Everything You Need To Know About Software Integrations

How To Position Your Business For Success With iPaaS

Automation is more than a trend. It is the future. Any business that values success needs to automate. Ignoring the leverage integrations provide places your company on the path to stagnation and irrelevance.

While daunting at its surface, integration platform as a service (iPaaS) provides a simple solution for businesses automation. Still, many businesses are hesitant to make the transition and embrace the change. As a result, these companies stand poised to lose and lose big in the coming months. We are already experiencing the undertow signaling the tidal wave of change that’s heading our way.

To better see how automations can grow your business, we first have to look at the catalyst behind this transition, the source of the undertow: the digital transformation. Successfully implementing integrations rests in understanding how this growing phenomenon continues to drive the adoption of new technologies by businesses who value goals beyond survival.

What Is The Digital Transformation?

Every era has its major technological advancements. The printing press. The car. The internet. The smartphone. And with each breakthrough, there is an initial period of doubt until its benefits grow abundantly clear.

Then there’s a shift.

More and more people see the potential advantages that this new technology offers. When enough people embrace the innovation, others notice and then everyone rushes towards the change. Known as the diffusion of innovations theory, it persists throughout the emergence of any new idea, product, and behavior.

The current growing trend is in automations, and the coming tidal wave is the digital transformation.

The digital transformation is a pivot. It’s the understanding that SaaS’s value will continue to grow. With each new app comes the promise of more efficiency, lower costs, and better service. Staying relevant isn’t about keeping up with everyone else, it’s about positioning your company to have the edge.

The right combination of applications that streamline your business gives you that edge. It allows your company to stay relevant while developing a deeper connection to your customer base. And with those functions comes the need to integrate all these systems together.

The move to incorporate the right combination of useful technological elements into existing business models is what rests at the heart of the digital transformations.

But it’s not without its problems.

How Can Your Company Benefit From The Digital Transformation?

The sheer amount of data out there your company can implement for growth is vast. And the need to push for a transformation is real. There is a graveyard full of companies who failed to follow innovation trends: Kodac, Blockbuster, HMV, Compaq, and many others.

These companies failed because they refused to adopt technological advancements. Irrelevant, the market shifted and these companies slipped away. The sad truth is that companies that fail to follow the trend of digital transformation and adapt will succumb to the same fate.

We’re on the brink of a major shift towards massive technological adoptions across the board for companies in a way unlike any other. This is evident by the sheer growth in public cloud revenue. Gartner projects it at 17.3 percent market growth in 2019, totaling $206.2 billon.

More companies are using more and more SaaS products. Average SMBs uses over 20 paid SaaS apps, over 30 free apps, and spends $20,000 each month on SaaS products in 2018. And that’s just SMBs. Large companies use many, many more.

These systems provide value for companies by boosting efficiencies across the business ecosystem. Front office, back office, supply chain, and more, the possibility for software integrations and automations for businesses are endless. But with each new addition comes new streams of data. That data has to be captured, stored, and integrated. And when we’re living in an era where companies have more data than they can handle, which poses a problem.

Data Is The Advantage

This isn’t news to anyone. But how vital a role data plays in the success of a company has been and continues to be overlooked. Many companies are failing to become data-driven. And more often, one can easily gauge the future success of companies by whether or not they can adequately capture, and more importantly, use customer data to their advantage.

When a company can more accurately paint a picture of their customers and their needs, they can better tailor an experience that speaks to their customer base. With a single customer view, they can address those specific needs, strengthening the bond between customer and brand through service.

Businesses that can’t provide this increased level of support, those that can’t or refuse to cater to their customers’ precise needs, those that struggle to respond, and those that rely on generalizations or hunches, will fail. Their customers choose businesses that do over them.

And yet, the solution isn’t as simple as just gathering more data. It’s not as straightforward as implementing more SaaS applications. It’s not as easy as connecting more devices. These are all great starting steps toward positioning your company for success in the coming digital transformation. But there’s a greater problem that has to be overcome: seamlessly connecting all these data streams. Without that, and you’re left with even more problems.

Siloing Data Creates Bottlenecks

In every business rests the desire to integrate data seamlessly across all platforms. And yet, for too long, companies have attempted to juggle several different information siloes with growing problems. We’re now at a point where the massive inflow of more data means that a company has to move beyond siloing data if it wants to succeed.

SaaS applications bring new problems for data management. Some systems can interact with a company’s current ERP, others can’t. When that happens, a business requests IT create an integration for the app to their current platforms. If they find that the cost justifies it. If they don’t, but still want to use the app, then departments are forced to manually connect the new data streams.

These are two very ineffective solutions.

Individualized IT integrations are costly and time-consuming. When updates occur, those systems need to be updated as well. And when a business switches systems, these integrations often need to be rebuilt. As a result, many companies stick with older, outdated, and often ineffective systems rather than deal with the expense. Meanwhile, their competition surpasses them.

Manual data capture invites costly errors. Manual data entry is a menial task few enjoy. Efforts result in duplicate, incomplete, or even lost data. Data errors are also expensive. The Harvard business review estimates that it costs the US roughly $3 trillion each year. That’s because not only does fixing errors require time, it can lead businesses to costly mistakes.

Businesses need a strategy that allows them to stay current with the latest applications while collecting and implementing data in a way that paints a single customer view, all while avoiding IT backlogs, data bottlenecks, and massive costs. AND that information must move from on-premise, cloud, mobile, and IoT systems seamlessly.

These problems, inherent in using the growing streams of data, prevent many companies from taking the necessary steps towards adapting to the digital transformation.

Fortunately, integrations provides a solution.

What Is Integration Platform As A Service (iPaaS)?

iPaaS is the solution for a business struggling to maintain relevance in a shifting landscape. When a business looks for software solutions, they choose applications that will provide the best benefits for specific tasks. While in an ideal world, a business would source all of its solutions from one company for seamless integration, sadly reality makes optimizing your business more complicated.

In our competitive business environment, each SaaS company offers has its flagship products, like any other company. Some companies simply do things better than other companies. This means that a business can either accept a product because it’s “easier” to integrate, or they can cherry pick the best of the best products.

Any successful business is going to source the best products that benefit their customers and their business. This means that companies can have dozens of applications that they use. All of them need to be able to communicate with each other.

But it gets worse.

As IoT gains momentum, there will be even more streams of data to capture and systems to integrate into the vastly growing network of information flowing around any given company. Gartner predicts 20.4 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2020.

While SaaS products have APIs, that allow them to connect, there still needs to be a platform that connects them to targeted systems.

How Does iPaaS Work?

To best see how iPaaS works, it helps to picture a hypothetical. Let’s imagine you’re a retailer. You use Salesforce for your CRM, WorkDay for your HRM, and Azule for various other tasks while also managing APIs for several IoT devices throughout the company. Without iPaaS, you would have to dedicate team members to input data streams from these applications manually.

Maybe you already do…

And that’s when spreadsheets start to pile up.

This takes what would be a streamlined process and turns it into a time-intensive, unnecessarily complex, error-bound chore. It also limits the flexibility of this data across the business model as a whole, limiting your insight, and inhibiting your ability to plan more accurate paths to success.

IPaaS bypasses all of this.

The solution involves working with an iPaaS vendor that helps you integrate the applications you need into your existing business software infrastructure. With the right iPaaS vendor, you’ll either have access to connectors or you can request a specific build for a fraction of the cost and time. The end result is a company that seamlessly integrates various applications that benefit the company as a whole.

What Benefits Does iPaaS Offer?

There are significant, numerous benefits in using iPaaS. Fully understanding the role iPaaS can play in growing your business will position you for future success while staying ahead of the digital transformation. Here are a few ways iPaaS can give your company the edge:

  • Easy to Use: Many vendors use browsers to implement integrations. Through graphical interfaces, anyone can easily connect processes together without looking at any code.
  • Comparatively Low Cost: It’s much cheaper to work with an iPaaS vendor with access to multiple connectors for various APIs than it is to backlog your IT department with an endless list of build requests. Businesses only need to pay for a subscription service to the platform rather than paying an IT department to build connections from scratch.
  • Fast: Typical IT solutions can take weeks or months to complete. An iPaaS vendor will most likely already have several of the solutions you need on stand by. And they’re able to build custom connections far more rapidly.
  • Greater Efficiency: IPaaS automates tasks. Successful implementation leads to less time wasted on menial tasks like repetitive data entry. Computers are simply better at processing these tasks faster.
  • Better Business Practices: Automation frees up employees to undergo complex, time-consuming tasks, such as customer support or strategic processes. With more time available to employees, businesses can position themselves above the competition.
  • Highly-Effective Data Integration: With a more dynamic and accurate perspective of gathered data, businesses can avoid costly mistakes by making truly data-backed decisions.
  • Accurate Customer Data: With more accurate data comes a clearer picture. Being able to pull data from multiple sources while eliminating errors and duplications, presents a clear customer profile that businesses can more directly serve.
  • Scalable: Current business platforms can inhibit growth as some new applications may be ineffective without integrations. As a result, businesses may avoid acquiring new programs to interface with and grow. IPaaS makes it easier to stay competitive by seamlessly integrating new technological innovations as they come to market.
  • Secure: Cloud-based systems have an added element of security that on-premise systems lack. This is because many businesses lack the resources to deploy more advanced cybersecurity and physical security measures.

Is iPaaS Needed?

The real question here is, can my company succeed without integrations? Or rather, can it survive? The market for developing software based business solutions is only going to increase because the need is constantly increasing. The real spend for businesses on these solutions is there (projections have SaaS spend doubling by 2020). As more developers create new and exciting technologies, businesses are going to rush to implement this software into their companies to give them an edge.

Businesses that cannot keep up and adequately implement new services will be left behind for companies that can. The problems inherent in relying on a business model with pieces stuck and glued together and employees trying to hold it all up can only last so long. As more and more applications come out, the struggle to juggle all these components will also grow. If a company tries to stick with a clunky, un-automated structure, they’ll stagnate, lose relevance, and ultimately fail as the whole mess comes crashing down.

Which iPaaS Vendors Stand Out?

If you’re in the market to adapt to the changing business environment, then you have plenty of options. There is a long list of prospective iPaaS vendors offering integrations solutions to your help company stay competitive. This is a very small sampling of the best iPaaS software platforms available at the moment.

Workato

Founded in 2013, they’ve helped over 21,000 companies with integrated solutions. Workato provides a cloud-native platform for integrations, data, app, API, and process automation. And an easy to use platform allows IT and business professionals to build and manage integrations. Workato also uses AI-powered workbots to maximize workflows.

SnapLogic

Whether you’re looking to connect apps, data, or IoT devices, SnapLogic offers a platform that allows businesses to utilize integration solutions. SnapLogic provides an AI-powered, cloud-based platform that allows businesses to drop and “snap” integrations together.

Mulesoft

Mulesoft is a software platform that relies on modern APIs, linking systems together and allowing companies governance over that data. It’s a Java-based ESB that allows for real-time connectivity and universal deployment (both in cloud and on-premise).

Dell Boomi

Dell Boomi is a 100 percent cloud-native platform that supports a variety of integrations from SaaS to on-premise to various clouds. It also uses a browser for easy access, offers real-time connectivity, and high-volume data processing.

Zapier

Zapier uses personalized integrations called “zaps” to get different applications to share information. The zaps control how and when applications exchange information. Slack, Salesforce, and Paypal are a few of the integrations commonly provided.

What’s The Best Way To Integrate For Your Company?

There are dozens of iPaaS vendors out there. And perhaps, most precariously, is that the future lifespan of some of these companies is bleak. Projections have 67 percentage of iPaaS vendors failing by 2023. This means you want to choose the right iPaaS vendor.

Additionally, you need to choose the right platform for your business. Some iPaaS vendors prioritize ease of implementation, others speed, others cater to more niche needs. Different platforms mesh better with different goals.

Finding the right iPaaS vendor begins with understanding your company’s culture and mission, so you can choose a platform that will best serve your company. This involves understanding how various iPaaS vendors stack up against each other.

One simple way to find the right integrations solution without unnecessary spend is to consult an integration specialist to facilitate the process.

What Is An Integration Specialist?

While integrations can make your business run smoother and perform at a level that keeps it competitive, implementing automations can be more than a challenge. It can be downright overwhelming. And the initial costs means that there is a lot of pressure to make sure you pick the right integrations platform for your business. But with so many options and with so many intricacies of each vendor, there’s a lot of room for error.

Integrations specialists facilitate a smooth transition by bridging that gap and providing the necessary expertise. They work with your company, analyzing your goals and evaluating your business model, so they can help you build a strategy for successful integrations.

Your integrations specialist will:

  • Evaluate your business and see where automations would best benefit
  • Help you choose the right iPaaS platform for your company
  • Work with you to create a roadmap for future automations
  • Answer questions about the process such as what to expect, how long the process can take, and which processes can benefit the most with automations
  • Guide you through a strategic approach for integrations to grow your business without anxiety

How Can Quandary Consulting Group Help My Company?

At Quandary Consulting Group, we work with you to take your business to the next level. We understand the value of integrations and the immense difficulty facing businesses looking to stay ahead of the digital transformation. Our Integration Specialists work with your business to find out your specific business needs and show you where automations will work best for your business growth.

Cut costs. Grow your business. Truly reach your customers using more complete data. Learn more about how you can leverage integrations to grow your business by contacting Quandary Consulting Group for a free consultation.

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