Depending on organization size, businesses use anything between a few dozens to hundreds of cloud applications and tools on a daily basis. These tools solve different kinds of business problems and help in making processes easier and efficient. With so many tools being used, huge chunks of data are produced. Obviously, it is a waste of time to move this data manually from one system to another. Moreover, by the time the data is transferred manually, it is already old. Businesses need a way through which data sharing can be seamlessly automated by connecting these tools. This is where iPaaS or integration-platform-as-a-service comes in.

Though integration has been used in the IT industry for a while now, traditional methods of connecting cloud-based applications via custom development lack flexibility, are labour intensive and just can’t keep up with the growing needs of an organization. At some point, every business faces the need for an integration strategy that can holistically address the increasingly growing complexity apps through automation. This need has given rise to ipaas solutions. Now, let us have a look at what exactly is an iPaaS.

What is Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)

iPaaS is a platform or solution for building and deploying integration between the cloud and the organization as well as within the cloud. It is a suite of automated cloud-based apps and tools which can be used for connecting software apps that are deployed and running in different environments. Integration-platform-as-a-service acts as a central platform that standardised how data will flow between apps, to streamline business processes.

It is a set of cloud services that enable development, execution as well as governance of the flow of integration that’s connecting any  amalgamation of on-premise cloud based services, apps and data within a single and across multiple organizations.

Typically, iPaaS solutions provide in-built business rules, connectors, maps and transformations that enable the development of API (application programming interface) management and integration flow. Few iPaaS platforms also provide custom development kits. These kits can be used for linking the most popular and legacy apps with social and mobile apps.

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How does iPaaS work?

iPaaS solution vendors supply the data infrastructure and server, in addition to middle-ware and software tools that are needed for building, deploying, testing and managing software apps in the cloud. The software organization usually sets the parameters for the various types of connections allowed in the platform. The parameters can be in the form of APIs, connectors or other rules.

Once all rules are in place, an integration platform as a service creates a secure central ecosystem in which data, infrastructure and operations can be viewed, monitored and managed. Ultimately, this allows companies to modify their products, share data and provide cutting-edge solutions to their market.

Benefits of iPaaS solutions

One single solution

Rather than stitching together different software for different needs, users can use a single platform, iPaaS, that connects all their software and applications in one cloud which eliminates the need to deploy and source technology in separate environments.

Data organization

Organizations can access all their information in one convenient place which enables them to set rules for how this data can be accessed and organized. While the staff if working on different systems, all the systems will be able to render data in a comprehensive and easy-to-interpret way.

Better flow of communication & workflow

One platform translates to one single source of truth. Data will be shared within the same environment, therefore no crucial information gets lost and everybody gets access to the same information, which leaves no room for misinterpretation. As all software applications are available in an integrated system in iPaaS solutions, less time will be wasted in switching between applications. Ultimately, more time can be utilized in working.

Real-time data processing

Data available in these solutions are real-time, hence enable real-time data processing and sharing. This eliminates delays in access as well as provides an accessible solution.

Centralized management

Integration platform as a service creates a virtual view for monitoring and managing all software integrations across the platform. Instead of asking a team member or team to manage different integrations, all the integrations can be managed and accessed via a single console.

Improved compliance & security

In any ecosystem, security threats are inevitable, especially in cloud environments. Most iPaaS solutions have in-built fraud detection features and intruder alerts. However, the most important benefit is that a centralized solution makes it a lot easier to see where these threats are coming from and respond accordingly.

Additionally, iPaaS platforms make compliance regulation easier by simply executing changes in one single environment.

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iPaaS vs PaaS

PaaS or Platform-as-a-service refers to a cloud-based toolset which enables software developers to govern services. PaaS essentially focuses on a part of a development project, rather than an entire project or infrastructure.

This is an approach followed by developers when they’re changing or upgrading operating systems (OS), while being collaborative and not disrupting the entire system. PaaS gives app and software developers tools and hooks to develop a particular platform.

PaaS example: Windows Azure by Microsoft provides the tools required to develop social apps, websites, mobile apps, games and much more.

Meanwhile, an Integration platform as a service delivers software integration solutions that provide connectivity to files, backend systems, sources and operational apps via the implementation of well-defined web services, interfaces and calls between data sources and applications.

There are 2 schools of iPaaS solution vendors.

  • First, the older integration software companies that’ve modified their existing tools to work with cloud-based services. Informatica, IBM and TIBCO are a few examples. These companies are using their decades of experience and integrating needs of the users to create integration platforms
  • The second type of iPaaS providers are vendors that were born in the cloud age. Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, MuleSoft and SnapLogic are some examples of such organizations

As more businesses move towards cloud-centric options, iPaaS is becoming the most trusted and viable option for connecting all apps and data between third parties and an organization. These solutions also eliminate the friction associated with different kinds of systems. As organizations grow, a single source that can connect all systems used to grow businesses is a crucial step. When the systems of an organization are connected and synchronized, organizations can go way further, way faster.

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