At a high level, iPaaS stands for integration platform as a service. As an arm of master data management, iPaaS helps anyone integrate data, applications, and processes from a common platform.
Often, iPaaS helps manage legacy infrastructure via automated tools. IPaaS also helps end users improve how on-premise and/or cloud applications function by controlling their data flows from a central web interface.
Types of Integrations
Just what kinds of integrations are we talking about? In general there are four types of integrations, each involving cloud applications and/or on-premise software:
1. Cloud → On-premise
2. On premise → Cloud
3. Cloud → Cloud
4. On-premise → On-premise
While there are many iPaaS solutions that help manage on-premise solutions, overall the trend has been toward the cloud, where you choose from pre-built connectors, then configure business rules, mappings and transformations that facilitate the development of integration flows and application programming interface (API) management.
Bedrock Data Sync is a prime example of such mappings and workflows, for cloud-to-cloud integrations.
For instance, you could choose from pre-built connectors such as HubSpot, Connectwise, Infusionsoft, or Autotask. Once you select at least two connectors, you can sync data in one or both directions, depending on the rules you create.
And so now for the integration part of iPaaS. Let's say you chose HubSpot and Connectwise as your connectors. You could then map objects like contact, company, and opportunity, managing data quality in one place without having to install or manage any hardware or middleware.
How does iPaaS work?
By creating a virtual platform, iPaaS connects applications and resources to create a consistent structure. Typically, iPaaS vendors also supply the server and data infrastructures, as well as middleware and other software tools for building, testing, deploying and managing software applications.
Some iPaaS providers may even offer integration services to help customers learn the data maps and transformations, as well as the pre-built connectors and business rules for defining workflows. So while the customer manage their data, ultimately the iPaaS vendor creates the rules and infrastructure that enable such data management.
Bedrock Data Sync, for example, has a database and server between the cloud applications which allow them to talk to one another. In its interface, you can manage your mappings, custom fields, download reports, and add more connectors. Bedrock Data Fusion, another iPaaS solution, also offers pre-built connectors, a tool for mapping custom fields, so you can automate ETL and data prep at the push of a button.
Why iPaaS is the Future
Current market research shows that iPaaS is a fast growing industry. One iPaaS market report estimates the iPaaS market size will grow to USD 2,998.3 Million by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41.5%. This statistic shows that more businesses are investing in integrations that are:
- Easy to use
- Low cost
- Quick to set up
- No-code, no-IT
In other words, they want control over their integrations. To choose how contacts data syncs between cloud applications. To build their own custom field mappings. And to ETL customer data into their own cloud data warehouse. All at the push of a button.