The cloud is no more in a rarified atmosphere. Everyone is busy finding tenancy for their enterprise applications such as email, CRM, BPM, service portals, anti-virus services, etc. in the cloud. Applications and data, depending on the business needs, are now spread over on-premise and cloud environments. The challenge is to integrate enterprise data across these environments. This has given birth to a solution called Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). iPaaS has been busy hogging the spotlight, clearly evidenced by the fact that Gartner already has a crowded magic quadrant for the technology.
In essence, iPaaS is a platform that makes real-time integration of cloud-to-cloud, on-premise-to-cloud and on-premise-to-on-premise processes, applications and data possible without the complications of installing a middle layer of hardware and software or using any form of re-coding or re-architecting. Built on modern, lightweight and flexible standards like JSON and REST, iPaaS solutions have the ability to scale in and out elastically when needed while supporting a variety of modern and legacy data sources and systems.
One recent survey by Snaplogic saw 59% of respondents say that the key driver for adopting iPaaS was the "speed and time to value". Respondents also took issue with legacy, on-premises tools to address cloud integration requirements, with 43% noting the high expense of hardware and software purchases and configurations. More than a third (35%) said change management is painful in legacy tools where end point changes mean integration re-work. Clearly, iPaaS offers a neat workaround, allowing organizations to meet the demands of integration as new web, social and mobile services proliferate.
Although iPaaS is in its early stages, it has been filtering down fairly fast. The service is not meant for only a handful of large organizations. In fact, providers of the subscription-based service boast of long customer lists that run into thousands.
The current trend of cloud enablement of applications is a given. There is no turning back on the trend. Current legacy integration techniques leveraging ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) and XLM (Extensible Markup Language) are poor fits for environments that require rapid integration across applications in a fast-changing business environment. However, iPaaS providers with proven expertise in ESB, ETL and XML based integrations can expect to have their nose ahead of others in the business.
If you haven't already started, look out for the right iPaaS provider for your business - because iPaaS will play a pivotal role in how you respond to the challenge of Big Data, Analytics, Mobile and Social.