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3 Advantages iPaaS Offers Enterprise Business Today

It's no secret COVID-19 thrust digital transformation onto enterprises across all industries. The pressure to adapt and transform not only ushered in new realities for business leaders but also created a digital divide. Organizations that embraced technology, evolved processes and optimized operations proved success and growth were still possible, despite the pandemic. The enterprise businesses that maintained the status quo and clung to the past, hoping for a return to normalcy, found themselves not just trailing their competition but completely left behind.

The enterprises that are thriving today share a number of strategic commonalities. First, they recognize business and technology strategies must be coupled in this new environment - the organizations understand there's no going back. The 2021 Deloitte Digital Transformation Executive Survey found more digitally mature companies were about twice as likely as lower-maturity ones to report net profit margins and annual revenue growth significantly above their industry averages.

The leaders of these enterprises are also focused on fostering agility and unleashing innovation throughout their entire organizations. The same Deloittte survey found digitally mature companies were over three times more likely than lower-maturity ones to say new digital initiatives spun up during the pandemic were already having a positive impact.

And, most importantly, these successful companies have adopted automation-first approaches to their businesses. In its 2020 global automation survey, Deloitte found 73% of organizations worldwide were using automation technologies, up from 58% the year prior.

Integration Platform as a Service

Automation is undoubtedly the future of business but, to automate effectively, an integration strategy is required. Without an integration strategy, data silos form and disparate tech stacks become unwieldy, which results in business processes breaking down. This is why thriving organizations have embraced integration as part of their digital transformation over the past year and a half.

Known as integration platform as a service (iPaaS), an iPaaS makes it easier to automate business processes, and synchronize and share data across software as a service (SaaS) applications. While individual SaaS apps can help automate manual business processes, the overall accumulation of them - dubbed "the SaaS sprawl" - can easily and quickly overwhelm any organization's digital architecture. In its 2020 SaaS Trends report, Blissfully found the overall spend per company on SaaS products was up 50% compared to 2018. Understandably, information technology (IT) professionals and individual departments have been left trying to figure out how to manage their tech stacks.

The technology around iPaaS isn't new but COVID has underscored the benefits of one platform to modernize and scale business. iPaaS offers enterprise businesses today three distinct competitive advantages:

1.  Automate business processes: iPaaS is a mandatory tool for enterprise businesses because it standardizes the way integrations can be built and managed. Organizations that use iPaaS to connect their apps and automate the business processes across those apps, can remove mundane, error-prone tasks and free up their teams to focus on what they do best. What's more, the process is intuitive, approachable and easy. Anybody can automate a business process - IT programming skills aren't needed. 

Using an iPaaS to automate business processes results in a myriad of benefits across any enterprise. For instance, in finance and accounting, iPaaS presents an opportunity to optimize cash flow by accelerating order-to-cash, and streamlining accounts payable, accounts receivable and reconciliation. Within human resources, iPaaS offers organizations the opportunity to tie all of the pieces together from hiring to offboarding. Support and services teams can also get everyone aligned with the same information - whether it's financials, history, tickets or marketing campaigns.

2.  Uphold data integrity: As departments adopt an increasing number of SaaS apps to manage their day-to-day tasks, they also create data silos, where the information they collect is only available to them. In turn, employees have to re-enter data several times, switch between apps to perform a single task and can't uncover all of the data they need to perform their jobs effectively. Without an iPaaS to help automate these tasks, the process of manually transferring data between apps wastes time, leaves employees vulnerable to mistakes and blocks automation for organizations. 

By moving away from manual processes, enterprise businesses reduce the likelihood of redundancy and errors, while ensuring data safely reaches its destination. Data moves freely between systems with an iPaaS, eliminating the data silos that previously existed.

To stay competitive in this new business environment, enterprises must stay agile. But the ability to make quick, informed decisions hinges on data integrity. Organizations can no longer have their data siloed in disparate apps. 

3.  Leverage pre-built integrations: Savvy enterprise leaders recognize integration today doesn't have to be a complex or tedious process. In fact, the iPaaS market includes providers with marketplaces of pre-built integration apps that can not only automate common business processes from end-to-end but optimize them as well - without coding. 

The trick is to find an integration platform that embeds business logic into managed, pre-built integrations. That business logic is important because it enables both IT and non-IT users to use preconfigured settings to influence downstream flows and achieve the optimal automation of business processes. Best practice learnings from previous deployments and artificial intelligence from implemented processes should comprise the business logic. When the integrations are managed, new capabilities and application programming interface (API) updates are automatic, ensuring business continuity and added value over time.

Since many integration use cases have already been performed and documented, there's no sense in reinventing the wheel and coding everything again. The bottom line is developers don't have to build workflows from scratch anymore. It's possible for anyone in an enterprise to deploy integrations today.

Businesses of all sizes need every advantage they can get in this new environment. Enterprises, in particular, can no longer afford data silos or broken-down business processes. The path to success isn't as complicated as it sounds. With the right strategy and iPaaS tool, organizations can connect their apps, eliminate manual processes and move their businesses forward. The choice is theirs: Adapt and grow or be left behind.



Scott Henderson 

Scott Henderson is the chief technology officer at Celigo, where he oversees product engineering operations and product technology strategy. Scott has worked in the enterprise software space since 2003, focusing largely on emerging technologies and applying them to business software integration problems. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Published Thursday, October 14, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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