What is iPaaS?

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a hosted service offering in which a third-party provider delivers infrastructure and middleware to manage, develop and integrate data and applications. Think of iPaaS as a cloud-friendly alternative to traditional forms of data integration. It can bring together on-premises and cloud-based applications and data. This creates a single source of trusted data with less effort and expense.

iPaaS advantages bring you a fully managed service with continuous, automatic system updates in the cloud. Eliminate the need for manual upgrades and software maintenance. In today's multi-cloud world, data-driven organizations need a robust iPaaS. It needs to support all users, any data and any integration pattern. It also should offer maximum flexibility and scalability.

iPaaS Adoption Drivers

Cloud is changing the way we conduct business. It’s driving the need for iPaaS as a way to bring together distributed resources and systems in an intelligent, flexible manner.

Cloud provides scale, cost and elasticity benefits that accelerate business agility. You can scale services on-demand to support fluctuating workloads and changing demands. And you don’t need to worry about infrastructure costs or maintenance. Cloud also offers policies and technologies that strengthen security. This helps protect data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats.

It’s no secret that organizations are investing in cloud computing. At the same time, they are also embracing software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Environments may now include SaaS applications such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Workday and Marketo. They can also include public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure Oracle Cloud and Google Cloud. And PaaS may be included to modernize data warehouses such as Snowflake, data lakes such as Databricks Delta Lake and analytics tools such as Tableau.

The growing challenge of cloud and multi-cloud integration

With all these services in play, you’ll need to address cloud integration and data management challenges along your cloud journey. Data is now spread across far more locations, and new data types emerge every day. Integration capabilities must extend to more data users who are not typical developers. That way you can manage and address new use cases in an agile way. This includes cloud data warehousing, application integration, partner data exchange and others.

How can you scale, store and analyze all your data, regardless of its location? You must manage cloud integration and multi-cloud environments. You need a mature integration solution with a robust framework. It should also be secure enough to support modern, sophisticated use cases. You need a next-generation, Enterprise iPaaS.

Why iPaaS?

Data integration provides greater reuse and consistency of data across the organization. iPaaS allows organizations to improve the quality of data integration with little effort. The service provider does the work of configuration, deployment and optimization.

With an iPaaS solution, there’s no concern about managing and maintaining the software. It will be fully managed with system updates in the cloud. This will address a broad range of use cases and multiple integration patterns.

A next-generation, enterprise iPaaS addresses a broad set of integration use cases. It has the necessary breadth and depth of management and connectivity capabilities. AI and machine-learning are critical to help drive automation and greater efficiency

iPaaS diagram with supporting artificial intelligence and machine learning automation features

Next generation iPaaS is supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning automation.

Evaluating iPaaS Vendors: Key Features to Look For

  • Cloud data integration: 

Automate and speed up your workloads to cloud data warehouses. This applies to out-of-the-box solution templates tailored for cloud data warehouses and lakes like Amazon Redshift and Amazon Simple Cloud Storage (S3), Azure Synapse Analytics, Google BigQuery, Oracle ADW, Snowflake and Databricks Delta Lake.

  • Cloud application integration: 

Integrate data sources in real time with intelligent business processes that span cloud and on-premises applications (e.g., Salesforce, NetSuite, Marketo, SAP).

  • Business process automation: 

Empower collaborative teams of software engineers and business technologists to automate more, reduce errors and innovate faster.

  • Partner integration and EDI:

Exchange data and electronic messages with business partners using a cloud B2B gateway.

  • Cloud integration hub: 

Streamline the data integration architecture. Replace it with a simple publish and subscribe architecture. In this model, data sources only publish data once for all subscribers. Subscribers receive the data in the format and time frame they need.

  • Cloud data quality: 

Protect data and discover data quality issues. Build and run data-quality rules to correct issues on an ongoing basis. This ensures the delivery of trusted data for decision making and key business processes.

  • Cloud master data management: 

Provide a 360-degree view of data about key business entities (e.g., customer, supplier, partner) from multiple internal and external data source systems.

  • Cloud data security: 

Identify sensitive data quickly and protect it to comply with regulations and data security policies.

  • Microservices-based architecture: 

Enable a unified user experience with a modular microservices architecture. One that’s customizable and easy to navigate.

  • Powered by machine learning and AI: 

Automate and accelerate integration and data management with artificial intelligence and machine learning recommendations.

  • Expansive use cases: 

Ensure support for new and unique integration patterns to quickly address emerging challenges.

iPaaS Examples

A well-designed, next-gen, Enterprise iPaaS has robust scalability and cloud integration capabilities. Solve your integration challenges to deliver shared, trusted and reliable data across your organization. Here are some examples:

Integrate data from multiple sources and locations

Most organizations have a growing and ever-changing number of data sources. Plus, their approaches to data and application integration can be manual, complex and siloed. This can prevent companies from developing products and services that win against competitors. An iPaaS enables you to efficiently connect hundreds of applications and data sources across on-premises and cloud. Best-of-breed integration platform services provide easy-to-use drag-and-drop interfaces that eliminate complex coding. Users can quickly build integrations (i.e., data mappings and integration flows) using the streamlined, drag-and-drop interfaces. Preconfigured templates and prebuilt mapping templates are also available.

  • iPaaS advantage:

Comprehensive data integration for leading cloud hyper-scalers and technology providers Agile analytics initiatives are key to fueling informed business decisions and fast innovation. Cloud data warehouses are a flexible and scalable option. They can be helpful when starting from scratch or for migrating and extending on-premises data warehouses to the cloud. A cloud based integration platform streamlines the process of gathering data across different sources and delivering it to the required cloud data warehouse.

  • Amazon Redshift and S3 with iPaaS:

Enterprises are leveraging integration platforms to automatically discover, catalog, integrate (cloud ETL/ELT), govern and manage trusted data on Amazon Redshift and S3. This drives analytics-based decision-making and actionable insights end-to-end at scale. Learn more about Informatica on Amazon Redshift.

  • Azure Synapse and Azure Data Lake Storage with iPaaS:

The jointly built Modern Cloud Analytics Program accelerates the migration of PowerCenter customers' on-premises data warehouse and ETL workloads to Informatica's Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) on Azure and Azure Synapse Analytics. Out-of-the-box cloud connectors enable you to rapidly unleash data from across your entire environment. You can then push it into Azure for business insights, offering a complete end-to-end business process. Learn more about Informatica for Microsoft Azure.

  • Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse and iPaaS:

In a multi-cloud, hybrid world, implementing iPaaS can help you deliver actionable insights from analytics, drive more efficiency in your processes and operate at enterprise scale. Oracle has designated Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and governance. Learn more about Informatica for Oracle Cloud.

  • Google BigQuery Enterprise Data Warehouse and iPaaS:

To fully realize the benefits of Google BigQuery enterprise data warehouse, you must load with trustworthy, integrated, relevant and timely data from all your cloud and on-premises systems. A modern iPaaS can help make the process more streamlined and efficient. Learn more about Informatica for Google BigQuery and Google Cloud.

  • Snowflake Data Cloud and iPaaS:

Be more effective at building out your data pipelines into Snowflake Data Cloud by leveraging Informatica's metadata-driven, intelligent cloud-native data integration, data quality and governance services, including iPaaS. Leverage an architecture that is built for any cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP), and works with any data — at scale to deliver data-driven insights. Learn more about Informatica for Snowflake Data Cloud.

  • Databricks and iPaaS:

End-to-end data engineering workflows for Databricks SQL with Informatica Intelligent Data Management’s full data engineering lifecycle supports everything from data ingestion to data governance, including iPaaS. Learn more about Informatica for Databricks.

Manage my APIs and improve application integration

Companies are now developing a combined application integration and data integration strategy. This considers how on-premises and cloud applications and data services co-exist. A next-gen, Enterprise iPaaS supports these efforts with API management and application integration capabilities. These range from event processing & service orchestration to business process automation.

  • iPaaS advantage: Broad application integration capabilities 

Today’s IT landscape is a complex tapestry of interrelated applications. This ranges from CRM to ERP and beyond. Organizations must bridge these applications so they can easily share data.

Unlike traditional enterprise service bus (ESB)-based solutions, a true iPaaS manages the state of orchestrations and business processes for your system-to-system interactions. It doesn’t matter if they are synchronous, asynchronous, long-running or short-running. An integration platform makes it easier to define and operate sophisticated and truly reliable business processes and integrations. This gives you a competitive advantage.

  • Salesforce integration and iPaaS 

Salesforce is a mission-critical tool for many organizations. Its feature set is expanding to cater to more users and more data sources. This creates more complexity for your data. An iPaaS helps you integrate Salesforce with other applications to better manage data complexity.

Say you need to share the opt-out information of your Salesforce leads with your marketing automation system. Aspects of your sales opportunity need to be shared with your CPQ system (configure, price, quote). It can then build and send out a proper quote to a prospect. After an opportunity is closed, you may need to know inventory information. This allows you to pull a product from the warehouse, pack it up and tag it for shipping. Your accounting system should then know when to issue your new customer an invoice to pay for this item. iPaaS enables these complex interactions between Salesforce and other systems to occur swiftly and accurately. It intelligently integrates and manages the disparate data sources and applications involved. This ensures consistent delivery of reliable data. It also gives you better insight into what information needs to be in which location at each step of a business process. And it lets you know how often it needs to be updated.

  • iPaaS advantage: API management 

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the binding agent for applications and services. API integration is rapidly growing as a pattern for integrating applications in near-real time. A modern iPaaS with API management capabilities enables you to develop, publish, manage, monitor, deprecate, and consume APIs to orchestrate business processes that span multiple clouds and on-premises systems within and outside their firewalls.

iPaaS Resources