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Every growing eCommerce company reaches a point that might be described as an iPaaS moment of truth.

It’s that moment when you see customer expectations changing and you’re forced to look at the technology you have in place to serve them. In many cases, this will often include a collection of on-premise digital applications and various cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools.

Companies can often spend a long time trying to weave these technologies together on their own. As those efforts become more complex, the value and need for integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) becomes impossible to ignore.

What is the difference between iPaaS and SaaS?

Most likely you’ve been a SaaS user long before you’ve explored the benefits of iPaaS. If you use Google Docs, for instance, you’re using SaaS. The same goes for cloud-based versions of productivity tools such as Microsoft’s Office 365, storage systems like DropBox or even marketing automation platforms to send e-mail newsletters.

SaaS applications are popular because they’re typically easier to deploy than on-premise software, and instead of paying a fixed cost you can opt for a subscription that provides ongoing updates.

The phrase “integration platform as-a-service” sounds similar to SaaS, but its purpose is to bring otherwise siloed applications and data together.

What is integration platform-as-a-service and how it works?

Companies use iPaaS to work with application programming interfaces (APIs) to either sync data that lives across multiple SaaS tools, or to move data from between SaaS and on-premise tools.

Centralizing the way SaaS and on-premise applications and data are managed means companies can rely on a more consistent experience and share information with ease.

Think of all the tools you have in place as if they were spokes on a wheel, performing all the functions you need to keep your business running. Leveraging the power of iPaaS is like putting a hub in the middle of all those spokes, where the data and features can be orchestrated to ensure they work harmoniously and are available through the right system or device.

How can iPaaS benefit your organization

Moving to iPaaS means you’re going to free up any in-house resources, such as developers, who were responsible for trying to integrate disparate applications as your business grows. That means they’ll have more time to create a better customer-facing mobile app, company web site or other project.

Using iPaaS also means you’re less likely to experience errors in your business based on incomplete or out-of-date data that wasn’t shared properly across systems. This makes it easier to have anyone perform basic tasks (like contacting a customer), regardless of their department or role.

The efficiency of syncing on-premise and SaaS tools can also mean you’ll see a greater return on investment (ROI) from your existing technology stack. At the same time, it also means you’ll be in a better position to capitalize on innovative new services, because you won’t be worried about how they’ll integrate with what’s already there.

3 categories of iPaaS providers

Finding a trusted provider of iPaaS requires recognizing the nature of your business, your team and your biggest needs. The iPaaS companies that work in this area tend to tall into one of the following categories:

  1.     Enterprise iPaaS: These are the companies with end-to-end solutions that can work with the largest companies, regardless of the complexity of their tech stack. They may offer highly bespoke or customized solutions depending on your desired workflows and the APIs that need to be created or leveraged. These are sometimes called “True iPaaS” providers.
  2.     DIY iPaaS: These providers offer simple, easy to use tools that allow companies to manage many of their own integration needs. You might be able to simply use drag and drop features to connect systems and data, for example. In other cases setting up workflows is a matter of pointing and clicking.
  3.     Vertical iPaaS: Also known as industry-specific iPaaS, these providers have deep domain expertise in specific markets and niches. Examples could include retail, manufacturing or human capital management.

How do I choose an integration platform-as-a-service?

Start your journey to iPaaS by taking an assessment of your existing tech stack and the degree of complexity you’re experiencing. Where are the areas where data or tools are disconnected? How does that impact the employee or customer experience?

Next, think through how you see your business evolving over the next 12 months and beyond. What new tools or capabilities are you likely to need or want to introduce? If you’re not sure, think of overall business goals such as revenue targets. How likely is it you’ll need additional technologies to reach those targets? The more you add to your list, the more important finding an iPaaS provider becomes.

Finally, reach out to prospective iPaaS companies and have them help you evaluate your business case for iPaaS. Ask about any case studies they can offer on similar projects they’ve done in your industry. Check into their track record on areas such as security and compliance.

Why choose Highstreet.io as your iPaaS provider?

As a SaaS provider of solutions in areas such as product feed management, digital marketing and local inventory advertising, Highstreet has learned directly from some of the world’s leading luxury and fashion brands about the importance of an integrated tech stack.

This is why we focus on providing iPaaS for Commerce, helping bring together solutions such as an organization’s eCommerce tools, product information management (PIM) solutions, order management and more.

Brands come to Highstreet because we can help with some of their most mission-critical challenges, such as integrating a marketplace with an order management cloud service, or eCommerce platforms with a PIM solution.

Perhaps even more importantly, companies trust Highstreet.io to help them collect and merge partial feed data from cloud inventory systems such as Salesforce, prices from ERP systems and catalogues from master data management (MDM) servers. The result is a unified product data stream to different SaaS tools to make their digital marketing efforts successful.

Providing a great customer experience is as important to use as it is to the brands we serve. That’s why we don’t require integration services to be installed on premise, and we offer pre-packaged component adapters to facilitate robust and risk-free integrations. If you’re worried about the complexity of software integration, we also make it simply by managing orchestration via existing component adapters and script languages or templates.

We think of Highstreet’s iPaaS as taking an “assembly” approach to integration – building flexible, fast solutions on tested components rather than a costly or time-consuming approach that depends on switching software solutions.

iPaaS Solution: Unlock your data to empower sales

Of course, the end result of moving to iPaaS should always stay top of mind. For most companies, that means driving more purchases and loyalty from customers.

Once you have iPaaS in place, you can continue selling with greater confidence that you’re making the most of your technology investments.

Ready to get started? Connect with us to learn more about Highstreet.io’s integration-as-a-service capabilities today.