Since their inception, integration technologies have continually evolved over time. For each new era of business applications — Mainframe, Client/Server, ASP, SaaS, and so on — a new set of integration solutions emerged to adapt to this constant expansion.
Because of this reactive design philosophy, previous integration solutions have been one generation behind the applications they were built to connect. The first generation of integration Platform-as-a-Service solutions (aka iPaaS 1.0) were developed in response to the first generation of SaaS applications. This was a time when IT departments mostly owned, managed, and maintained all of a company’s systems and applications, so iPaaS was developed solely for trained technical professionals.
However, as the sheer number of business applications exploded, the responsibility of app procurement and management has disseminated towards different departments.
Independent of an IT team, these users are now empowered to pick the tools they need to best tackle their business challenges. However, many companies with lean IT resources are still able to grow faster than companies reliant on legacy infrastructure.
Market opportunities and challenges appear in the blink of an eye. Employees come and go. Customers expect immediate and perfect responses. New applications gain prominence while others lose ground.
Old, heavy solutions are not well-suited for this brave new world. IT departments often struggle to consistently manage the changing needs of companies. This means that automating business processes with integration has become crucial to staying in the game.
All of this requires a new approach to iPaaS, one that makes it easier to build complex integrations across the board, offloading integration management away from IT to line of business users, and guiding users through implementation. In other words, a platform that allows the IT department to focus on more core projects for the business, thinking about the business logic and operational requirements, and not just managing the technical integration requirements.
So, what’s different with the next generation of iPaaS solutions? Users have certain expectations of how cloud applications should work, and an iPaaS 2.0 framework should reflect that sensibility. This means:
Many integration use cases have already been performed and documented -- lead-to-cash, procureto-pay, hire-to-retire, and so on. It is important for the next generation of iPaaS to leverage that work into future integrations through connectors, templates, and integration apps, so that workflows no longer have to be rebuilt from scratch.
Today, iPaaS 2.0 technology is more and more becoming a critical part of an organization’s tech stack. Automation is one of the most important tactics to ensure operational success in an age of soaring competition and high customer expectations, and integration is a key component of any automation strategy. Therefore, integration should be considered much earlier in the organization’s life-cycle than they normally are.
With iPaaS 2.0 solutions, IT can centralize integration and automation onto a single platform, significantly reducing the time and resources needed to build and maintain these integrations. iPaaS has become so easy to use that functional consultants, junior developers, and even nontechnical uses can build and maintain the integrations they need. Making integration more accessible means that they can be handed off to other departments, freeing up IT bandwidth to work on more valuable projects.
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