An out-of-the-box technology or software solution can provide many benefits, but many companies find that the platform simply doesn’t meet all of their needs in a complete or efficient manner. Often, companies and organizations will use a smattering of service offerings to provide their team with the tools and resources that they need to get the job done. Additionally, business needs are constantly shifting and expanding. Companies need technologies and software solutions that are adaptive, responsive, scalable and easy to use. Over time, this assortment of applications can become difficult to manage and data flow across these platforms offers additional challenges. That’s where iPaaS solutions enter the frame.
What is iPaaS?
iPaaS stands for Integration Platform as a Service. Gartner defines iPaas as the following:
“Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.”
All that is to say, iPaaS helps businesses to link their applications with disparate data sources.
Take, for example, a company that is seeking greater oversight of its sales and operations. Using an iPaaS solution, they may choose to link their ERP platform, their CRM system, their marketing software, SaaS solutions or other enterprise software. Any combination of these platforms would allow them to exchange and analyze data and compound the benefits of the individual solutions. Having a common access point to company data allows businesses to analyze their data in new ways, gleaning insights that can inform their business decisions.
What are the Benefits of iPaaS?
When a business spreads their resources too thin across too many platforms, it can cause inefficiencies and even a waste of resources. Employees may spend lots of time hunting down the data that they need. This drain on time and resources can be costly for your business.
Instead, by integrating your applications and data sources, you retain the benefits of each while also enjoying the benefit of a unified software solution. iPaaS solutions facilitate this integration so that businesses do not have to undergo the process manually. Like other “as-a-service” solutions, iPaaS solutions are generally offered as a subscription package, linking your business tools and data repositories and offloading ongoing maintenance and updates.
How are iPaaS Solutions Used for Data Integration?
Data integration involves consolidating data from different sources, often linking the data sources themselves. This unified view of a company’s data is helpful for analytics, metrics panels and reporting.
Integration platforms as a service are deployed and utilized in a cloud environment, but they can link both on-premises and cloud-based data sources. This makes them ideal for data integration. Not only that, but after your applications and data sources are linked, your iPaaS solutions can act as a hub where you can manage your data and processes.
For a successful data integration, you must first establish what you would like the finished integration to look like. When creating a data integration strategy, consider:
- What data would you like to integrate? Additionally, it can be beneficial to define the purposes for which you will be using this data. Once you have established your goals, you can then back up to consider what data sources will require integration.
- Where is this data stored? Identifying file locations will allow you to map the overall integration.
- What will your data flow look like? Consider how data moves through different systems and platforms. For instance, a POS system may send updates to an inventory database, which, in turn, generates a restock request with the eCommerce company’s suppliers. Understanding your data flow before attempting integration will help you maximize your chances of success.
Custom Software Development and iPaaS
As the name implies, iPaaS solutions provide businesses with a platform to integrate their business applications. There are many iPaaS vendors available to choose from, with a range of prices and subscription offerings.
For businesses that would like to create their own solutions, 7T offers custom software development services to unify your business systems. Whether you choose an iPaaS solution or opt to develop a custom enterprise software platform, you can thank APIs for the ability to allow for communication — and thus, integration — amongst internal and external resources and tools.
The benefit of a custom software solution is that you can develop a custom ERP platform or a bespoke CRM system while still benefiting from the integration that an iPaaS solution provides. If you are interested in leveraging a common data source, 7T is a certified Snowflake Service Partner, offering cloud hosting, cloud data solutions and cloud integrations to help businesses experience digital transformation. To make the most of your data, connect with the team at 7T today.