Integration is critical for all businesses, and selecting the right Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) early on is important for any organization looking to accelerate digital efforts. Many organizations question whether their needs are similar to large enterprises with complex backends or if a few simple point-to-point integrations would suffice. However, this is exactly the moment you need to build the foundation for success.
You do not need to sacrifice extensibility to see immediate value. The right iPaaS should help your business address your organization’s existing integration challenges across a wide range of applications and data infrastructures in a single, unified platform. It should also be built to scale as your business grows.
As you evaluate different iPaaS vendors, there are three distinct characteristics you should consider: configurable connectivity, extensibility, and a unified platform of capabilities that address a wide range of integration needs and use cases.
- #1: Configurable connectivity. To generate immediate value, an iPaaS needs to have configurable connectivity — such as a marketplace for pre-built connectors, templates, and APIs — that allow your organization to share and reuse assets quickly and easily.
Configurable connectivity enables your organization to select “best of breed” cloud apps and easily add new capabilities to your ecosystem. This is one of many reasons why, in 2018, Salesforce selected MuleSoft to be the integration platform powering Salesforce Customer 360. Together, Salesforce and MuleSoft are enabling customers to unlock data across legacy systems, cloud apps, and devices to make smarter, faster decisions and create highly differentiated, connected customer experiences.
- #2: Extensibility. Your iPaaS should be robust, agile, and able to extend as your business grows. The platform should have the capability to enable nonspecialist integrators to use low-code, drag and drop UI to address a broad range of use cases, while also offering specialists a fully powered integrated development environment (IDE) to solve strategic integration problems.
- Low-code vs. extensibility: Low-code functionality is important to enable non-technical users to automate their own processes and tasks. However, because many “low-code” iPaaS vendors optimize their platforms for non-technical users to accomplish individual tasks — while marketing their solutions as wall-to-wall integration solutions — their platforms often lack a key feature that all central and line of business IT teams need: extensibility. As businesses scale, these solutions often evolve into tightly coupled applications — hindering agility.
- #3: Unified platform. Core integration — connecting applications to other applications — is at the center of iPaaS. Often, organizations turn to one or more approaches — from migrating existing on-premises applications and data to the cloud, to integrating SaaS applications with on-premises applications and data, to connecting cloud-native applications across on-premises and cloud environments.
With API management and iPaaS in a single, unified platform, organizations can implement the above use cases, expose and monitor access to key systems of record through APIs, and reuse assets without the risk of losing existing investments. MuleSoft is a unified platform for integration and true API lifecycle management.
Traditional approaches to the above use cases, however, create a myriad of challenges. This includes eradicating decades of investment in data and application logic, eliminating opportunities for reuse and accelerated development, and creating tightly coupled applications — hindering agility. To solve ongoing pains, businesses must look at integration not just as a solution, but as a strategic partner to strengthen the overall enterprise architecture.
“What we needed went beyond what a standalone iPaaS solution could offer. We needed a platform that allowed us to scale, and scale fast. MuleSoft’s all-in-one platform for APIs and integrations allowed us to get a fast start, see the business impact of our integration projects right out of the gates, and gave us the tools and framework necessary to effectively solve the underlying complexity, faster — all in a future-proof way.”– Yanna Winter, CIO, Generali
To learn more about how a unified integration platform can help your business solve your short-term challenges and set you up for continued future success, check out our latest whitepaper, Is iPaas enough?