It’s increasingly commonplace for businesses to consume IT resources through an as-a-Service model, with software, infrastructure, databases, and other parts of the ecosystem being handled by third-party solutions. It’s a key part of the digital transformation.
This also extends to ecommerce businesses, which are often complex matrices of first-party and third-party solutions working as one coherent system. Or, at least, that’s the hope and expectation, and can only happen if everything integrates properly.
That’s why iPaaS — or Integration Platform as a Service — has gained traction in ecommerce. The iPaaS market is expected to exceed $9 billion in revenue by 2025, with significant year-over-year growth expected to continue.
iPaaS may be the perfect integration tool for ecommerce platforms looking to streamline integrations and make it easier to scale.
Why enterprise businesses should consider iPaaS
Cloud-based iPaaS platforms make it easy for organizations to integrate their applications and systems in real-time, reducing operational costs and improving business agility.
Cloud integrations can also be low-code or no-code, which makes them an attractive integration solution for many ecommerce companies.
Service providers tracked by Gartner include: TIBCO Cloud Integration, SAP, Zapier, Snaplogic, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, MuleSoft Anypoint, and Informatica, among many others.
iPaaS is designed to meet the scalability and agility demands of modern businesses. With iPaaS, a company can add or remove applications and systems as required, without any disruption to operations.
It also enables businesses to scale out and in based on changing business and integration needs. It allows organizations to be more agile and respond quickly to changes in the market.
Easy for all users to engage.
Applications and systems can be integrated without the need for coding or specialized technical expertise, which allows IT teams to self-service and focus on other critical tasks. Not requiring specialized resources can have the added benefit of reduced costs.
Many vendors also include pre-built integrations or pre-built connectors that serve as templates and reduce the complexity of setup. The ease of use for many of these integration services is as easy as drag-and-drop.
iPaaS easily integrates with a variety of cloud platforms (public, private, or hybrid), including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Therefore, enterprise businesses can take advantage of multiple clouds without worrying about compatibility problems, security issues, or vendor lock-in. This reduces data silos and improves the enterprise integrations of SaaS applications.
API management built in.
The bigger a site gets, the more APIs and microservices it will accumulate — and the more it accumulates, the more difficult it will be to manage. iPaaS streamlines this, making it much easier to track every API operating within your ecosystem.
Software such as IBM App Connect can serve as middleware to make application integration relatively simple.
Deep data integration.
iPaaS platforms offer a range of data management capabilities that go beyond simple integration and allow organizations to automate data transformations, filtering, and routing to help ensure data quality.
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What to look for in an iPaaS vendor
With so many vendors to choose from, how can you find the perfect match for your organization? Let’s explore what to look for in an iPaaS vendor to ensure a seamless and effective integration process.
Best in class security.
Data security is vital when integrating systems and applications, and it should be a top consideration for a company’s iPaaS vendor. The vendor should use encryption, backups, and redundancy features to ensure continuous availability.
Additionally, the vendor must be compliant with regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA and CCPA, among others, to stay ahead of any legal issues.
Extensive API management.
One of the key reasons to turn to an iPaaS solution is to make management of connected — but disparate — APIs easier to work with. Conduct research to make sure that the preferred iPaaS vendor supports all systems the company is running.
Easy to use workflow tools.
An iPaaS solution should make life easier. Otherwise, what’s the point in having it? It should be easy to get the new platform integrated and maximize its value quickly, including optimizing new and existing workflows.
Guaranteed data delivery.
Data must flow freely and consistently, at all times. A successful iPaaS platform works when data is moving from system to system and providing the inputs that make them work well.
It’s not enough to just have data, it must be data fit for business use. Having guardrails in place to ensure the quality of data will improve the entire ecommerce platform.
Life cycle management.
Even with a seamless integration experience, issues can emerge, and a company will need responsive and reliable technical support. Ensure the iPaaS vendor provides excellent customer service, a dedicated technical team, and resources for troubleshooting and debugging.
Also, it's essential to know the level of maintenance and updates offered, and whether it requires manual intervention or automatic updates.
Business units helped by iPaaS solutions
An iPaaS solution can be used to efficiently manage data flows between various applications and business units. IT professionals can automate workflow and system monitoring, as well as transfer data, which can drastically improve the accuracy and efficiency of application delivery.
Marketers need integrations that enable them to track the effectiveness of their campaigns across channels and determine the success of sales efforts.
Sales needs a system that allows them to view a client's entire buying experience, while also providing sales with valuable contextual information about their customers. These kinds of deep insights can make a difference in the bottom line and even affect pricing.
An iPaaS solution streamlines HR processes by integrating critical HR functions like applicant tracking, payroll, employee onboarding, and performance management. An iPaaS solution can streamline information entry tasks and reduce manual hours.
By integrating their financial systems across multiple platforms, finance teams can automate major data tasks such as processing invoices and payments, reducing manual hours and errors.
An iPaaS solution enables financial data to flow seamlessly between applications, ensuring that financial processes are executed much quicker and accurately.
Key enterprise-level iPaaS providers
Jitterbit is a cloud-based integration platform that allows users to easily connect different applications, data sources, and systems with each other.
Companies can use Jitterbit to integrate different systems such as CRMs, ERPs, marketing automation platforms, ecommerce platforms, and databases, among others.
Workato is a cloud-based automation tool that creates automated workflows between different applications and services. The software allows businesses to integrate thousands of applications and services, and seamlessly exchange data.
Celigo is an iPaaS provider that allows businesses to connect and automate various applications such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Shopify and Amazon Marketplace, among others.
Boomi is a cloud-based iPaaS solution that streamlines the integration process. It helps disparate applications and data work together in harmony, saving organizations time, providing better visibility, and enhancing productivity as it automates and centralizes critical data.
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The final word
An iPaaS offers many useful benefits to ecommerce companies and business users such as improved security, faster transactions, multiple payment options, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Using an iPaaS solution means a company is better equipped at keeping up with the speed of business, while also maximizing the value of the cloud services.