Five iPaaS best practices that help organizations gain better control of the growing number of applications and services they are using and allow them to reap the full benefits of their SaaS investments.
The rise in rapid digital transformation, the shift to remote work, and the growing proliferation of SaaS applications have made it more challenging to extract value from IT investments because they are not fully integrated across the enterprise. These initiatives often involve siloed purchases and disconnected processes, which decrease overall productivity and innovation throughout an organization. In an effort to manage the sprawl and connect data applications across the business, many organizations have gravitated to integration platforms as a service (iPaaS). However, legacy iPaaS solutions have fallen short of the promise of enterprise-wide automation.
Even with some basic integrations in place, most business processes are not truly automated, leaving processes broken and organizations vulnerable during a blistering recession. To get true value from major initiatives and company assets — including digital transformation, business processes, and SaaS apps — organizations must connect them in a way that provides more relevant data and insights so they can make better, faster decisions while allowing non-technical business users to automate what they can, freely and safely.
A modern iPaaS solution, paired with a careful, methodical implementation approach, can fulfill the enterprise-wide automation promise that IT leaders have long been expecting.
iPaaS Implementation: Five Best Practices
Organizations should follow these five key steps with iPaaS to optimize and automate all of their business processes.
1. Create a roadmap
Companies need to build an automation roadmap that is aligned with their business initiatives and establishes a vision of what those initiatives will look like over the next 12 to 24 months.
This stage should include documenting the organization’s current state, including where systems are located and how data is being moved among these systems. This enables the organization to establish a baseline and identify which business systems are not integrated, which integrations are forthcoming, and which systems can be customized as needed.
In addition, this phase should include mapping business initiatives to business processes. That includes listing all applications and identifying those that involve slow, resource-intensive processes. Teams will also need to identify the systems and data that must be 100 percent accurate at all times. Those are the systems that are most critical to the business.
Finally, during this phase, teams should establish timelines and define criteria for success for each of the initiatives.
2. Prioritize desired business outcomes
What is the organization hoping to achieve with iPaaS? This phase involves prioritizing those initiatives that align with outcomes that achieve impactful wins and enhance the overall business.
Making incremental improvements alone will not necessarily enhance the business unless initiatives are focused on what kind of impact they will have on key outcomes.
Examples of critical outcomes might include increases in revenue, reduced operating costs, increases in productivity, improvements in customer experience, and greater differentiation from competitors.
3. Democratize automation and integration
The value of an iPaaS is best achieved by using a federated model that allows organizations to let non-technical business users automate and integrate key processes and applications. This allows the implementation of business process automation by the teams that are actually handling the business processes while still working under the oversight and governance provided by centralized IT through the use of the iPaaS.
While IT is vital for success, digital transformation tends to work best when organizations take a federated approach that allows various departments to initiate automation on their own. IT can still play an oversight role when it makes sense.
This is why it is critical for organizations to have an actual iPaaS platform. Not all iPaaS solutions are created equal – many require software engineers to manage integrations, let alone build new ones. A tangible, proven platform enables the federated model by allowing business users to automate using pre-built integrations while still giving IT teams oversight because it is built into one single platform.
4. Select the right platform from the start
Organizations must be vigilant about selecting the right technology solution to meet their short-term and long-term goals. Standardizing on a bona fide iPaaS platform that provides all the right features and functionality from the get-go will hasten success with timely digital transformation initiatives.
Ideally, the right iPaaS platform will provide agility, enabling business users to employ the applications they need while freeing up developers to work on more complex projects.
To achieve that, organizations should look for a platform that provides guaranteed data delivery, data governance and compliance, built-in monitoring and management, ways to help teams understand errors and recovery processes through standardization, and a well-designed user interface that enables non-developers to create, modify, and manage integrations.
5. Hasten error detection to resolve issues as they arise
It is important to select an iPaaS platform that will allow both IT and non-technical users to easily detect errors and resolve any issues as quickly as possible. There will be many times when business users need to make critical updates themselves instead of asking busy, understaffed IT teams to do that work for them.
A model iPaaS solution should not just provide lists of errors that quickly can become overwhelming but instead should leverage cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically remove noise and actually resolve errors where possible. But a solid, cutting-edge iPaaS platform can detect flaws early on that have slipped through the cracks that could negatively impact automation and integration.
Following these five iPaaS best practices will help organizations gain better control of the growing number of applications and services they are using and reap the full benefits of their SaaS investments.