Everything You Need to Know About iPaaS - Definition, Functionality & Use Cases

Everything You Need to Know About iPaaS - Definition, Functionality & Use Cases

Tuesday, March 16, 2021Eric Zegarski

Everything You Need to Know About iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service), Definition, Functionality & Features

What is an iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service)?  

The definition of an iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) can be summarized as a cloud-based platform that integrates and connects different systems, applications, and technologies. This solution can be hosted either in the cloud or on premises. This allows organizations using an iPaaS to not have to manage any added hardware or software internally. The iPaaS provider handles data connectivity, flow, and maintenance.  
 

What Does an iPaaS Do?  

How an iPaaS works and what it does is not complicated. An iPaaS sits in the middle of an organization's software solution stack and acts as a data bridge between the systems. The iPaaS provider uses a mixture of pre-built connectors and API protocols to establish a connection with each software solution. Using a pre-built connector for a specific application guarantees almost no extra dev work will be needed.  

The iPaaS provider also has a portal where users can login. Within that portal, they can see all active connectors and what data is being processed. Most iPaaS solutions allow the users to make minimal functionality changes in the portal.  

7 Ways Companies Benefit from Using an iPaaS 

Using an iPaaS gives companies many organizational benefits and efficiencies that they didn’t have before. These efficiencies allow for synergies between business functions and the ability to process data faster. Below you’ll find the many benefits of adopting an iPaaS solution:  

1. One Hub for Data Flow
Using an iPaaS that has a plethora of pre-built connectors will limit your reliance on other integration services. You’ll only need one central hub to manage all of your organization's data flow. Using one universal solution also lowers your total cost of software ownership.  


2. Better Data Organization
Users of an iPaaS can view their data in once central hub. Furthermore, with the assistance of the iPaaS, data automatically populates itself in integrated systems. The iPaaS hub acts as a general ledger that records every single piece of data sent. A reliable iPaaS will notify you if there are any errors in processing this data. All of this makes data analysis, interpretation, and application easier and more accurate. 


3. Improved Organizational Wide Communication
With your iPaaS acting as the point of truth for your vital business data, you can ensure that the integrity of your information will be maintained. Data flow is only limited by the speed of your applications’ APIs. Therefore, an iPaaS enables close to near real-time data transfer. This speedy and accurate flow of data will ensure that departments have access to the data they need promptly.  


4. Better Work Efficiency and Productivity
Less time manually transferring data means more time can be dedicated to important tasks. Furthermore, less time must be dedicated to ensuring the data processed is authentic and mitigating any incorrect entries. Employees also spend less time switching between systems to access the information they need.  


5. Eliminate Communication Silos Between Departments
Using a universal iPaaS with many pre-built connectors ensures that you only need one integration solution for your business. This ensures that departments aren’t relying on various integration service providers to foster their integration needs. If you’re relying on multiple integration solutions, they might not have the same processing times and therefore delay data processing. Having a non-universal iPaaS might also cause roadblocks when you’re looking to add new software to your current stack.   


6. Centralized Data for Your Management Team
Business landscapes change overnight, therefore, your management team needs access to accurate data fast. For example, if they are trying to project sales for the new fiscal year, they need information from all sales channels. An iPaaS that connects all of their sales channels to their ERP will allow them to have that information at their disposal anytime.    


7. Improved Security Features and Data Compliance.
A cloud based iPaaS is often hosted on a cloud server like Microsoft Azure or AWS (Amazon Web Services). These vendors are constantly testing and improving their systems for bandwidth. Therefore, and iPaaS solution that is hosted on one of these cloud services takes advantage of the host’s features.  
 

3 Essential Items to Prepare Before Selecting Your iPaaS Provider 

Choosing an iPaaS provider is an investment in your business. The more information you’re able to supply different iPaaS solutions during your vetting process, the easier it will be to find the ideal iPaaS solution for your business.  

Evaluating the following will ensure you find an iPaaS that meets the needs of your business: 
  • Define the goals you want to achieve with data integration. For example, you may want to integrate internal business data to have a 365-degree view of your business and build better analytics reports. Or you might want to integrate customer data from different applications in order to eliminate manual data entry which is slowing down your business and causing fulfillment errors and delays. Whatever the reason is, just know why you want to integrate your business systems. 
  • Once your goals are set, you will know which data flows you want to integrate. iPaaS platforms have workflows that integrate your selected data. This data can be items like orders, inventory and customer data. However, not every iPaaS can integrate all the data workflows you want. Figuring out which workflows your ideal integration model has will allow you decide which iPaaS to use since not all iPaaS vendors offer your desired workflows.  
  • Make a list of all the business systems that you wish to integrate. This will ensure that when you’re vetting your prospective iPaaS solutions, you’ll know they can work with your current systems. In addition, if it helps map out which workflows you would like to connect between each system. For example, you might want to send inventory data between your Shopify store and NetSuite ERP but based on your operations, that workflow is not required by ShipStation.  

Doing the above will ensure that you choose the right iPaaS for your business. It will also allow the iPaaS vendor to execute your integration promptly.  
 

Meet eBridge’s Universal iPaaS  

eBridge Connections is a vendor of a universal iPaaS. eBridge’s iPaaS is for high volume merchants who are looking to integrate their eCommerce, ERP/accounting systems, and EDI trading partners. If you're processing more than 200 orders a month then eBridge Connections is for you.  

eBridge has pre-built connectors for leading eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce and many others. These connectors can be used alongside our ERP and EDI connectors to execute your ideal integration in a timely manner. Users who choose eBridge as their iPaaS gain the following benefits:  
 
  • Eliminate manual and duplicate entry: Integration of eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, ect. with ERP systems. 
  • Improve speed of data exchange: By eliminating the time-consuming manual data entry process, the eBridge Connections integration platform greatly increases the speed of information exchange, resulting in improved customer service efficiency and customer satisfaction. 
  • Improve data accuracy: Each time data is manually entered into a system, there is the chance of errors being introduced. Data passes through a validation layer, resulting in a decrease in costly errors and chargebacks. 
  • Streamline business processes: eCommerce integration will help to create an efficient workflow between departments and functionalities in your organization. An integrated flow of data will provide you with the insight you need to make strong decisions that align with your business strategy and objectives. 
  • Liberate valuable resources: Focus your resources on other high priority work, instead of tedious manual data entry to and from your ERP system. An eCommerce integration solution will automatically schedule and process data without human intervention. 
Here's an example of how eBridge's universal iPaaS can sit in the middle of a merchant's commerce network and foster data flow with different workflows:

eBridge-iPaaS-Visual-Connectors.PNG


In addition, eBridge is hosted on Microsoft Azure, therefore ensuring an almost 99.9% uptime and industry leading security. With an integration solution from eBridge, you can ensure that your commerce network is connected and communicating data bi-directionally. 
 

See Our iPaaS in Action - Shopify & Microsoft Dynamics GP Integration Success Story 

We sat down virtually with Leroy Kane, Director of Technology at Hawaiian Host Group. Leroy and the team at Hawaiian Host Group reached out to eBridge to inquire about having their Shopify stores integrated with their Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP. After being pushed live we connected with Leory to learn more about Hawaiian Host Group’s business and how eBridge was able to help them. Learn more about the capabilities of eBridge's iPaaS.


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