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Why You Need Integration as a Platform (iPaaS)

by Mei Selvage  |  March 21, 2016  |  4 Comments

The explosion of SaaS and PaaS — coupled with mobile, big data and IoT — has increased integration work and complexity. Organizational data is no longer centrally stored and managed in corporate data centers. Instead, it is scattered everywhere. Meanwhile, application developers, line of business (LOB) IT services and business users (aka “citizen integrators”) are increasingly involved with integration work, in addition to the integration specialists. Gartner calls this new situation “pervasive integration.”

Many organizations have used embedded integration capabilities to solve immediate and use-case-specific needs, but ended up with an unmanageable point-to-point integration nightmare over time as illustrated in the figure below. Each system has its own design tool that embeds integration capabilities. The point-to-point arrows show the uncontrolled set of access, logics and rules embedded in various systems such as packed apps, custom apps, databases and SaaS. This scenario not only increases integration costs and is difficult to maintain, but also creates potential risks in security and regulatory compliance.

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Source: Gartner (February 2016)

Organizations need an enterprise integration strategy to deal with the disruptions brought about by the hybrid era of cloud and on-premises. iPaaS plays a key role in the integration strategy. iPaaS is a cloud-based service platform that supports data and application integration. iPaaS delivers a combination of capabilities that are typically found in ESBs, data integration tools, B2B gateways, managed file transfer products and API management platforms. iPaaS helps enterprises to avoid the above point-to-point integration nightmares because the design and administration functions are centralized in iPaaS (see the figure below):

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Source: Gartner (February 2016)

For more information on iPaaS, please see Gartner’s document “Comparing Four iPaaS-Based Architectures for Data and App Integration in Public Cloud“.

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Mei Yang Selvage
Research Director
4 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Mei Selvage provides guidance on logical data warehouse, data integration and data quality. She provides unique insights based on real-life project experience. She is known for bringing innovative approaches to solve complex technical and business challenges. She has received more than 30 patents. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Why You Need Integration as a Platform (iPaaS)


  1. I agree: especially in Germany we have probably 90% + companies who run their systems on premise or on premise hosted somewhere else. And for some of them the PAAS will be mandatory.

    But definitely not for all !!!

    I would guess that for the majority of decision makers in the companies a little educational lessen about the difference to what REAL or TRUE or PUBLIC CLOUD means could be helpful.

    The solution: NetSuite & BIRST

    With these 2 products you cover anything mentioned here.

  2. […] about by the hybrid era of cloud and on-premises,” Gartner research director Mei Yang Salvage noted recently. But there are so many integration platforms out there, it can be hard to pick the right […]

  3. Mahendra says:

    Interesting article! the integration platform is always required for any new technology shift and innovation. In past mainframe needed integration platform written in some batch programs, the distributed computing needed com/decom/JRI/EJB, then SOA came and bought ESBs along. With recent evolution of Cloud and IoT we will need another integration platform. I believe we should stay away from past mistakes of rewriting new interfaces and instead reuse existing services through API Gateways. All cloud providers and open systems providers offer APIs, so it should be very straightforward for any IT organization to develop this platform internally by either using on prem API gateway or cloud based API gateway.



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