When compared to traditional integration approaches, integration PaaS (iPaaS), which is an extension of the functionality provided by integration-as-a-service solutions, provides greater flexibility in design, implementation, and management of integration flows. iPaaS solutions also provide other benefits such as reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) for SaaS applications and faster time-to-value in SaaS implementations.
Although the value proposition of iPaaS solutions is attractive, it is important to understand that many of these solutions are not yet mature enough to be used for a wide range of complex integration requirements.
iPaaS is still in its infancy
Most organizations have adopted iPaaS solutions as part of the move to shift integration-related expenditure from capex to opex and to achieve faster time to value in SaaS implementations. Many of these moves were driven by the urgent need to overcome limitations of traditional integration approaches in providing an efficient messaging and queuing capability for SaaS-to-SaaS integration across different clouds.
Most of the early adopters of iPaaS have used cloud-based integration capabilities as an add-on feature of the packaged integration solutions offered by SaaS vendors. In other cases, the selection of the iPaaS solution was based on the preference of individual lines of business (LOBs), and the consent of the team focusing on integration projects, known in some organizations as the integration competency centre (ICC), was rarely taken into account. Consequently, many organizations have failed to understand that a major downside of iPaaS is that it increases the threat of vendor lock-in.
There have been instances where organizations have gone ahead and implemented iPaaS solutions as an alternative to the existing integration infrastructure without giving serious thought to the basic needs of large-scale integration projects involving disparate applications deployed across different environments. As a result, many early adopters of iPaaS are struggling to maintain a fragmented integration architecture, comprising both traditional and cloud-based integration solutions, that serves little business purpose.