There are a lot of iPaaS vendors out there to select your integration platform from. To a certain extent, each of these platforms provide similar functionalities, so how can you know which one is right for you? To give some guidance on this selection, we are discussing about one way to split the iPaaS vendors into two categories – do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions and “enterprise-focused” platforms.
First of all, let’s define what an iPaaS is all about. There are different definitions out there, but let’s use Gartner’s definition here: “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.” Or in short, iPaaS is a platform that enables data flow between different applications, wherever they are located.
There are two things to consider in the above definition. The first one is about connectivity. According to Gartner’s definition, iPaaS must be able to connect “any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data.” In order to utilize iPaaS within your organization, you have to ensure you can connect to all relevant software components that you are utilizing within your business context, keeping in mind that some of these applications may be owned and operated by your business partners.
Here comes the first difference between DIY and enterprise-focused iPaaS solutions. Often the DIY solutions are more geared towards “plug-n-play” connectivity with most common business applications. They provide sophisticated and easy-to-use configurations to connect to your out-of-the-box accounting, ERP, CRM, and other line-of-business systems with the minimum configuration required. As a drawback, you may find yourself looking for a non-existing adapter to the rarer line-of-business system you are using to drive your business. The enterprise-focused iPaaS platforms often provide a more general approach with protocol-level interfacing to common data transfer standards such as HTTP, FTP, SFTP, AS2, direct file and database interfaces, etc. These connections are typically application-agnostic in a way that connectivity is easy to establish, but while creating the integration solution, application level configuration (validating, parsing, and transforming data) needs to be developed as a part of the integration solution development. As a simplification, DIY iPaaS is often more configuration-centric while enterprise-focused iPaaS is more geared into application development.
The other part of the Gartner definition to think about is the note about “enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows” – the core functionality of any iPaaS platform. Interfacing different applications and services does not make any sense if data is not flowing through the interfaces. Here’s the other difference between our two types of iPaaS solutions – quite often DIY come with pre-parameterized integration flows taking care of typical integration scenarios – moving customer data between applications, sending standard format invoices to the customers, receiving standard purchase orders and entering them to your ERP system, etc. The enterprise-focused iPaaS, on the other hand, may provide standard templates, but is more focused in creating any kind of integration workflows based on customer’s specific business process requirements. Again, as a simplification, DIY platforms are very good in automating standard business processes found in any organization, but a more enterprise-focused solution may be needed when you are automating your specific business processes – those that provide you your competitive advantage in your industry.
At Youredi, we have selected the route to provide an “enterprise-focused” iPaaS platform. Our customers are using our platform to automate their core business processes – and all our customers have implemented them differently. Because of this, we are focusing on providing versatile tools to model these processes into our iPaaS platform – regardless how simple or complex the processes are. As a result, our customers are using our platform in a variety of ways, starting from simple message exchanges between their internal systems and ending up with multi-organization workflows where each participant is acting differently, utilizing different internal systems, communicating through different technical protocols, and often located in different countries on different continents.
If you are looking for a quick solution to transfer your information between your out-of-the-box business applications, we are more than willing to help you, but it may be that there are better alternatives in the DIY category of iPaaS solutions. But if you have a complex business problem that requires information exchange in business-to-business scenarios, between modern and legacy software, and involving complex processing during the integration workflow – we are here to help you. Our team will manage for you the solution design all the way to providing 24/7 operations and support to help you run your business more efficiently, with less errors, worldwide.