Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) has come a long way since it emerged in the late 2000s—and it’s not losing momentum. A cloud-based solution delivered as a software service, iPaaS provides a way to manage, develop, and integrate data and applications in the cloud. (For more on iPaaS and its benefits, check out our iPaaS Advantage article.)
Evolution of iPaaS: From agile integration to digital transformation
Originally, companies primarily used iPaaS to support agile integration efforts—specifically for synchronizing data between an on-prem ERP system (such as SAP ERP) to a cloud application or SaaS (mainly Salesforce). iPaaS was used by non-IT workers, typically people on cloud application teams. Later, as the cloud became more pervasive, organizations expanded these solutions to support integration between and across many clouds and from cloud to on-premises applications. iPaaS solutions evolved to include full cloud data integration and application/API integration capabilities with dedicated connectors.
But today, IPaaS with just cloud data integration and application integration will no longer cut it.
As more organizations invest in digital transformation – using digital technology across all areas of a business to grow, operate and deliver value to customers while remaining highly competitive – iPaaS is evolving.
The cloud is a major factor in digital transformation initiatives, and many organizations that relied on in-house data centers to manage data integration and data management workloads are looking to move to the cloud for scale and flexibility. They are exploring PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure a Service) options offered by third-party vendors such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud that provide infrastructure, hardware, and/or software in a pay-as-you-go model.
However, moving to the cloud means not just modernizing and moving data centers to the cloud, but also re-architecting data warehouses and data lakes for better analytics, business agility, and reduced cost. All of that data needs to be moved, transformed, and made trustworthy. Metadata (data about data) has become even more important and powerful for delivering transparency so you can make full use of your data.
Data protection and privacy are critical as organizations move to the cloud. And to deliver customer value, you need to get a complete view of your customer, product, and other data—so master data management is key.
Will that be sufficient? How about data exchange and data integration between businesses? And what about all the people who need to get to all that data? In the past, only a handful of users beyond traditional developers wanted to work with data; now there’s a whole slew of people clamoring for data: non-IT citizen integrators, data scientists, business users, architects, and so on.
And I don’t have to mention the different types of data that today’s organizations receive. The data management challenge is 100 times greater now, with the explosion of big data and greater use of digital technologies.
So, let me ask you: with all of these changes and new needs, do you think an iPaaS with just cloud data integration and application integration will be enough to help you stay competitive?
Next-gen iPaaS: Go beyond table stakes
The next-gen iPaaS should address any data management use case for any data for all types of users for a multi-cloud, hybrid world. It should go beyond the data integration and cloud application management table stakes, building on them to address more complex data integration and connection requirements. And it should address your organization’s current needs as well as be prepared to address future demand as your business changes and grows.
Here are several must-have capabilities for a next-gen iPaaS:
- Cloud data integration so you can automate and speed up your workloads to cloud data warehouses. Look for out-of-the-box solution templates that are tailored for cloud data warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Google BigQuery, and Snowflake. In addition, your next-gen iPaaS should provide data synchronization and replication.
- Cloud application integration to integrate data sources in real time. Your next-gen iPaaS should provide this capability with intelligent business processes that span multiple cloud and on-premises applications (for example, Salesforce, NetSuite, Marketo, and SAP).
- Partner integration and EDI. Leverage a cloud B2B gateway to exchange data and electronic messages with business partners.
- Cloud integration hub to offer a simple publish and subscribe integration architecture that delivers data in the format and time required by subscribers.
- Cloud data quality to build and run data-quality rules to correct issues on an ongoing basis, ensuring the delivery of trusted data.
- Cloud master data management to provide a 360-degree view of data about key business entities (such as customer, supplier, partner) from multiple internal and external data sources.
- Cloud data security and privacy to identify sensitive data quickly and protect it to comply with regulations and data security policies.
- Machine learning, AI, and intelligent metadata (including business, technical, and operational) to enable intelligent recommendations and automation of data management tasks.
- Agility to account for expected/planned and unexpected cloud integration challenges; high scalability and large number of connectors and integration tools to allow any approved user the ability to find, access, and work with the data they need, when and where they need it.
Examples of organizations using next-gen iPaaS for their digital transformation
Here are some examples of organizations using next-gen iPaaS for their cloud journey, taking advantage of the additional next-gen capabilities and intelligence to advance their own transformations:
Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax, and advisory firms. They leverage next-gen iPaaS to quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively integrate data from legacy, on-premises data sources as well as new cloud applications. And they leverage a cloud integration hub to eliminate point-to-point integration and synchronize data across traditional applications as well as newer cloud applications to handle data proliferation across the organization. Learn more.
2-1-1 San Diego is a resource and information hub that connects people with community, health, and disaster services through a free, 24/7, stigma-free confidential phone service and searchable online database. They leverage next-gen iPaaS and cloud integration along with Informatica MDM-Customer 360 to ingest data from thousands of different partners in a variety of formats and create a single golden member record for each caller and partner. With trusted and secure data, they can break down service silos, improving data access, and reducing the cost to serve each caller. Learn more.
Shire Pharmaceuticals is a leading global biotechnology company focused on serving people affected by rare diseases and highly specialized conditions. Shire uses next-gen iPaaS to integrate and consolidate data from the company’s legacy systems onto a new, hybrid cloud data platform, called the Analytics Marketplace. The solutions were then used to migrate different tools and technologies, such as Microsoft Azure HD Insights and Click and Data Mirror self-service tools, onto the Analytics Marketplace. Learn more.
National Instruments provides high-performance automated test and measurement systems to help solve the world’s foremost engineering challenges. An important step in their transformation plan was to upgrade their existing B2B infrastructure with next-gen iPaaS to manage the increasing number of partners using EDI. This turned it into a modern, flexible, future-proof platform from which the company could interact with customers and suppliers and provide complete test and measurement engineering solutions. Learn more.
Are you ready for your digital transformation journey? Let me know! You can also get a deep-dive look at next-gen iPaaS in this Meet the Experts webinar: “How to Get the Most Out of Your AI-driven iPaaS.”