Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS): A Marketer’s Guide

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the MarTech Intelligence Report, “Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).” If you are considering licensing an iPaaS, this report will help you in the decision process. You can download the entire report by filling out the registration form at the bottom of this page.

What is iPaaS?

Enterprise demand for a more effective way to integrate martech applications is fueling the growth of integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions. These cloud-based tools act as integration “hubs” that connect software applications deployed in different environments (i.e., cloud vs. SaaS vs. on premise). The specific services offered can include building, testing, deploying and managing software applications and APIs. iPaaS solutions provide dozens of connectors ready to “plug into” multiple martech applications. Data flows in and out of the iPaaS through each system’s API. The goal is to automate integration and create faster, more streamlined data flows between applications.

While iPaaS solutions can connect cloud-based applications across the enterprise (including customer service, finance, HR, etc.) our report focuses on iPaaS for martech integration.

What are the benefits of using an iPaaS solution?

Automating data integration through an iPaaS can provide numerous benefits, including the following:

  • Improved data accuracy. Connecting martech systems through an iPaaS enables continuous back-and-forth synchronization to help ensure marketing and sales teams are working with accurate data. The result is that staff can spend less time questioning ‘which data is right?’ and more time taking action on the right data.
  • Increased staff productivity. EBoth business and IT users say they now spend an average of more than 30 minutes each day just moving data from one system to another, according to Vanson Bourne. That’s the equivalent of 19 working days per year. An iPaaS automates the integration process, putting data standardization and governance procedures in place.
  • Faster speed to market. Time to market – whether executing a marketing campaign, making a sales call to a hot lead, or introducing the latest software update or product line – is a critical competitive advantage. An iPaaS can connect martech systems in hours, not days or weeks, resulting in faster time to ROI on a variety of product, marketing and sales efforts.
  • Better marketing and sales alignment. Connecting CRM and marketing automation through an iPaaS can eliminate duplicate records and speed up data flows so sales or marketing follow up is more timely and effective.
  • Greater accountability for campaign execution and performance. CMOs and their marketing organizations are now responsible for many martech purchase decisions. But when IT must be involved in data integration, the lines blur between who owns the application, who uses it and who is responsible for the results. More iPaaS solutions are targeting business users, who need little or no coding experience to use the platform. As a result, accountability for marketing data integration, campaign execution and results flow in a straight line through the marketing organization.
  • Marketing scalability. iPaaS solutions are scalable and can manage the growing volume of customer data now being collected by businesses – from SMBs to large enterprises. By automating the integration process, data moves faster into marketing campaigns and sales pipelines, enabling more agile business strategies.

10 questions to ask an iPaaS vendor during the evaluation process:

  1. Does the platform support business users?
  2. Do our users need coding experience to use the platform?
  3. Can we control the rules around which data fields synchronize between connected apps?
  4. Can we de-duplicate customer or prospect records by common identifier across connected apps?
  5. Does the platform include bi-directional (rather than one-way) data synchronization?
  6. Does the platform support multiple connection protocols and data/messaging delivery styles? (i.e., API, messaging and batch)?
  7. In addition to pure-play app and data integration, can the platform address our requirements for API management, B2B integration and the IoT?
  8. Does the platform include a centralized dashboard for tracking resources used? If so, is the dashboard available via a web-based and/or mobile GUI?
  9. Does the platform include tools to develop, test, deploy, execute, administer, monitor and manage integration flows?
  10. Is the platform a standalone service (and not an embedded subset of another SaaS application)?

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