According to the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report, the answer is quite simple. The top five ranked integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) are, in this order, Informatica, Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, Workato, SnapLogic and very closely trailing behind are Mulesoft and Oracle. Ok, but what exactly do you consider to be a top iPaaS that meets the needs of your business? What about the visionaries like SAP, IBM, and SoftwareAG or maybe a niche player like Cloud Elements or Celigo. Perhaps a tool like Zapier or Microsoft flow would solve your integration needs and they’re not even on the Gartner quadrant due to its enterprise focus. The point is that it’s not as simple as the top five, it’s all about what is best for your organization so with that said, let’s start by breaking down exactly what an iPaaS can do for you as well as some common flavors of this technology.
So let’s start with what and why. It turns out, software needs to be able to talk to other software. Quite a bit too. When more and more software applications emerged with new acronyms in the late 1990s and early 2000s the corporate world, and Silicon Valley, quickly realized that for companies to truly be efficient in the digital age, all of their software needed to be able to communicate with each other. Enter the API, or Application Programming Interface, the first step towards enabling easy two-way communication between apps and software systems. This was and still is a great solution for developers who can custom code connections between applications but what about everyone else? There had to be a way to make it easier for any business user to connect applications and even configure the functionality and transfer of data between them. But how?
Introducing iPaaS. These new platforms sought to address that market specifically. The market of people who wanted to be able to connect systems and apps and configure functionality without needing to be a member of IT. However, that’s quite a complex and nuanced market so that’s how different flavors of iPaaS came about. Zapier and Mulesoft both have the same goal but their customers are vastly different and that can be said of most iPaaS customers across these different approaches to iPaaS.
We can start with no-code iPaaS. These tools, like Zapier and Microsoft Flow, are so easy an elementary school student could use them. Although typically aimed at consumers and small to mid-sized businesses, an increasing number of larger companies are starting to use these tools. They are built for ease of use and the biggest difference between them is Microsoft’s focus on all things Microsoft whereas Zapier is an open exchange of apps where a connection between Salesforce and Pardot can be set up in 5 minutes or less.
But what if you need more than a lead to move from a form in WordPress to Salesforce? What if you need to add some more complexity in terms of workflow between these two applications and the data they share via API? Enter the enterprise iPaaS, which, much like its cousin no-code, has the same ultimate goal. The question for buyers is how complex do the integrations between apps and systems need to be? How sophisticated? The more complex, the more likely you will want to look into one of the top five enterprise iPaaS solutions at the top of the article. Less sophisticated integrations can be easily created on Zapier.
How do you distinguish the enterprise iPaaS solutions from each other?
Good question. Let’s go through the top of the Gartner Quadrant again:
Informatica, Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, Workato, SnapLogic, Mulesoft, and Oracle
Here’s what we recommend looking at. First, start with review platforms comparing these solutions but before you do that, consider the context. iPaaS is what Informatica, Jitterbit, Workato, SnapLogic, and Mulesoft do while Dell and Oracle are enterprise software behemoths. Why is that relevant? Well, they have less of a focus on their product and customer base then the rest of the players and are typically considered to be legacy enterprise software solutions. It doesn’t mean they won’t serve your needs, just something to keep in mind.
Consider the category. Do you want a firmly established leader or a challenger growing quickly and innovating faster than anyone? It depends on the risk factor you’re willing to accept. All of the companies listed above are firmly established leaders but SAP, SoftwareAG, Adaptris, and IBM are considered to be visionaries. So do you need a solution that can solve your current problems or a solution that will be able to pay dividends for years to come? A firmly established leader has many benefits like reliability, plenty of references for success, cash on hand, large staff, etc. but going with a visionary could make all the difference. Again, just another factor to consider.
Don’t forget to consider the skills of your team. Do you have the staff to operate an enterprise iPaaS like Informatica or do you need to use a no-code solution like Zapier? All of these are important factors to consider when looking at the iPaaS market and determining which solution is right for you. Good look shopping and we hope you enjoyed the read.