In 2008, a significant outage in its data center prevented Netflix from sending DVDs to its customers for three days which prompted the company to rethink its IT architecture. This subsequently led Netflix to rebuild its infrastructure by deploying micro-services on the AWS cloud – a successful transition that took place over a period of seven years until Netflix retired its last data center, moving completely to the cloud.
Netflix's forward-looking transition to an integration model utilizing Application Programming Interfaces (API) played a pivotal role in securing its scalability and service availability. As an early adopter of integration, Netflix achieved the flexibility it needed to disrupt the entertainment industry and as of 2023 has approximately 247 million subscribers in over 190 countries.
In this evolving technology landscape, ‘Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)’, has now become the modern standard powering industry-wide integrations. With the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), low-code/no-code, and data-as-a-fabric, the adoption of ‘Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)’ is set to grow significantly. Verified Market Research estimates the iPaaS market to reach $61.67 billion by 2030.
Today the iPaaS landscape features a wide range of integration services and over a 100+ iPaaS tools, which can be overwhelming for an enterprise that is considering integration. Moreover, each organization’s imperatives for transformation are different, making the vendor selection and the iPaaS fitment a decisive factor for success.
Preparing for iPaaS
A mindful selection process can ensure that an enterprise’s integration needs are met effectively. Here are three aspects to consider for vendor selection:
- Set objectives: As a first step, identify your core business objectives and outcomes to achieve with iPaaS. These objectives could relate to improving data connectivity, enhancing operational efficiencies, or enabling faster decision-making. Analyze your existing IT setup and integration capabilities to gauge current pain points, challenges, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Identify use cases: Identify which existing integrations can be modernized or replaced. Define specific use cases and scenarios where iPaaS can bring the most value. Consider scenarios like application and legacy integrations, API management and connectivity, hybrid cloud integrations, IoT integrations, event driven computing, data transformation, governance, and delivery automation. Develop a comprehensive integration roadmap that outlines the sequence of integration projects and their timelines. Prioritize projects based on business impact and complexity.
- Scalability and future-proofing: Ensure that your iPaaS solution can scale as your organization grows. Future-proof your strategy by considering emerging technologies and industry trends. Ensure that the chosen iPaaS solution complies with data security and privacy regulations relevant to your industry and region. Seek to establish resilient security measures and data governance policies.
Outcomes from the aspects above should be documented to aid the vendor selection criteria.
Evaluating iPaaS Vendors
A thorough vendor evaluation leads to better data security, cost-effectiveness, and a platform integration design to support the long-term success of the business. Work with a system integration partner who understands the landscape of iPaaS and can determine the right fit for your business transformation. While there are numerous considerations associated with iPaaS vendors, we narrow it down to five essentials:
1. Credibility: Examine the vendor's commitment to staying current with technology trends and ensuring that the iPaaS solution remains relevant as technology evolves. Assess the vendor's partnerships and integrations with other technology providers, which can enhance the iPaaS ecosystem. Review customer references and case studies to gauge the vendor's track record and their ability to deliver on promises.
2. Integration Capabilities: Assess the vendor's ability to handle growing data volumes and increasing demands. Evaluate the range of connectors and adapters offered by the vendor to connect with your existing applications, systems, and data sources. Evaluate the vendor's track record in terms of system reliability and uptime.
3. Security and Compliance: Ensure the iPaaS solution meets industry-standard security measures and data compliance requirements relevant to your industry and region. Assess the availability of monitoring and analytics tools within the iPaaS solution. Real-time insights into integration processes can help with issue detection and performance optimization.
4. Ease of Use: Consider the user-friendliness of the platform. An intuitive interface and user-friendly tools can reduce the learning curve for your team. Look for a vendor that allows for customization and flexibility in integration workflows to tailor the solution to your unique requirements.
5. Costs and Licensing: Beyond initial licensing costs, factor in the total cost of ownership, including ongoing maintenance, training, and any hidden costs associated with the iPaaS solution. Assess the level of customer support, training, and ongoing maintenance services provided by the vendor. Responsive support is crucial for issue resolution.
There is much at stake for organizations as they move to the cloud. Two types of buyers within the organization are best placed to carry out the iPaaS vendor evaluations.
- Application and software engineering teams are well-positioned to conduct evaluations, as they possess a deep understanding of technical requirements and challenges associated with business-critical integrations.
- Business unit leaders, aiming to resolve specific tactical connectivity challenges within their departments. They can help ensure that iPaaS offerings are well-aligned to their business needs.
In many cases, a cross-functional team that includes members from different business units may be the most effective approach to ensure a well-rounded evaluation. To start your evaluation of iPaaS vendors, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant or Forrester Waves are excellent starting points.
When considering diverse use-cases, hybrid environments or geographical differences, there may be instances for organizations to leverage more than one iPaaS platform to achieve the intended business outcomes. Today with over 150 vendors operating in the iPaaS space, making an informed selection to achieve the right integration fit can be overwhelming. We recommend key considerations to aid iPaaS selection in the visual below:
- Supported integration patterns
- Connectors and adaptors
- Protocol support
- GraphQL support
- Custom connectors
- API enablement
- loT integration
- Data extraction
- Data streaming/replication
- Data mapping & transformation tools
- Data validation and quality
- Big data integration
- Workflow design and visualization
- Workflow orchestration features
- Workflow monitoring and management
- Workflow Ul integration
Ease of use
- UI & UX
- Low-code or No-code development
- Code-level customization
- Microservices deployment and management
- Service discovery and registration
- Event driven architecture
- Cloud infrastructure support
- Cloud native integration
- Cloud security and compliance
- Multi-cloud support
Integration with IAM solutions
- Identity and access management
- Role-based access control (RBAC)
- Secure API and Standards Compliance
Service mesh integration
- Service mesh capability
- Capabilities to provide automatic service discovery and load balancing
Scalability & performance
- Horizontal scalability
- Throughput & bandwidth
- Data processing speed
- Multi-tenancy support
- Caching & data compression
Monitoring & management
- Real-time monitoring
- Logging & auditing
- Integration with external monitoring systems
- Centralized management console
Security & compliance
- API security with AAA/OAuth
- Data Secunity
- Data Encryption
- Data compliance & governance
Pricing & licensing
- Trial period/POC
- Usage based pricing
- Connector costs
- Data transfer & storage costs
- Scalability and overage costs
- Training/Onboarding costs
At Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS), we help our clients succeed with iPaaS selection and integrations. We provide consultations and end-to-end implementation services to ensure the success of your iPaaS initiatives. Our customer testimonial where we collaborated with Schneider Electric to integrate 21 ERPs across 40 countries using Snaplogic, demonstrates our expertise. To learn about the future of integration, read our whitepaper here.
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