A next generation iPaaS platform can modernize a business almost instantly. In fact, many businesses experience this as an “a-ha” moment where they quickly wonder what took them so long to integrate the systems that support their business.
Whether businesses know it yet or not, using an integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is the elixir they need to streamline internal processes, improve the overall experience for end customers and, ultimately, drive revenue.
Why? We’re now well into 2021, and business has never moved at a faster pace. Due to a host of variables, including continually evolving technologies and unpredictable market conditions, business agility is as valuable as ever.
In order to move forward, organizations first need to take a step back and assess the technologies they have at their disposal. In many cases, this collection no doubt includes a number of key systems such as CRMs and ERPs that effectively serve their own purposes. But how do they work together? That’s where an iPaaS comes in.
The emergence of modern iPaaS
Integrating systems isn’t new — businesses have been connecting apps and services where it makes business sense for years. However, these integrations have been simple and straightforward, such as an employer connecting an expense management platform with their employee time tracking and management system.
While these relatively simple use cases are helpful, businesses can soon start to build clusters of connections that are useful but ultimately disparate when looking at the big picture.
The first step to creating a powerful infrastructure: Data preparation
Each system a business uses houses its own data, and it can all vary slightly. For example, an employer might require workers to enter their information into its payroll system, its expense management platform, and its ERP just to get started. When done manually, this information could vary slightly from system to system, leading to potential errors and confusion.
With this being the case, data sitting in CRMs and other systems need to be prepared so it’s all the same “language” and can be used seamlessly across apps and services. This could include standardizing data formats, correcting data where applicable, merging data to eliminate duplicates, and possibly removing any unwanted outliers.
Once this process is complete, a modern iPaaS solution can serve as a single pane of glass to provide a true end-to-end solution that integrates data across the organization, as opposed to delivering it in bits and pieces. When integration is done right, an iPaaS solution is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
What true end-to-end integration looks like
The business world is currently dominated by desires for digital transformation, but what does that really mean for organizations? While it likely varies somewhat based on factors including the type and size of a business, the end result is the same: using modern technology to get the most out of the mounds of data an organization has to ultimately future-proof the business.
When it comes to API integration and iPaaS, savvy IT leaders are creating reusable, 360-degree views of their customers so they can engage with them at every touchpoint. The key component to a successful iteration of this “API360” strategy involves pre-built templates that optimize integrations across systems. Using the right mix of solutions democratizes and enables a business to react to problems because the templates are already built and can be used by those who may not have extensive technical know-how quickly. Integrating highly popular systems such as Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Shopify, Workday, and many others enables this view across the customer journey, creating a better experience and longer-lasting customer and employee relationships.
At a high level, this 360-degree approach is supported by four main pillars:
- Application connectors: These are pre-built and reusable connections to a specific endpoint, such as Workday for HR professionals. Connectors share data and make it easy to interact directly with an endpoint’s API or data exchange protocols.
- Integration recipes: Recipes are essentially pre-built integrations projects that move data in one direction between two applications or systems. On a basic level, this could mean account or product data sent from a CRM system to an ERP platform.
- Process templates: These are pre-built integrations that accelerate specific processes using data across multiple applications or systems. Jumping back to the example for HR professionals, this could mean streamlining data and processes between a compensation management system and a performance management system.
- Delivery services: Fixed-scope, pre-packaged professional services have the ability to extend process templates via customization to additional objects and endpoints. This allows IT teams to recommend best practices and help scale use cases based on their organization’s individual needs and requirements.
An iPaaS platform that includes any or all of these resources can modernize a business almost instantly. In fact, many businesses experience this as an “a-ha” moment where they quickly wonder what took them so long to integrate the systems that support their business.
The next generation of iPaaS
Digital transformation and a 360-degree approach to API integrations not only align, but in some cases, they are one and the same. As the area becomes more mature and widespread, exciting new innovations using the likes of AI and robotic process automation (RPA) are joining the fold, adding more promise and ultimately delivering an improved experience for both internal and external users.
The possibilities really are endless. It’s now possible, for example, to create chatbots that help field workers navigate and request the resources they need in a way that’s speedy, human-like, and with complete and real-time access to key data from across the organization. The outcome is workflows that are significantly more efficient, boosting morale among employees and satisfaction levels among customers.