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New MarTech Today report: A Marketer’s Guide to Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)
It’s a long name for tools that act as data switchboards, with different added features.
If you’re a typical marketer, you have quite a few tools and platforms that need to transfer data between themselves.
You could use a major marketing platform and integrate the others, but the major platform may not have out-of-the-box integrations with everything you want. You could then ask your IT department to set up the point-to-point integrations you need.
Or you could use an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) tool, which acts as a kind of data switchboard that talks to many tools for you.
To help you sort out the world of iPaaS, MarTech Today has now released an intelligence report, “Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS): A Marketer’s Guide” [free, registration required]. The comprehensive guide includes a market overview, common features, how to choose an iPaaS solution and detailed vendor profiles.
An iPaaS solution, the report says, is “cloud-based software that enables business users to integrate data from multiple, distinct databases or applications through a single user interface.”
While iPaaS software can connect to any kind of enterprise cloud-based application, the report focuses on ones that are commonly used for martech integration, that are available as standalone services, and that are not solely targeted at IT users or developers.
At their core, the report’s Editorial Advisor (and HubSpot VP) Scott Brinker told me, the iPaaS solutions in the report are switching stations for data, but many have added differentiating values to that initial proposition.
Segment, for instance, began in 2012 as a data switchboard for business applications. Last summer, it began evolving toward becoming a Customer Data Platform (CDP), as it added the ability to utilize user behavior captured in one integrated tool as an audience segment for another tool. Then it launched profiles that merged data from a variety of its connected tools.
Brinker pointed to Bedrock Data, which offers data cleaning, and PieSync, which normalizes data from various sources. Zapier routes data as it provides workflows that trigger activities between tools.
He added that these kinds of data switchboards are more common for the use of martech tools than, say, for martech’s relatives in adtech. The reasons: martech is more involved with consolidating data and triggering activities across tools, plus data management platforms (DMP) more or less provide that data routing function for advertising.
If major marketing platforms like Salesforce or Adobe offer a wide range of built-in integrations, why would a marketer employing such a major platform need an iPaaS solution?
Brinker noted that even large marketing platforms don’t have native integration with everything, given that there are thousands of possible cloud-based services out there.
Many marketers do use their major platform as an integration hub, he said, but then they also use an iPaaS as an additional hub. Jitterbit, for instance, integrates with Salesforce AppExchange, plus it supports more than a thousand applications.