As the balance of enterprise applications shifts from on-premises to the cloud, the need for powerful, flexible, and scalable integration in the cloud is increasing. The SaaS (Software as a Service) explosion has transformed the deployment and operation of business applications, but it has also splintered business data into new cloud-based silos. The solution to this silo problem? An iPaaS (Integration Platform-as-a-Service), designed to:
- Eliminate integration silos to connect all systems and applications
- Support use cases that span SaaS, on-premises and mainframe applications, B2B and partner integration, file integration, IoT integration and API management
- Allow business analysts (citizen integrators) to develop integrations on their own while expanding accessibility with browser-based UIs that get updated and improved frequently
- Scale on demand to meet the requirements of the business
But when iPaaS vendors make you choose between “comprehensive capabilities” and “easy to use” – or between “deliver it fast” and “deliver a reliable solution” – you’ll lose no matter which choice you make. That’s why when it comes to your integration platform, it’s time to ask for more.
Q. Advanced capabilities or ease-of-use?
A. You need both; your iPaaS should allow both non-technical users and specialists to create secure services.
One of the most difficult trade-offs in cloud platforms is ease of use versus advanced capabilities. There are many new apps designed with simple interfaces that are accessible for technologists, also for product owners and even business users. Unfortunately, sometimes these don’t measure up when it comes to supporting thousands of transactions per second, 99.9% uptime, and (most of all) cloud security.
Weaknesses in cloud security can have severe implications for your services, your customers, and ultimately your company. Today’s security recommendations go beyond SSL to certificate-based authentication, OAuth2 support, and data masking for protecting private information. When asked which of these is essential, security professionals will answer “all of them!”
What you need is an iPaaS where users with less technical skill sets can easily create automated workflows using a drag-and-drop UI that doesn’t require scarce IT resources. But that iPaaS should also enable integration specialists to jump into a more advanced level for creating high-performance, secure services with complex data mapping and orchestration.
Q. APIs or API management?
A. If you can create APIs, you need to manage them—you need both.
When you develop API integration services with an iPaaS, you will often convert them to APIs. A standardized API interface makes a service easier for mobile, social, and other cloud apps to consume. As you think about how that API will be used by customers and partners, you may need policies around who can access it and when. You’ll also want to track how it is being used so you can drive the right updates to the API and maybe monetize it. And you’ll want to protect the data flowing through the API. In fact, 90% of the lifetime of your API will revolve around managing it.
What you need is the ability to create a service, turn it into an API, publish, and manage that API seamlessly throughout its lifecycle. You cannot just create APIs, you also need to manage them.
Q. B2B or integration?
A. Integration is an essential part of a B2B transaction – you need both.
Digital communication with partners and suppliers has traditionally been a specialized area requiring support for complex standards, many of which are unique to vertical industries like finance and energy. B2B tools are loaded with thousands of standard templates for data and processes required for these highly structured interactions. Today we’re also seeing APIs as a new mechanism for some businesses to bring on new partners and suppliers quickly and easily.
One thing hasn’t changed, though; every transaction with partners and suppliers begins or ends with a B2B integration. It could be firing off notification emails, inserting content in a database or mapping transaction data into a packaged app like SAP. Integration is always behind the scenes completing your B2B transaction. And that’s why you need both.
Q. Cloud or on-premises?
A. You guessed it – you need both!
As businesses gradually replace or upgrade legacy apps, cloud integration plays a critical role. As you modernize your enterprise, some services will go to the cloud and be delivered by new SaaS apps, some will remain on-premises, and some will straddle both domains. But the new SaaS apps in the cloud need to be integrated with each other and with business processes that span cloud and on-premises systems. And your single view of customer and product data can become splintered without a hybrid integration solution that links together disparate sources.
While cloud apps are an essential part of modernization, you also need support for hybrid integration. You need both.
Q. Fast or reliable?
A. Why should you have to choose?
There are many factors in creating a highly reliable application or service. These include 24×7 support, the ability to implement a proper DevOps-enabled software lifecycle, and built-in logging, auditing, and monitoring.
At the same time, innovative new capabilities are appearing like smart mapping and AI-enabled mapping suggestions – a “digital integrator” that helps you pull data from one SaaS app and push it to another automatically. Service and workflow recipes that make an iPaaS easier to use and speed up development are becoming more common. And for developers to learn quickly, you must have training videos plus a deep collection of tutorials with specific how-tos.
What you need is the ability to rapidly roll out innovative new workflows, APIs, and integrations on a platform that is rock-solid reliable. Because why should you have to choose, when you can have it all?
Hungry for an example? See how Carnival Cruise Line puts its guests at the center, from shopping to booking to cruising, with our API-driven architecture and event-driven ESB by clicking here.