To know customer expectations, anticipate trends, recognize opportunities… In a strongly competitive context and increased mobility, these goals have become more the decisive factors than ever before. To achieve them, it is vital to retrieve a lot of data in advance from diverse sources. To manage these heterogeneous connections efficiently, the most agile solutions consist of relying on an application integration platform (IPaaS).
Data is at the heart of every business. Enormous volumes of data are to hand. But they are scattered and they are heterogeneous. The explosion of SaaS – paired with mobility, Big data and IoT – has increased the job of integration and its complexity.
The quality of the handling of data constitutes the cornerstone of the majority of projects led by organizations. Management optimized with informational capital is a decisive factor in a strongly competitive context.
However, storing data in different places is no longer a suitable method. It’s necessary to know how to circulate and combine it with others to give not only value but also sense to it. But the integration of servers, applications and other databases with ‘’classic’’ solutions is often tedious (necessity to redo all orchestrations at each update). It turns out to be very expensive, not to mention that there is a lack of agility.
A light solution
To adopt an API strategy is, therefore, essential to share data in complete security (under certain conditions as we have indicated it in a former article) and benefit from those of its ecosystem. This lighter, technical solution (a hosting service automatically applying updates, security patches and other improvements) allows a better understanding of different problems and in particular, to know customers and prospects better.
But API acts like Lego to connect applications and services. If the plan is not followed to the letter, the result will be precarious. Hence, the necessity to rely on a solution able to guarantee perfect API management. The solution? An IPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service).
The Gartner company defines it as a ‘’suite of cloud services allowing the development, execution and governance of integration flows linking processes, services, applications and data, based on the cloud, within different organizations’’.
When this term appeared around 2011, this solution was intended to facilitate application management in the cloud. But today, it allows the connection of any data base and any application, whether in a cloud, physical or hybrid environment. IPaaS presents, therefore, an important step forward compared with other ‘’traditional’’ integration platforms, because no on-site equipment or software is required.
IPaaS includes many functionalities among which are:
- Integration flows which link applications in the cloud and on site
- Native deployment of the cloud without installation and management of integration equipment
- Self-service for API developers for mobile and reactive development
- Simple graphic tools
- Automated construction and deployment
The API/IPaaS duo is, therefore, the good combination to reinforce its agility. When a company does not request this type of platform, the management and the publication of API are its main preoccupations. No application connections! IPaaS allows precisely the execution of integration projects involving any combination of applications in the cloud and on site with an ERP, for example. The constraints to meticulously verify all of its reliances are gone.
The integration of business data and customers with an iPaaS solutions allows the gap to be filled between different systems which store your data, including your cloud applications and your systems on site. It can serve to connect what your company needs to quickly access critical data which can be stored in different places.
The IPaaS integrations can be created quickly without specialized personnel (thanks to user-friendly wizards and visual designers), costly software licenses or elaborate hardware configurations. If a partner wants to set up an Excel document with information in a database, the company is no longer obliged to give him, for example, an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) link. He can call an API from the portal of his organization and obtain data in a simple way and not correlated to the database itself.
IPaaS offers, in fact, a variety of connectors ready to use which facilitate data analysis. For example, if a web user fills out a form on your site, this action triggers data flows which will be collected by other applications. Likewise, the update of a contact in a CRM can trigger the delivery of a note by email to the commercial team if conditions (via Artificial Intelligence, for example) indicate that it’s a question of a priority route.
In one word, IPaaS breaks the silos, not only among different applications in the cloud but between different teams in an organization. So, it’s not surprising that more and more companies want to benefit from IPaaS in order to improve customer experience and to develop new services.
This market should reach between 3 and 4 billion dollars by 2021. This interest is explained by the need for business agility, the necessity to speed up IT solution deployment and ultimately, the degree of maturity of companies in terms of innovation and new technologies.
A suitable IPaaS solution can, therefore, simplify the integration of data, applications, security and conformity of a company enormously. Its versatility is a major asset to optimize the efficiency of processes and, in a general way, modernize your computer park.