You may have read a few articles on how to select the right data integration tool for your organization if you have been researching your options for a while. The answer to this question almost always starts as “It depends on your requirements”. And sadly, this is true. Accurately answering your questions is almost impossible without knowing your industry, what projects you need to do, how much connectivity you need, do you need to have the information in real-time, how about data management, etc.
Your integration strategy is important
Your industry, the size of the company, and the size of your business-to-business network can greatly affect your requirements. For instance, an e-commerce company needs different integration solutions than a large logistics provider that is shipping globally. The latter probably needs a more complex solution. While there are lots of integration solutions that offer ready-made adapters and plug-ins for e-commerce and retail companies, logistics firms need a lot more customization that requires them to find integration solutions that can fit into their data integration strategy and can be completely tailored.
If it all depends on your requirements, how do you find the right tool?
So far, it doesn’t sound like an easy task to go and find the best tool out there. How do you go about finding the right one for you? Our previous blog post has already given some direction on figuring out what your requirements could be or at least which ones you should include as part of your integration strategy. Once you mapped it out what your needs are and what projects you want to start with, you can start doing your own research by googling data integration tools or asking around what others have been using, what they would use, etc. Many also go to Quora to ask what would be the best tool, and a bunch of marketers will attack you, offering their integration solutions that are for sure the best for your needs. However, even when you go there to ask for it, you should provide a lot more context than that you just need a data integration tool.
Before we dig deeper into the different tools, one thing is sure: the solution needs to be reliable, automated, and secure. All other features that you need depend on your specs.
ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) – a conventional method
ETL does exactly what it promises:
- Extraction: Getting the data from a certain source
- Transform: Changing the format if necessary
- Load: Forwarding the data to the system
This solution is good for migrating data from one source to another when the data doesn’t need to be at your disposal in real time. Normally, ETL software handles the data in batches instead of in real-time. However, ETL is not a solution when you need to have more than two connections at a time. It is faster than coding integrations; however, not the most state-of-the-art integration solution.
Also, cost-wise, this is not the best solution. You need to have a server to store the data, and you pay for the ETL as a software license, plus annual maintenance and updates, so even the upfront costs can be higher than when you purchase cloud solutions.
EAI – Enterprise Application Integration
EAI enables data integration between applications within a single organization to eliminate information siloes and improve collaboration and transparency. EAI is very restrictive. Therefore, when you need to communicate with your business-to-business network, you want to avoid it.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
We have written a lot about EDI recently, and you should go on and read those articles, too. We have written about how EDI is basically a synonym for business-to-business data integration, what challenges one may face with traditional EDI, whether you can modernize your current solutions, and how you could utilize the cloud for B2B data sharing.
Traditional EDI solutions can work well on a smaller scale. However, when you have a large network, then using cloud-based EDI solutions can be a lot more efficient in terms of onboarding new connections and sharing the data in real time.
Can you benefit from using iPaaS?
iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) sounds like such a fancy term. However, it can do anything that you could code, or you could do with an ETL (and even more). The good news is that it is built in the cloud, and as you can guess, in most cases, it means cost savings.
Another cool thing is that you also don’t need to learn how to use an iPaaS (unless you want to, of course), as normally, the professional services and support teams handle the development and maintenance of your integration solutions.
The capabilities of an integration platform enable the teams to create integrations faster, more agile, completely tailored, and suitable for complex integrations and data management. The great thing about iPaaS is that any organization, regardless of the size of the industry, can utilize it due to the relatively low costs. For accessibility, most cloud-based integration platforms have a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which depends on the number of connections and APIs you need, as well as the events/messages/transactions you conduct through the platform. Obviously, the larger the volumes are, the more beneficial it is for you.
Without going too much into the technical details, it is a great tool even if you need to do point-to-point integrations and message format transformation or when you deal with thousands of connections, quite a few challenging ones (e.g., hybrid integrations or getting information from behind the firewall) and you need an adequate tool for securely manage all your data and ensure data integrity.
When should you use Youredi iPaaS?
Our specialty is to work with challenging complex data and system integration projects, which would be an uphill struggle for most internal IT systems, or you don't want to build it yourself on top of an integration platform that you can purchase and do some drag 'n' drop magic.
Working with companies of any size in the industry of logistics (supply chain and transportation management), finance, and retail, we have seen how demanding integration projects can really be. Therefore, we aim to scope the requirements and the best ways to move forward together with the customer, and the goal is to deliver the solution as fast as possible while ensuring cost savings compared to the previous integration solutions that the customer may have used.
Are you still confused about how to find the best data integration provider?
When you are researching different integration tools, you may want to get in touch with different vendors and give them a short explanation of what you are looking for in terms of integrations and how they could help you. All vendors will be happy to answer, and you will be able to compare easily which solution you should invest in that best aligns with your strategic objectives.
To learn more about our iPaaS, grab a copy of our Product Sheet: