Cloud computing has completely changed the landscape of the IT industry. Cloud technology’s accessibility and ease of use have turned it into a booming industry. But the rise of the cloud, coupled with competing technologies like APIs and EDI software, has brought on new challenges to companies as well. Combining on-premise applications, cloud software solutions and social platforms makes the integration process much more complicated. This has many companies turning to iPaaS vendors (or integration platform as a service).
But before we discuss the top iPaaS companies, let’s go over the definition of integration platform as a service, its key features and benefits.
Table of Contents:
What is iPaaS?
As an increasingly popular cloud-based integration solution, iPaaS provides businesses with an effective way to integrate different cloud-based services with each other and with legacy on-premise solutions. IPaaS companies help integrate systems, applications, data and processes. For instance, if you use EDI but are looking to adopt an API, iPaaS can help integrate the two technologies, allowing for smooth B2B communication. More generally, iPaaS will enable you to easily adapt to new technology while reducing or eliminating system silos.
The reason why iPaaS is gaining traction is that it solves a lot of common problems that arise when trying to integrate multiple cloud-based systems. It serves as an adapter for developers that can help with flow management, integration of applications and much more.
As a next-generation solution that helps integrate cloud-based software solutions with each other, as well as with on-premise applications, the effectiveness of iPaaS has allowed it to outperform many of the more traditional forms of middleware.
While we’d all like to move away from our clunky, old and ineffective systems right away, it’s not possible to make the switch overnight without drastically affecting your business. Because of this, there’s a big demand for solutions that can help integrate older systems with newer architecture. The shift from on-premise solutions to a hybrid model, where on-premise and cloud solutions work together, is already happening. While it’s only starting, the process is unavoidable for all organizations, so it’s better to start now and reap the benefits sooner.
Key Features of iPaaS
While iPaaS solutions can be very effective in making the integration process more seamless, finding the right solution still requires you to identify the most important features that must be present in a platform.
To help make that process easier, here are a few key features that are an important part of a comprehensive iPaaS solution:
One of the biggest reasons companies turn to iPaaS solutions is to manage their B2B data exchange processes. In our recent EDI trends article, many of the experts we spoke to predicted a move towards API and away from EDI technology. But because EDI and API aren’t directly compatible, iPaaS vendors would integrate the two on the backend, allowing businesses to use both technologies until enough of the industry has moved to API.
Many comprehensive iPaaS solutions come with API management functionality, which is becoming a very important part of quickly accessing and sharing real-time data. With API management, companies can have a single platform for managing all of the APIs with convenient scaling possibilities. This provides complete control of the creation, deployment and management of APIs, allowing for a much quicker way to add new functions as they become necessary.
But while iPaaS does show great potential for API management, there are still areas where integration platform as a service solutions are lacking. This is especially true when talking about more advanced API management capabilities, such as a developer portal or analytics.
While this functionality is already being added to some iPaaS solutions, particularly those specializing in B2B data exchange, it may take a while until iPaaS can completely take over the role of API lifecycle management.
Electronic data interchange, or EDI, is a popular solution for system-to-system exchange of documents that’s been a long-time industry standard for transferring document data. But, as mentioned earlier, iPaaS is quickly changing the way in which businesses connect data flows between cloud and on-premise processes, making the entire process a lot quicker and easier.
While EDI is still widely used as an effective method to transfer data such as orders or invoices between businesses, iPaaS provides the same functions without the need to install and maintain on-premise software.
Not all of today’s iPaaS solutions have EDI gateway functionality, but those that do can act as a complete, cloud-based EDI solution that offers features such as data transfers, workflow configuration, transaction monitoring and much more. With iPaaS, it’s possible to track all EDI communications between businesses, allowing you to see the status of all the documents that are exchanged, so you can quickly resend the ones that failed delivery.
The ability to manage integrations from a centralized location is essential in order to make the process as simple as possible. An iPaaS vendor can help you gain a single view of all your integrations from a user-friendly, web-based console.
This allows you to effectively create, monitor and manage integrations across the organization, which helps you quickly connect almost any tool. With this ability, you’re able to quickly scale and develop whenever needed.
IPaaS vendors also provide real-time data connections between all applications, which is absolutely essential for decision-makers at the organization. Having all the information available in real time allows you to have the full view of the company’s operations, enabling executives to make informed and more accurate decisions.
What’s more, with an iPaaS solution, it’s possible to go beyond just the connection of data. It also permits advanced customization of how different systems communicate with each other, so you have complete control over the entire integration process.
This is very important for companies that want to ensure that their data is always secure. Manual data transfers pose many risks of the information getting lost or stolen, but with integration platform as a software solutions, it’s easy to account for all the data that’s transferred.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of iPaaS solutions:
Greater Efficiency and Productivity
The most prominent benefit of iPaaS is that it helps seamlessly connect different software applications and synchronize data. This way, your team isn’t constantly switching between systems to find the information they need. Instead, all data can be accessed from a more centralized location. IPaaS allows users to stay focused for longer during a task and provides much better visibility of your business operations through comprehensive reports.
The increased efficiency in retrieving information not only helps out your staff, but is also very useful to company leaders when they need to make important choices.
Improved Decision Making
In the fast-paced business world, decision-makers need to be able to react to changes at a moment’s notice, and every wrong decision can have huge consequences. That’s why it’s so important to have as much information as possible in order to make the right call in every situation.
Because iPaaS can significantly reduce the gap between data entry and business intelligence, organizations have the opportunity to track real-time data about their operations and make judgments that are as accurate as possible.
Since iPaaS solutions operate on the cloud, data can be accessed from multiple devices and from any location. This kind of access means that the time it takes to find relevant information is cut down dramatically, providing an edge when it’s needed the most.
According to a 2014 Eurostat report, 57 percent of large organizations and 38 percent of SMBs attribute risks of a security breach as the biggest reason for limiting the use of cloud computing services. With the help of comprehensive iPaaS solutions, the risk of data breaches can be greatly reduced. It offers essential security features such as real-time intruder alerts and fraud detection, as well as easily accessible reports.
Another reason why security is improved with iPaaS is that the solution is regularly updated, which ensures that the latest features and security measures are always in place to offer maximum protection. There are also proven and tested security protocols for employees that are granted access to the system, which ensure that only authorized personnel can access it and make changes.
Top Four iPaaS Vendors
Since iPaaS is quickly gaining traction, new solutions are becoming available every day. But to make your selection process easier, here are a few of the best iPaaS software providers that have already proven to be both reliable and effective:
Jitterbit is a data and application integration suite that’s gaining recognition as one of the leading iPaaS solutions out there. The system provides a cost-effective and user-friendly way to create and manage a wide range of integrations.
With the help of Jitterbit, connecting all kinds of different cloud-based, software-as-a-service and on-premise applications is much easier thanks to its easy-to-use API creation technology that helps bring legacy systems back to life. The iPaaS solution can easily handle even complex, large-scale integrations within big organizations, making it much easier for developers to connect multiple systems with the help of Jitterbit Enterprise MX 3.0, which leverages industry standard protocols as well as open source code.
The software’s user management supports a multi-user environment that provides seamless collaboration when larger teams are working on a project. This allows you to greatly increase the efficiency of the project because it’s easy to communicate what needs to be done, avoiding confusion.
CloudHub by MuleSoft is one of the most popular iPaaS solutions available. It was designed specifically to fit the needs of enterprises that need to take advantage of the benefits of cloud-based applications, while securely connecting them with on-premise systems.
MuleSoft is perfect for companies that aren’t yet ready to fully commit to the cloud but want to start reaping the benefits that it has to offer today. With MuleSoft’s Mule ESB, companies can use a reliable and proven on-premise solution before painlessly transitioning to MuleSoft’s exclusively cloud-based CloudHub when they’re ready.
Mule ESB is one of the most popular open-source ESB solutions with a robust list of features, allowing you to bridge applications together — whether on-premise or on the cloud — which makes the entire process much simpler.
Dell introduced the first iPaaS in 2008, and since then, has continued to deliver excellent integration capabilities. Boomi is made up of five different applications, known as Integrate, Hub, Exchange, Mediate and Flow.
Integrate works to connect your applications and their data to reduce the silos created by separate programs. Integrate supports numerous popular systems such as Oracle, SAP, Workday, NetSuite, Shopify and more. Hub, as you might guess, provides a centralized location through which users can access company data. Exchange manages B2B and EDI communications, Mediate focuses on APIs and Flow helps with workflow automation and app development.
Boomi boasts having “the industry’s best uptime,” this iPaaS vendor emphasizes client trust when dealing with issues like compliance and security. To meet their own praises, Boomi offers scalable solutions, parent and child accounts for multiple levels of business, user roles, process libraries and more.
Last, but not least, we have Informatica’s iPaaS solution. Like Boomi, Informatica is modular and offers eight different cloud services which make up their larger platform. First, Informatica can integrate your data to create sophisticated and comprehensive analytical reports. This solution supports data of high volumes, can reformat data to make it compatible with other data and allows users to customize their data integration projects.
Informatica also allows users to create and manage APIs, in addition to managing EDI messages. This iPaaS vendor provides several data protection strategies as well to ensure your company’s data is as safe as it would be on-premise.
IPaaS solutions are a great resource when it comes to translating EDI into different data formats. But not every iPaaS solution contains the same functionality, and as such, will not perform the same for your business. It’s important to compare several solutions and their features to fully understand which system is best for you.
What do you think of our iPaaS comparison? Are there any iPaaS providers that we left out? Let us know by leaving a comment below!