iPaaS for B2B integrations

May 4, 2018

I remember when I joined Youredi and I didn’t have much clue of what an iPaaS exactly was or how it could be used for business cases. The answer from our integration architects was often something like: it can be used for anything. 

And while that’s true that doesn’t help to understand the picture better if you are unfamiliar with the concept of iPaaS. By now, I know that our iPaaS is the perfect fit for some very specific vertical. We have been developing complex B2B integrations for enterprises within the logistics, maritime shipping, retail, e-commerce, and financial domains.

The various use cases have proved that any enterprise that is looking to buy data integration solutions should consider an iPaaS as an option and evaluate whether it is the right fit for their integration scenarios.

The business need for B2B integrations –is emerging. Enterprises cannot operate in isolation from their ecosystem. Large ecosystems mean that there is a need for B2B solutions that can handle complex integrations. Since the number of connections and the volume of the data is growing, it shouldn’t only be an agile, flexible, and scalable solution, but it must come with a reasonable pricing.

This blog explores as why enterprises are utilizing iPaaS for high-profile B2B integrations. 

Managed service – low investment and low risk

iPaaS is a smart investment. Let me explain to you why it is a better option than other solutions.

Previously, you purchased a software (like an ESB or an ETL) and upgrades for it yearly. In this case, you had two options: you had a dedicated IT team for developing the connections, handling maintenance, and support, or you outsourced it. In both cases, the development could take a long time.

While with a managed iPaaS, you don’t need to buy a software license, so you also don’t pay for upgrades either. You only pay a one-time setup fee, monthly subscription, and support for the maintenance of the solutions. The integration experts come with the package. They are responsible for developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining the solutions. In terms of pricing, this is much more favorable than previous modes, as you do not need to pay the integration architects by the hour.

This is a perfect option for anyone that wants maximum control over their information but does not want to deal with the burden of developing integration solutions.

There are many different iPaaS vendors. When you need to choose the one you are going to work with, you should also consider the vendor’s business and pricing model, security of the solution, and whether they are able to support all parts of your data integration strategy. 

Integrating back-end systems

As mentioned above, no enterprise can operate in isolation anymore. It is crucial that they are well-connected to their ecosystem of suppliers, partners, customers, manufacturers, etc.

The most important B2B integration scenario for that is to connect you both internally and externally to all your relevant stakeholders. Connecting with all stakeholders can replace manual processes, speed up inefficient ones and enable faster flow of the data.

This can be challenging for several different reasons. 

Number of connections

First, as you may need to connect to hundreds of different systems, this is itself a challenge. All those systems have different specifications, and traditionally developing these solutions took time. iPaaS comes with templates for scenarios and pre-configured connectors, so the deploying new connections can happen a lot faster. As you may suddenly need to add new B2B connections that can be done rapidly with iPaaS. 

Legacy on-premise IT systems

Creating connectivity can be challenging when on-premise legacy IT architectures need to be integrated. iPaaS is the right tool for it, whether these systems need to be connected to other on-premise systems or to cloud-based applications.

Firewalls

iPaaS also offers secure connections for accessing data behind firewalls. This requires an installed gateway on-premise so that we can gather the information and forward it to your systems. 

APIs

APIs (HTTP, XML, JSON, REST, Web Services, etc.) are important building blocks used in integration platforms too for developing connections. 

Variety, velocity, the volume of the data

There is a lot of buzz around big data and the data is a main B2B data integration challenge. Using iPaaS for data integration organizes can make sense of the data.

Scalability of the solution is fit for dealing with big data

It is suitable for transferring big volumes of data or to scale the solution as your volumes are growing. 

Data sharing needs to happen in real-time

The timeliness of the data is crucial in many businesses, meaning companies cannot afford entering data manually or relying on paper processes. Traditional batch processing of the data is not sufficient either.

Having data available at the right time can have serious impacts on the business, improving efficiency and improving gross margins.

Too many data formats

There are many different data formats in use and different industries tend to use different ones. Some firms may as well have their very own proprietary formats. Some systems are not capable of translating the information, therefore, the translation needs to happen already during the data transfer.

Our solutions take care of unifying heterogeneous data into the preferred data format, so the data is comprehensive for all stakeholders. 

Data integrity

Besides transferring and translating the data in real-time, the information must also be right. Configuring business-to-business integrations with iPaaS allows us to create solutions for validating the data against your business rules to ensure that all data fields are correctly field and do not include errors.

In case there are errors in the data, it’s possible to forward it back for adjustments as long as the message is finally correct.

This saves your team from manual error detection and fixes, speeds up the process, and saves you money. 

iPaaS offers a good alternative for traditional EDI services

EDI VANs and point-to-point integrations are still used for EDI, however, these solutions are inadequate when there’s the need for building massive business-to-business integrations.

iPaaS is a good tool when enterprises need to configure robust complex integrations across borders whether the systems are on-premise or in the cloud. The technology is mature and proven for a variety of system and data integration scenarios.

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Still wondering if you need an iPaaS?

If you like what you’ve found, reach out and we will be happy to guide you. Meanwhile, we thought this document might be useful for you.
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