggers a specific integration action—such as creating a new record in another application. This way, users can define and create workflows between systems. These include specifying which data gets transferred, the frequency of transfer, and any conditions or filters that should be applied.
What is the difference between integration platform as a service and PaaS?
Platform as a service (PaaS) provides a platform and environment for developers to build, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. It abstracts and manages the complexities of hardware and software setup, maintenance, and scalability for application development.
Both abstract away infrastructure complexities, but integration platform as a service (iPaaS) focuses on integrating applications. Meanwhile, PaaS is more about providing a platform for developing and deploying new applications. Business analytics and data management stakeholders are the main users of iPaaS solutions, while developers are the main users of PaaS solutions.
What is the difference between integration platform as a service and other integration mechanisms?
Enterprise service buses (ESBs) and APIs are two traditional integration approaches at the enterprise level. You can compare both to integration platform as a service (iPaaS).
iPaaS vs. ESB
ESB is an integration architecture that provides a set of rules and principles for integrating numerous applications together over a bus-like infrastructure. It serves as the communication center in service-oriented architecture.
However, ESB does require developer input to create new integrations. It’s also a centralized platform that becomes more complex and challenging to manage as more integrations are added. In addition, it creates communication and performance bottlenecks.
In contrast, iPaaS is inherently distributed and supports decentralized integration. As a cloud-based integration solution, it promotes scalability and flexibility. As a fully managed cloud service, it doesn’t require developer support either.
iPaaS vs. API management
APIs are software mechanisms that two applications can use to communicate and exchange data.
While developers can use public APIs from SaaS applications to pull or push data, iPaaS helps customers save time by allowing cloud integration for everyone. With iPaaS, nontechnical users can still implement a range of common enterprise integration tasks.
iPaaS vendors provision compute, storage, and networking resources to orchestrate data flow. The iPaaS abstracts API complexities and manages tasks like API authorization and lifecycle of access tokens and API keys. It also processes data as part of the flow.
How can AWS help with your iPaaS requirements?
Amazon AppFlow is a fully managed integration service from Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can use it to securely transfer data between SaaS applications and AWS cloud services in just a few clicks.
You can seamlessly integrate SaaS applications like Salesforce with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Redshift. Amazon AppFlow can run up to 100 GB of data per flow, which helps you easily transfer millions of Salesforce records, Marketo leads, or Zendesk tickets.
You can use Amazon AppFlow for many of your business needs:
- Run data flows at the frequency you choose, whether on a schedule, in response to a business event, or on demand.
- Simplify data preparation with transformations, partitioning, and aggregation.
- Automate preparation and registration of your schema with the AWS Glue Data Catalog. This way, you can discover and share data with AWS analytics and machine learning services.
Get started with iPaaS on AWS by creating an account today.
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