An Introduction to iPaaS — The Solution to Software Chaos
It’s no secret that we’re surrounded by more apps and software platforms than ever before. You only need to pull out your smartphone to see multiple examples of this in action.
As individuals and consumers, we rely on this software in countless ways. Businesses, too, are growing more and more dependent on third-party apps and programs. In fact, since 2015 the average number of apps per company has risen by 43%.
In lots of ways, this is a great thing. It means more convenience, better ways of doing things, and savings in time and cost. It benefits businesses internally and externally. However, it comes with some downsides, too.
Why Software Isn’t Integrated
Applications are a little like fast food restaurants — people rarely use just one, they prefer to mix and match a little. So a business might be using several different software services to take care of, say, different aspects of their accounting.
As a result, organisations are relying on increasingly vast fleets of software, all from different providers. The result is a bunch of scattered, fragmented third-party platforms — doing different parts of the same job but doing them separately.
On top of this, businesses store their own data in different locations. The average company uses 464 custom applications: 39% of which are deployed in the cloud and 61% in their own data centres.
So companies are failing to integrate their third-party apps, their own cloud-based data, and their own on-site data.
The result? Slower processes, confusion, data loss, and unhappy customers. It’s not good enough.
How to Fix Things
Deleting apps isn’t the answer here. Many apps do a specific task incredibly well but aren’t well-suited to anything outside that. That means the best way to accomplish an overall goal is often by combining several pieces of software.
Organisations need to start integrating this software, bringing platforms and apps together into the same system instead of using dozens or hundreds of different ones.
This makes life easier for customers and businesses alike while failing to do it results in slow, clunky processes and falling behind the curve.
This is why iPaaS (integrated Platform as a Service) exists. In this article, we’ll take a look at what iPaaS is, what it does, and how businesses can benefit from it.
What is iPaaS
Integrated Platform as a Service exists to bring together all the systems and apps a company uses, integrating them and building one centralised system.
An iPaaS helps standardise the flow of information between apps and manage data. To return to the accountancy apps example: an iPaaS can integrate a company’s invoicing software with its payment system to streamline the billing process. This both saves time and reduces the risk of errors due to mismanaged data.
Here are some of the key things an iPaaS can do:
- Execute integration flows
- Develop integrations and manage their lifecycle within the platform
- Manage and monitor application flows to make processes more efficient
So let’s take a look at how these features translate into benefits for companies.
Why Should Companies Consider iPaaS?
An iPaaS can save enormous amounts of time and significantly improve the efficiency of business processes. So what does that mean, in terms of concrete benefits for your business?
- You can more easily integrate existing software instead of having to expand your own. For example, instead of spending time and money on building out your own accounting software, you can simply pay for a third-party platform and connect it to your system.
- It helps you scale. By bringing in data from all kinds of different environments like mobile, cloud, and on-site, an iPaaS can help your organisation grow and expand more easily and effectively.
- It’s convenient. With an iPaaS, everything is in one place. There’s no need to manually transfer data between different locations and apps, which saves time and avoids data loss or confusion.
- It’s secure. An iPaaS delivers a centralised system, which makes it easier to both identify threats and implement all-encompassing security measures.
Examples of integrations iPaaS can facilitate
If a business software application offers an API, we can use iPaaS to integrate. In many cases, the technical integration task is the simplest component of an integration project. Success starts at the planning phase where the 'what' and why' questions are answered and inefficiencies are uncovered.
Your business may have already considered one of the following integrations below;
- E-commerce website and point of sale
- ERP and financial accounting system
- CRM and marketing cloud platform
- Travel booking system and CRM
- Hotel booking system and e-commerce website
- Website to CRM
Kongo’s HubSpot Integrations
When it comes to marketing, apps and software are especially important. They can take care of all stages of the process, from lead acquisition to email automation, making a complex and multi-layered undertaking much more streamlined.
However, the sheer number of separate apps and platforms involved can make for a chaotic jumble of technology. This is one area where iPaaS has a seriously important role to play.
At Kongo, we understand that a good iPaaS can be transformative for a business. That’s why we’ve developed our own systems to integrate HubSpot with leading CRMs and a range of applications to make content management as streamlined as it can be.
We want our clients to be able to use HubSpot in tandem with their existing processes and data in the most efficient way possible. That means:
- Sharing data easily between platforms
- Marketing across a range of channels
- Placing customer data, marketing permissions, and analytics data in the correct area with help from HubSpot’s API, where the information can be used to capture leads and guide them into the customer cycle
We’ve already built several integrations allowing our users to combine their processes with HubSpot more efficiently. These include:
- MindBody and HubSpot
- SMS communications and HubSpot
- Netsuite and HubSpot
- Custom apps and HubSpot
- POS systems and HubSpot
In the future, integration is going to be more and more important. As businesses rely increasingly on cloud technology and draw on a growing arsenal of third-party apps, bringing those disparate platforms together is going to become more vital than ever.
Investing in a good iPaaS now is laying the foundations for how software will work in the future, and it’s well worth learning the basics.