Cloud-based integration holds many advantages for businesses in dynamic marketplaces. Flexibility and scalability are just the tip of the iceberg of the benefits that can be experienced with Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). In this blog I will explore some common business problems that iPaaS can help businesses solve.
1. Large infrastructure lead times that turn into long project turnaround times
We’ve all been there. A major new project comes along. It has massive volume forecasts, way more than the current platform is designed to handle. Even if a company uses virtual machines (VMs) it is still constrained by the hardware underneath the VM.
Buying enterprise grade hardware is not cheap and it definitely is not fast. There is the sales lead time, budget planning, the purchase approval, the ordering, the delivery, the physical installation, the setup, the software installation and configuration.
Compare this with iPaaS platforms who tout their easy onramping, quick time to market and scalability lead times as key differentiators. This makes sense as they are a kind of wholesale shop, with CPU processing volumes in stock for sale. This is, after all, where they make their money and the faster they can provide a new client/existing client with cloud CPU cores the better for everyone involved.
2. Transient Integration requirements
When there are temporary integration requirements, such as once off world sporting or conference events that a business would like to take advantage of without incurring long term costs, an iPaaS with optional annual renewal can be the knight in shining armour. I would surmise that with the iPaaS landscape set to become extremely competitive we’re not far away from a month by month costing option, which would make this even more of an advantage.
3. Consolidating legacy siloed integration platforms
Large companies more often than not have problems consolidating integration platforms. These could have originated because of differing domain responsibilities across departments or the amalgamation of companies each with their own integration platform. This leads to problems like inter-departmental office politics, effort duplication, differing ways of doing things, unnecessary complexity, domain responsibility grey areas, and of course additional cost of running separate integration teams & environments.
Simply placing the people from multiple departments into one integration department doesn’t solve the problems. It takes some difficult tightrope walking to consolidate the platforms and there are difficult questions like which platform to consolidate to, which technology, which skill-set, which procedures, create a new platform or use an existing one, consolidated platform capacity, effect on BAU, cost of consolidation, time to market, etc.
This is where an iPaaS can fill the gap quickly. It can provide a ‘neutral’ platform, with no legacy baggage, in an amazingly short amount of time. It can cut out a lot of the difficulty surrounding the technology consolidation and leave the team free to focus on procedures, standards, business value, service consolidation roadmap and the like.
4. Consolidation of cost
No need to have master agreements with multiple vendors such as hardware, OS, application server, ESB software, database vendor, hardware consultants and database consultants.
An iPaaS provides a single, easy to understand cost that hides all of these layers. This consolidated cost reduces the complexity and there are also cost savings inherent in this reduced complexity as less time is spent in procurement and setup processes by various resources. These resources are then free to focus on other areas or projects which has onward benefits for the whole company.
5. Core Business Focus
Apart from the flexibility and scalability that cloud-based integration platforms provide, they also come with “out-of-the-box” templates, adapters, and standards/protocols that ensure a quick time to market for businesses without getting consumed in technical difficulty.
With templates providing standard patterns for common integration scenarios, a wide range of pre-built adapters providing near instantaneous access to common application systems (and common functionality), and common business focussed protocols (together with concurrent graphical interfaces), the iPaaS gives a business all the tools required to design and deploy a business process, product or service to enable or support a specific business goal. Of course, where there is a requirement for more complex ‘custom’ integrations to be built, this can be done in an iPaaS.
A cloud-based integration platform reduces internal technical complexity for businesses so they can get on with their core business.