Over the last decade, the cloud made an indelible impact on IT and the enterprise. The reason for this is cloud-driven service orientation. The cloud democratized access to products and services for providers and consumers. The result was an explosion of SaaS services in the number of services and volume of service used. This created a crisis in the integration platform as a service (iPaaS) market because the mushrooming number of services means that existing developerdriven solutions will not scale. The only effective solution is to bring a higher level of intelligence and simplicity to the iPaaS market to create scalable solutions that can be implemented easily and, in most cases, by non-technical staff. Celigo, an iPaaS vendor since 2006, has done exactly this, having recently rearchitected their solution to deliver a simplified user experience around a more powerful and customizable platform. This simplicity, power, and customizability is reflected in their Integrator.io, prebuilt integrations (SmartConnectors), and licensing model.
The origin of integration tools coincides with the beginnings of commercial IT, with the roots of integration going back 40 years. The need for integration tools is strong because most enterprises, even small ones, need to synchronize the operation of multiple applications to achieve the level of automation they desire. Today, integration platforms must reliably support integration flows across an expanding array of application services, environments, and organizations while accommodating new standards, formats, and protocols. While integration is easy to describe, it is distinctly difficult to deliver given the increasing complexity of today’s IT environments.
Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offerings are widely considered to be the preferred approach to application integration. iPaaS solutions provide methods to create integration flows to synchronize data and activities between applications. iPaaS services are now generally cloudbased, and most vendors accommodate a variety of data formats, data standards, communication protocols, prebuilt connectors, and methods to define and manage integration flows. iPaaS activities include developing, executing, and managing integration flows, which requires IT to develop and manage these flows. The programmatic focus of most iPaaS tools and the simplicity of their field mapping services help them deliver flexibility, but at the cost of scalability and abstraction. The geometric expansion of standards, formats, protocols, packaged services, and application programming interfaces (APIs) occurring creates an environment where integration tools need scalability and abstraction to deliver value. The inability of these first-generation iPaaS tools (or iPaaS 1.0) to deliver scalability and abstraction created an opportunity for a next-generation of iPaaS: iPaaS 2.0.
Integration variety and integration volume are driving iPaaS 2.0. The explosion in web, cloud, and API-accessible services, or integration variety, is the most challenging driver because it describes an IT environment where new services and APIs are being developed at an accelerating rate. The best way to mitigate this exposition of APIs and services is through a combination of techniques focused on delivering abstraction (simple access to powerful underlying capabilities) and scalability (performance that is unaffected by integration volume). Techniques to deliver integration variety include the following:
Integration volume is the other driver that iPaaS 2.0 must address. The solution to integration volume is addressed through a combination of the following techniques:
Celigo has been a vendor of integration services since 2006 and delivered their first SmartConnector (pre-built standalone SaaS integrations) in 2010. Celigo’s first-generation integration platform followed in 2011. Celigo rearchitected their platform in 2014 and rebranded it as Integrator.io. Delivery of SmartConnectors built on the new iPaaS platform began in 2015. Celigo also simplified their business model, and as a result, Celigo customer growth is now among the fastest in the iPaaS market.
Celigo’s rearchitecting of their platform was specifically intended to deliver a more powerful platform for creating integrations while standardizing and simplifying integration design and implementation consistent with iPaaS 2.0 capabilities. The objective was to create a revolutionary integration platform that could be used by both non-technical staff and developers to create and package integration flows. For this reason, the Integrator.io engine had to be powerful enough to meet the demanding requirements of developers, but also offer a non-technical person the ability to craft an integration flow. Addressing both use cases was accomplished by offering guided design for the non-technical user, using a wizard-driven and intuitive design that enables the creation of powerful integrations through a simple series of mapping and configuration choices.
At the same time, the Integrator.io engine was also engineered to support developer needs so that highly custom integrations could be developed when necessary, such as full support for HTTP and RESTful API-based applications. The result is an integration platform that is highly sophisticated and immensely capable. It is also well-abstracted, so its key capabilities are accessible to non-technical users while offering developers a comprehensive collection of field mapping options and hooks to embed custom code/business logic. Celigo accomplished this by first creating a streamlined wizard for creating integrations, then supporting this integration wizard that leverages application data and metadata to understand field-level semantics to make mapping easier and more accurate. Celigo succeeded at developing a declarative (define what you want to do, not how to do it) user interface for Integrator.io that simplifies the creation of integrations and effectively hides all the integration complexity. This UI is adaptive because it monitors user behavior in real time and actively helps the user accomplish their objectives.
Integrator.io addresses the integration volume requirements of iPaaS 2.0 by delivering modern messaging that provides guaranteed message delivery. Integrator.io does this through an atomic commitment protocol and asynchronous queuing. In addition to this, Integrator.io messaging is always available and designed to dynamically scale to always meet customer workload needs. When an integration target is offline or not available, Integrator.io will pause processing, send out a notification of the problem, and automatically resume processing when the target comes back up.
Events typically trigger Integrator.io flows. More complex integration flows may require special business logic or transformations. Integrator.io provides a template that supplies hooks to invoke custom code before, during, and after an integration flow to ensure developers have the power to customize integration flows.
Celigo licensing and pricing is another way they support the scalability objective of iPaaS 2.0. Pricing is by unique integration flow, rather than by the volume of messages delivered. The absence of a variable cost component made Integrator.io popular with small/medium enterprises (SMEs). This pricing also supports scalability requirements of iPaaS 2.0 by focusing pricing on integration variety, not integration volume.
This wide range of Integrator.io capabilities enables Celigo to support enterprises of all sizes and IT sophistication. By enabling use by non-technical staff, Celigo is successfully penetrating the SME market, where IT staff are a rarity. Despite the ease with which Celigo integrations can be created by non-technical staff, an even better solution is to not have to create integrations at all. This is where Celigo SmartConnectors fit.
Miansai is a small/medium enterprise that designs, manufactures, and markets jewelry, leather goods, and watches. Miansai wanted a cloud-based integration platform to integrate a new modern website with backend ERP, fulfillment, invoicing, inventory, returns, and banking systems. According to CIO Christopher Veck, “We’re a NetSuite shop, but our need for a cloud-based integration system basically cut out 90% of the vendors that do integration.” When asked about the key reason that he selected Celigo, Chris replied, “What really drove me to Celigo was that they already had a built-in for Shopify (ecommerce platform), their team could easily handle Returnly (online returns platform), and their team ended up doing Square (credit card processing) very quickly. We also wanted to do banking, so we’re going to get that going, too. But the final thing that really helped me choose Celigo was when I was looking at the backend, and I found out how easy it was in Integrator.io to do mappings on my own.”
SmartConnectors are prebuilt, standalone integrations that stem from the Integrator.io platform but are licensed independently. SmartConnectors are developed in Integrator.io and are built by Celigo, their business partners, and customers. The beauty of SmartConnectors is that they are updatable even after implementation, so updates and feature enhancements can take place automatically if desired.
The NetSuite – Salesforce SmartConnector is Celigo’s best known SmartConnector. It provides prebuilt integration flows that automatically synchronize data between Salesforce and NetSuite. Key capabilities include automating lead to cash processes, providing a 360 degree view of the customer, faster time-to-value, and low cost.
The current portfolio of SmartConnectors supports integration with the leading applications in ecommerce, online marketplaces, banking, and other vertical industries. Celigo also created a SmartConnector marketplace where SmartConnectors, integration templates, and API assistants can be identified, described, and obtained. SmartConnector emphasis to date was on the NetSuite and Salesforce ecosystems, where Celigo has deep domain expertise. Ecommerce SmartConnectors are available for many of the leading applications, including NetSuite, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Key marketplace SmartConnectors are available for Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Jet. These SmartConnectors have proved highly successful with SMEs by integrating fulfillment, inventory, returns, and banking applications. SmartConnectors are fully supported products that Celigo stands behind. SmartConnectors are also largely maintenance free, can be managed by non-technical staff, provide faster time to value and higher customer satisfaction, and reduced headcount and cost.
While SmartConnectors are the most sophisticated prebuilt integrations, Celigo’s marketplace also includes a wide variety of Integration Templates and Integration Assistants. Integration Templates are packages of integration flows for Integrator.io that can be installed, configured, modified, or duplicated. Integration Templates are very similar to SmartConnectors, but are installed with a subscription to the Integrator.io platform and managed by the customer.
Celigo also now provides more than 90+ API (integration) assistants. These assistants expose an abstracted view of the source or target APIs for use in customizing an integration.
This expansive and increasing portfolio of SmartConnectors, templates, and API assistants makes Celigo’s marketplace an important part of their overall value proposition.
While other leading integration vendors can point to greater numbers of customer, revenue, and prebuilt-integrations, Celigo can usually win on product design (as an iPaaS 2.0 product), pricing, and usability. This helped Celigo and Integrator.io become the “go-to” iPaaS product for SMEs.
Celigo will and should continue adding to its portfolio of SmartConnectors, integration templates, and API assistants. While there are financial and collaborative incentives for the Integrator.io community to address, Celigo will find that this is a key prerequisite for moving upmarket.
iPaaS 2.0 also provides Celigo with an opportunity to clearly differentiate itself from its competitors. Abstraction and scalability are terms that will challenge those not familiar with modern IT architecture and design, but are critically important in delivering solutions that have high levels of usability, performance, and reliability. However, these are attributes that resonate with enterprises of all sizes and will therefore serve
Celigo and their customers well. Celigo also recently added on-premise EDI support for Integrator.io, which is another example of how Celigo is putting the foundation in place to move upmarket.
Celigo’s rearchitecting of Integrator.io created a solid foundation from which Celigo can move upmarket. In addition to the rapid expansion of Integrator.io in the SME market, Celigo will start winning a material number of deals with large enterprises where custom integrations are more the norm. This will usher in a new, even higher growth phase for Celigo, although it will be accompanied by the need to provide a higher level of customer support.
Celigo has taken a significant step forward with Integrator.io by providing the integration market with a solution that meets customer needs on multiple levels. Integrator.io appeals to developers and non-technical staff alike and can create integrations ranging from simple to complex. When this is combined with a licensing model that is based on integration variety instead of volume, Integrator.io squarely meets the abstraction and scalability requirements of iPaaS 2.0. Integrator.io therefore meets the criteria of iPaaS 2.0, which is not a claim that Celigo’s competitors can make.
Celigo is a leading provider of scalable and easy-to-implement integration solutions to connect cloud-based applications. Celigo’s mission is to enable independent best-of-breed applications to work together. Celigo believes that every independent department and every business end user should always have choices when it comes to picking software, and that integration challenges should never stand in the way. Integrations should be easy and simple, enabling virtually anyone, especially business users, to craft integration flows.
Celigo’s strategy is anchored in Integrator.io, a modern iPaaS for integrating virtually anything to anything. With thousands of commercial users, Integrator.io is optimized to quickly build highly scalable integrations between cloud-based applications. Its easy-to-use interface is designed for tech-savvy business users, while the underlying platform has the flexibility and direct feature access required by integration specialists and developers. This makes Integrator.io uniquely well-suited for full back-office integrations, as well as smaller, specific integration use cases that deliver fast time to value.
Complementing Celigo’s Integrator.io are SmartConnectors, which are prebuilt, fully managed, standalone integration solutions that can be installed from the Integrator.io marketplace SmartConnectors are available for a variety of business clouds.
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