If last year introduced the reality of a new normal, 2021 is the year to adapt and thrive – to grow revenue and make profits. In fact, some organizations quickly pivoted and are already winning. How? They modernized their analytics and applications in the cloud and built an agile data platform that lets employees excel during a mission-critical time.
Fittingly, a recent Harvard Business Review article called modernization an effective path to digital and business transformation. And, as organizations are modernizing in the cloud, they are turning to cloud-native, integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions.
New to iPaaS? Here’s a quick overview.
Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud-native services that enables organizations to perform cloud-native data integration, application and API integration and data management via private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud. These services include: data integration, application and API integration, data quality, data governance, and master data management. In the next section, we’ll talk about what each of these cloud-native services means and how it enables your organization.
Companies often use iPaaS to integrate data from different sources for analytics (e.g., applications, data warehouse sources). iPaaS also connects and exchanges common data between and among applications. For example, a business may use the same source data within its enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems.
Using iPaaS, organizations can answer questions like:
iPaaS use case #1: Data integration
This suite of cloud-native integration services enables you to ingest and integrate data. Specifically, you can extract, load, transform (ELT) or extract, transform, load (ETL) data from different sources to targets. These services are needed if you want to build data pipelines for populating your data lakes or data warehouses. Many of the analytics and data science that you build today are on top of a data warehouse or a data lake.
iPaaS use case #2: Data quality
Bad data can lead to poor or just plain awful decisions, especially during this transition time. Make sure your data, regardless of its volume or type, is of the highest quality. Whether you’re populating a data warehouse, data lake or using it as is. The cloud-native data quality service helps you get accurate analytics, make better decisions and improve customer experience.
iPaaS use case #3: Application and API integration
As you digitize your business, you modernize existing applications and invest in new applications. For example, many retail companies whose business was based on brick-and-mortar stores had to quickly pivot to online shopping. This required them to invest in new applications for payment processing, shipping, etc. Importantly, these applications had to talk and exchange data with each other for online shopping to be considered successful. Cloud-native application and API integration enable you to modernize apps, connect them and exchange data in real time.
iPaaS use case #4: Data governance and privacy
If your business wants to improve customer experience and deliver consistent, trusted results across the organization, you need a strong data governance foundation. As more and more people across the world go digital, data governance and privacy are all the more essential.
iPaaS use case #5: Master data management
With the pandemic, there were big shifts in consumer behavior. Organizations needed to understand their customers, the kind of products they bought and how these consumers engaged with them. Master data management helps you manage all your data – everything from customer to product to reference data – providing 360-degree insights into connections, interactions and relationships.
Time after time we see siloed data and applications prevent organizations from achieving key business objectives. As an organization’s landscape becomes increasingly complex and digital – spreading across multiple clouds and on-premises – this problem is only exacerbated.
iPaaS provides scale, cost and elasticity benefits that accelerate business agility. You can scale services on-demand to support fluctuating workloads and changing demands – without worrying about infrastructure costs or maintenance.
Employees are working from home, consumers are shopping online, supply chains are readjusting – this is the new norm. Will we go back to the old way? I don’t think so.
In today’s multi-cloud world, data-driven organizations need a robust iPaaS that can support any type of user, data and integration pattern for maximum flexibility and scalability. iPaaS has expanded beyond a simple integration service to a wide range of data management services, including data quality, governance and master data management, driven by AI/ML.
I anticipate continuous innovation in iPaaS, with many services becoming more autonomous, automated and intelligent.
For the above to succeed, it is important to instill a data-driven culture in your organization. The pandemic has compelled many companies to leverage data to adapt and thrive. Now is the time to make data pervasive across your organization. Make the right tools available to the right users – so they can make the right decisions.
I hope the above has provided some helpful inspiration. And, if you have a story to tell about how data empowered your organization to pivot and grow, please drop me a note on LinkedIn.