There are a multitude of options available for data integration and automation platforms to find the right fit. According to Gartner analysts, Integration Platforms as a Service — or iPaaS — are laying the groundwork for the digital future by replacing outdated solutions with one unified platform.
As a developer on Integrity’s St. Louis web development team, I always enjoy sharing the latest web development advancements that can improve our clients’ online ecosystems. Here’s what you should know about iPaaS data integration and its impact on your business.
Data integration has always been a requirement for efficient business operations. From the days of punch card decks and mainframes — to the use of the personal computers, the infancy of the internet, and the development of large systems — getting data from one department to another, from one system to another, has always been a challenge.
Some companies use universal solutions like IBM or Microsoft. Other solutions include integrations that can be extended by others, like PeopleSoft or SAP CRM, which creates a complicated web of multiple integrations crossing paths causing errors. Either way, in the end, businesses buying into these integration solutions end up in the same situation: whichever vendor they chose, they become. Businesses are limited by the prevention of data sharing.
Unified data integration platforms like iPaaS are replacing outdated solutions like ETL and APIs. ETL (or extract, transform and load) software is a data integration process that combines data from multiple sources into a single store that is then loaded into a data warehouse. API, or application programming interface, is a set of tools, definitions and protocols that are required for integrating web application software and services in order to communicate with other products and services.
With the rise in web technology, errors with extracting data sets for departments or services are exposed. Once the business data is accessible across the companies’ service departments, the data can then use a common communication channel and the HTTP protocol on which its built to seamlessly integrate the different systems together.
As the vendors’ legacy systems migrate to new systems through web development, the ETL and interfaces can migrate with them, allowing anything already using the ETL and interfaces to continue operating without interruption!
With the rise of cloud computing, integration across HTTP can be centralized and managed as part of the cloud infrastructure. Thus, the concept of iPaaS was born.
But never fear: you can escape vendor-locked chains with the help of a web support team that can create services that extract, transform and load data from one system to another. To put iPaaS to use in your business, the first step is to identify the business departments or services that have to maintain or access a specific set of data.
For example, an HR department needs to know employee data, and a sales team needs to know customer data, so they probably don’t need to know about each others’ data. But a customer service help desk needs to know customer data to handle incoming requests and also might need to know employee data to dispatch tickets to the appropriate team to handle customer complaints.
By providing customer data to the sales and customer service teams and sharing employee data for the HR and customer service departments, the changes made by one team are available to the other teams to use as needed.
One of Integrity’s clients was having data-sharing issues across the following departments: HR, Finance, IT, Sales, and Customer Service. Each department needed one or more data sets to carry out their duties. These data sets can be internal, or they can be external.
Some of the internal data sets with and correlating business departments that use them include:
The key to any iPaaS effort is to identify these data silos, make them accessible via a web service or ETL process, and then integrate them into a workflow. Integrity’s web development team can help you with the discovery of your needs as well as the integration into a workflow.
Once the data concerns (silos) and their users (departments) are identified, Integrity can begin the process of integrating each data silo into each department’s workflow. There are several popular iPaaS solutions Integrity uses, including:
Formerly under the Microsoft BizTalk brand, the Azure Logic Apps iPaaS provider integrates well with even legacy .Net ecosystems while paving the way for modernization with .Net Core and other technologies.
Dell Boomi is backed by Dell/EMC and can run on Azure, AWS, GCP, or a privately hosted or in-house system. It requires a bit more web development than cloud-native iPaaS providers, but it can be made to fit any scenario, even ones that are difficult to support in other providers’ systems.
The AWS Application Integration iPaaS solution is built on open-source technologies with Apache Airflow at its core. It leverages standardized protocols and Amazon’s cloud to achieve its flexibility.
Informatica includes the ability to monetize APIs for external users allowing for add-on products and provides up-sell opportunities to existing customers. One possible use would be to charge recruiters and employers an API usage fee to integrate full job listings into their own sites, while maintaining tracking metrics for the listing data.
iPaas keeps data self-contained and prevents fragmentation, but it allows your organization to share data across all business departments. It seamlessly interfaces with various sources of data but hides their complexities.
iPaaS facilitates migrations and updates to your data systems without disrupting users at any level. And, it scales as your business grows. Since they integrate with one another, Integrity can help you incorporate one iPaaS or multiple platforms, allowing you to achieve the flexibility to mold and grow your business.
And once you have your data integrated, make sure you’re leveraging it correctly. Our web analytics team can help you make sense of your data with expertise and real-time tools like Google Data Studio.
Your business’s data may seem endless and overwhelming, but we can help you take care of its integration and management so you can focus on what you do best.
Looking for a St. Louis web development team that can create clear, safe communication between your business departments’ data? Integrity’s full-service web development agency is here to help. Drop us a line today.
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