Businesses today are in a dynamic position: massive opportunity on the horizon, daunting challenges here and now. New technologies like Generative AI, growing cloud adoption, and an explosion in data and apps will massively transform business as we know it. But taking advantage of these advancements — without creating an unwieldy chaos in its wake — requires enterprise integration that is multifaceted, agile and adaptable.
A challenge like this is where an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) has traditionally come in. The iPaaS was introduced to help companies unlock the value of their data across disparate apps, data sources, and APIs. But the iPaaS solutions that are offered today are imperfect, partial solutions that only address pieces of the full integration puzzle, resulting in chaos of connectivity. To make all applications and data work together across hybrid multi-cloud environments for the future — you need to rethink iPaaS as it exists today.
The Challenges Facing Businesses
Business culture and market changes, such as the emergence of business technologists (BizTech) and the evolving role of IT, have also introduced both opportunities and challenges. Let’s look closer at the key challenges facing businesses today:
Hybrid, Multi-Cloud Complexity: Applications, data, and services are increasingly distributed across on-prem, private cloud, and public cloud environments. This hybrid, multi-cloud landscape creates tremendous connectivity and management challenges.
Accelerating Pace of Change: The pace of technological change continues to accelerate. Business must integrate new apps, data sources, APIs, devices, and partners at rapidly increasing speed just to keep up.
Demand for Digital Transformation: There is a growing pressure from lines of business for initiatives that improve customer experience, unlock insights, and enable new business models.
Increasing Regulatory Pressures: Regulations around data security, privacy, and sovereignty continue to multiply. This creates new requirements around where data can be stored and processed when integrating across apps and data sources in a global enterprise.
Why Existing iPaaS Solutions Fall Short
Most iPaaS solutions fail to adequately address these new challenges for several reasons.
- They are siloed platforms focused on just one or two integration scenarios (e.g., only app or only data integration). There is no unified approach to handle all the integration patterns — application integration, B2B integration, data integration, APIs and events.
- They lack cloud-native architectures optimized for rapid deployment across today’s distributed environments.
- Running in multiple clouds and regions requires multiple iPaaS solutions — which means data silos, multiple interfaces, and lots of task-switching.
- They provide poor visibility and control across hybrid, multi-cloud integration landscapes.
- They offer little support for creating and managing reusable integration assets like APIs.
- They have no built-in intelligence to optimize ongoing integration management and performance.
Organizations require increased agility, productivity, and governance to enhance efficiency, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and drive growth while minimizing risks. Fortunately, a better option has just arrived.
Introducing a new category — the Super iPaaS
Over the past few years, as we’ve worked closely with our customers to understand their pain points, we became very excited about the opportunity to build something new and move the entire enterprise integration space forward. It’s so different that we’re not willing to simply call it an iPaaS.
Our vision is a unified enterprise integration platform for connecting applications, data and B2B enabled with APIs and events. It’s not just an incremental improvement to the iPaaS, it’s an entirely new category of integration — called the Super iPaaS. It connects legacy systems, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and data across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. With a cloud-first architecture, it provides central control and visibility while complying with global data sovereignty regulations.
One important element that will set Super iPaaS apart is its democratization of the user experience. It features generative AI for natural language interactions and no-code capabilities for BizTech users, along with separate development options for integration specialists — all within the same product. This enables the creation of composable, reusable building blocks, streamlining the integration process. For more on the vision and high-level view, see what our Chief Product Officer, Dr. Stefan Sigg, shared in his blog.
What We’re Delivering and Enabling
So what does this really mean? What we’re delivering falls into six major areas, each with a host of powerful capabilities that will allow enterprises to do more with integration.
Develop anywhere, deploy anywhere
The full enterprise power of our integration platform with hundreds of services, sophisticated models, and advanced security can now be leveraged in massively distributed landscapes. While many cloud integration platforms have left behind the critical CI/CD capabilities that enable DevOps automation, our design re-introduces this functionality with the ability to use repositories like Git wherever you’re developing. Crucially, this also means there’s no need to replicate integrations across runtimes since there’s a new source of truth. Users can create integrations anywhere (even offline in high-security environments) and deploy them anywhere.
Central control, distributed execution
Our cloud hub/spoke architecture enables integration “edge servers” to run in public cloud, private cloud, and on prem while being managed by a central integration control plane — a design that’s inherently friendly to hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Centralized deployment automatically applies updated fixes and pulls in dependencies for lightning-fast scaling up and down. And you can run all or part of an integration close to target systems so low latency and regional data compliance are easier to achieve.
The API control plane also provides one place to analyze, monitor and control assets living in a geographically distributed hybrid API management landscape with multiple API gateways. With centralized end-to-end monitoring and visibility of all your hybrid integrations, APIs, B2B transactions and data pipelines, you’ll have more control and fewer surprises.
Closed loop of app and data integration
For too long, app teams and data teams have occupied different corners of the org chart. In fact, these disciplines have huge potential when they work together, and we see the benefits of having both webMethods and StreamSets under the same roof. With StreamSets, companies can design complex data loading patterns for cloud data platforms, perform transformations natively, and gain insights that drive business analytics. webMethods drives real-time business processes with a constant flow of application, customer, and partner data. Together webMethods and Streamsets will enable companies to unlock and activate all their data.
Unified experience across all iPaaS components
We saw a need for more collaboration across the enterprise — within IT teams, between related technologies, and with business users. With the full integration tech stack (API, B2B, app, data, events) in one unified platform with a consistent UI, developers can easily share integration recipes, turn services into APIs, and access prebuilt integrations to complete the “last mile” of a B2B transaction with a partner. In addition, our platform provides multiple experiences within the same product; business users can now leverage a no-code natural language interface to create integrations, while developers retain their sophisticated and rich low-code tooling — all managed through the central control plane. Two UIs, one product; the best of both worlds.
Enable composable business architecture with APIs and events
Composability is all about creating more agility in the business, so naturally it’s based on two components that create agility in your architecture: APIs and events. APIs enable access to systems of record without impacting their functionality and serve as a layer of separation in case those systems change. And events enable you to respond to actions and triggers automatically. With reusable business components made available through well-managed, high-quality APIs and events, you can react quickly to take advantage of new opportunities, assembling responsive apps that communicate across teams — and deliver better experiences to customers, employees and partners.
Generative AI throughout the integration lifecycle
As I shared in my blog post last May, I believe that generative AI is going to completely transform the iPaaS. You will soon be able to get not 2X, but 10X, or 100X productivity improvements and automation. It will be far beyond generating integrations through a no-code, natural language interface (though of course, we can do that with webMethods AI). It’s about building in generative AI for optimal operations and workflows. It will be about solving integration problems of any complexity involving any app, any data, any device, or any partner.
Join the Revolution
One integration platform now handles the full breadth of integration challenges — application, data, API, B2B, events — across any infrastructure. This unified “conductors console” approach is the key to unlocking the promise of new technologies like AI, cloud, and big data.
Across Software AG, the excitement around these new capabilities is palpable. But our commitment to innovation doesn’t stop here. The future includes a compelling roadmap of much more. We plan to further unify the user experience across all components, enhance event management capabilities within the platform, and infuse generative AI throughout the integration lifecycle.
As the iPaaS landscape evolves, Software AG remains at the forefront of transformation, providing businesses with the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly complex world.
Join us on this journey as we revolutionize the iPaaS, one integration at a time. Embrace the future with Software AG and see for yourself how this changes everything.