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Simplifying Application Integration: Are iPaaS Solutions Right for You?

Free Guide: Custom HubSpot Integrations

June 10, 2024


By Simon Ross

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions can help you take disparate data and disjointed platforms and create a more harmonious technology ecosystem. For example, do you find yourself copying and pasting data from one program to another or cross-referencing to ensure you have the full picture? An iPaaS solution can be a valuable tool for many in this situation.

But how can you be sure this approach is the right choice for you? Keep reading to learn how you can weigh out your options and determine if an iPaaS solution is the quick fix you need—or if it falls short of your requirements.

What Are IPaaS Solutions?

iPaaS stands for integration platform as a service. Let’s break down that definition:

  • Integration: iPaaS solutions are also sometimes called connector integrations because they bring together otherwise disconnected platforms, enabling them to communicate with each other. For instance, an iPaaS solution could allow you to automatically import data from your CRM into your email marketing platform,
  • Platform: The iPaaS solution is a platform itself, but its sole function is to connect other platforms, allowing them to share data even if they were never designed to work together.
  • As a service: iPaaS solutions follow the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, meaning they are cloud-based and delivered on a subscription basis. Some examples include Zapier and Tray.io, which allow you to integrate applications without any coding expertise. 

Custom HubSpot Integrations Guide

 

When you’re looking at various means of integrating applications, iPaaS solutions fall between the simplicity of using a ready-made integration and the complexity of building a custom integration from scratch. When a native integration doesn’t exist, the question becomes whether to use an iPaaS solution or build your integration from the ground up.

Determining When an iPaaS Solution Makes Sense 

When do iPaaS solutions make sense? These connector integrations can provide a convenient and cost-effective solution in many scenarios. Work through these considerations to determine if an iPaaS solution is a good fit for your situation.

Understand your objective.

First, you must understand exactly what you’re hoping to achieve with this integration. Consider questions such as:

  • What’s your reasoning for developing the integration to begin with? 
  • What data do you need to integrate and why? 
  • How will this integration improve your operational efficiency or your ability to make strategic decisions? 

Understanding your objective(s) can help you make an informed decision about the type of integration you need.  

Consider the complexity.

One of the biggest factors in determining whether an iPaaS solution makes sense versus a fully custom-built integration is the level of complexity involved. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What exactly do you need your integration to do to meet your objective?
  • How many applications do you need to connect?
  • Do you need to clean up or transform your data?
  • How do you need data to flow?

iPaaS solutions are limited in certain needs, such as data transformation or complex data flows, which may necessitate a custom-built integration. For example, iPaaS integrations may be able to accommodate two-way data pushes (though this may require two separate workflows), but a fully custom integration will likely provide more seamless data transfer across multiple platforms. 

Timing is something to consider, too. With an iPaaS solution, data may synchronize every so often or when prompted—but may not do so concurrently. A real-time data synchronization may require a fully bespoke integration built without an iPaaS solution.

Factor in future needs.

As of the end of 2021, more than one-third of B2B marketers have 11 or more tools in their tech stack. For many companies, the list of applications changes and expands frequently, so you need to remain agile.

In addition to supporting your current requirements and goals, an integration should also scale with future needs. So, if you’re learning toward using an iPaaS solution, ask yourself: Will this integration continue to work as data or transaction volumes increase? What happens if new applications enter the mix? 

You may determine that an iPaaS solution is a good fit right now, but re-evaluate periodically to ensure it’s still meeting your needs. You might find that, down the road, you’re ready for a more tailored solution.

Choosing the Right iPaaS Solution

When you determine that iPaaS is the right choice, choosing the right iPaaS solution from the right vendor becomes your next step. Here are some key factors that should influence your decision: 

Ease of Use

One of the main reasons to use an iPaaS solution as opposed to building one from scratch is the ease of use no-code or low-code platforms offer to those without development expertise. Be sure to look for a solution that offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive tools for designing, deploying, and managing your integration.  

Data Conversions and Mapping

Transferring data from one location to another isn’t so useful if that data is in a format that doesn’t map onto existing data. Ensure your chosen iPaaS solution provides robust data conversion capabilities to ensure seamless communication between your disparate systems. 

Security and Compliance

Security is critical when dealing with sensitive data. When you’re looking to sync financial or healthcare data, for example, you can’t allow your iPaaS solution to be a weak link in the chain. Ensure the iPaaS solution adheres to industry security standards and compliance requirements. Look for features such as encryption, authentication, and authorization controls.

Monitoring and Management

Remember, an iPaaS solution is a platform itself—so you want to be able to evaluate that platform’s performance. See whether an iPaaS solution offers helpful monitoring and management capabilities. Ideally, you want real-time visibility into the status of integrations, logging, and error-handling features so you can troubleshoot issues promptly.

Pricing

An iPaaS solution can be more cost-effective than a purpose-built custom integration in some instances, making it a good option for smaller companies with limited resources. Make sure, however, that you understand the pricing model and it really does fit your company’s budget. Consider not only the initial costs but also ongoing expenses, including subscription fees, data transfer costs, and any additional charges for exceeding usage limits.

Successfully Integrating Apps for Optimized Business Performance

The right iPaaS solution can help you enhance operational efficiency and gain deeper insights into your customer lifecycle and your business performance. In some cases, though, the demands of the task necessitate a more custom approach. This is where you’ll need to trust developers with the right expertise to build your integration specifically for your parameters and objectives. 

Not sure what type of integration makes sense for your needs? Learn more in our Custom HubSpot Integrations Guide!

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Learn what a custom HubSpot integration is, when it makes sense to develop one, and how they can make your operations more seamless.

Custom HubSpot Integrations Guide

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Topics: HubSpot, Integrations, HubSpot Technical Reputation