Gartner defines 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.
In the Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service report, Gartner says Enterprise iPaaS is foundational for supporting application and data integration, and increasingly used for B2B integration and API management.
To illustrate how iPaaS works, Ajit Melarkode, vice president – Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ), Boomi, suggests thinking of iPaaS as “velcro strips connecting different kinds of applications. Think of iPaaS as pre-built connectors for over 1,500 applications. You can stick together different applications whether they are legacy applications that you have grown in-house or SaaS packages that are on the cloud. You can stick them together very easily using the iPaaS platform.”
Put simply, iPaaS lets you connect on-premises software and cloud applications, sometimes referred to as hybrid integration.
Where iPaaS comes from
Thomas Elliott, co-founder and managing partner at Left Hook, debunks that theory that Gartner coined the phrase and reveals the first instance of iPaaS was around 2008 and attributes the term to Boom (click here for a brief history of iPaaS).
Alternative to ESB?
Melarkode claims that iPaaS is popular in the US and EMEA.
While connecting applications together has been around in the form of Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), doing so requires a lot of code (aka High Code). For Melarkode, iPaaS lets you do more things faster.
“Systems integrators are finding that when they use iPaaS for their customers, they can do many more projects for their customers because it's so easy to stick together applications. They can get into many more functions, many more subsidiaries, and generate a lot more value for their customers,” he continues.
Pain points that iPaaS solves
Melarkode says iPaaS removes some of the jargon associated with the process of connecting or integrating applications.
He says access to a single source of data is one of the challenges for both business and technology users. At the moment there is potential for different applications and functions to be given “different versions of the truth” on the same query.
The other pain point is around skill sets. Melarkode says that modernising legacy applications take time in addition to finding the right skills to do the job.
Reducing cybersecurity risks
Melarkode insists that any approach related to cybersecurity must cover several grounds including the data, application and platform.
“It is not enough to offer just to offer customers pre-built connectors and SDKs for legacy applications. You need unified experiences and integrated experiences,” he comments.
He postulated that if you introduce a good API to a bad process or expose a good API to bad data at the back end, you compromise your company and your assets.
Asked whether the ability for end-users to develop applications, via citizen development, does not unnecessarily introduce new risks by way of the proliferation of shadow IT. Melarkode acknowledges no easy answer to the conundrum. All he could add is that iPaaS is meant to solve the inability of IT to respond to end-user requests for new applications or features to existing systems.
“I think encouraging a conversation, between business, finance within the business, specifically, and IT, is one of the ways of avoiding shadow IT,” he continued.
Challenges moving forward
Melarkode acknowledged that iPaaS adoption in Asia is straddled by the limited awareness of the technology. For now, iPaaS visibility is at its early stages with both end-users and system integrators. With the latter he attributes the resistance to technology inertia – that people are comfortable doing things the way it has been done to date – whether it is bespoke coding, ESBs and the reliance on high code practices.
“I think that awareness needs to continue growing that there's an alternative and that it pays off for everybody in the value chain--for customers, for partners, for independent software vendors, that may be feeling the pinch of not being able to implement their SaaS platforms for the reason I outlined earlier,” he continued.
Click on the PodChat player as Melarkode shares his views and opinions on the business value of iPaaS.
- What exactly is iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service)? What role does it play in advancing the digital transformation or futureproofing of businesses?
- Is iPaaS new around Asia?
- What are the pain points of enterprises that iPaaS seeks to solve?
- Can you port from iPaaS brand to another?
- How does iPaaS help reduce cybersecurity risks?
- For organizations not happy with their iPaaS implementation, what’s the option for them?
- For those considering iPaaS as a way to better integrate their applications and data across a hybrid environment, what would be the top 3 questions they need to answer (or ask their vendor)?
- We talk about citizen development. How do I avoid creating shadow IT sprawl?
- Any final thoughts on the future of iPaaS?