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Many organizations that already rely on Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) to integrate applications question the necessity of an API management system. The question of which to use over often confuses. So which one is the best choice? The answer is both. Here we’ll discuss why an Integration Platform as a Service alone isn’t enough. Companies will need to embrace both iPaaS and API management to achieve the true agility and innovation they need to remain competitive.

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What is iPaaS?

Integration Platform as a Service is a self-service cloud tool that empowers companies to quickly build integrations for sharing data between multiple systems. The technology has many benefits, with the main one being that it allows companies to more easily connect disparate systems. 

Trying to integrate multiple systems can be a headache for companies. Historically, developers needed to write custom code to connect systems. This was a time-consuming and tedious task to build each connector. iPaaS solutions offer prebuilt connectors that let companies connect systems without requiring any technical expertise. These platforms are typically low-code tools that anyone can use regardless of technical expertise. This is perfect for companies that want to connect systems quickly to add new features or functionality without relying on IT.

Challenges With iPaaS

Integration Platform as a Service solutions are limited in that they mainly address the point-to-point integrations. These types of integrations primarily solve data synchronization issues between databases. At first glance, this approach appears to be an easy and cost-effective integration solution. While this may be fine for organizations with one or two applications, anything more than that creates problems.

Increased Complexity

The average company uses approximately 110 SaaS applications. The number of point-to-point integrations to connect even a fraction of these systems is astounding. With so many connections, it can be hard to oversee and maintain things. The problem gets exponentially worse as new systems are added.

Single Points of Failure

Point-to-point integrations create tightly coupled dependencies between each system. This creates single points of failure within the system. If a downstream system slows down or crashes, the impact on the rest of the system could be disastrous. 

Costs

Traditional integration platforms are tactical solutions that serve one purpose, simple integrations between systems. Additional features require add-on purchases to incorporate functions that are critical for scalability and agility.  

Moving Beyond iPaaS: The Case for APIs

In today’s digital-first economy, merely meeting the customer’s basic needs for functionality is no longer enough. Customers demand exceptional and personalized experiences. That said, companies must move quickly to innovate and add the features their customers need. Thus, the ability to remain competitive is about speed and innovation. While iPaaS solutions offer a means for quick integration, these integrations aren’t always robust enough to provide the type of customer experience that will set companies apart. That’s where APIs come in.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) represent a shift away from traditional integration strategies such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). APIs are a more flexible option that is system and data agnostic. APIs can handle different types of method calls to any system and work with any data type. Rather than relying on prebuilt connectors, APIs are implemented using REST which gives developers complete control over customizing their integrations to more fully meet their needs. Try DreamFactory’s instant API platform to easily create and customize APIs to connect any system.

True Innovation Requires More than iPaaS: Embracing an API-Led Strategy

According to Mike Nolan, Vice-Chair, Innovation & Enterprise Solutions, KPMG US, 

“To stay competitive, leaders of innovative companies must be prepared to act before they are beaten to the punch by smaller, nimbler and, sometimes, invisible rivals. There’s a lot at stake: a company’s brand, growth, relevance, and even survival.” That said, Integration Platform as a Service solutions can be a bit of a hindrance to speed and agility.

In a sense, iPaaS solutions can be thought of as a reactive approach to connecting systems. Companies turn to iPaaS solutions to build integrations on an as-needed basis. Organizations that want true innovation can’t afford to be reactive. Instead, they need a way to build flexible, reusable, and purposeful components upfront to help them anticipate and quickly respond to customer requirements. This is known as an API Led strategySign up to see firsthand how DreamFactory helps you leverage an API-led strategy as a differentiator for your company.

API Management Not iPaaS is the Key to Innovation

To realize the full potential of APIs, companies need a way to create, store, manage and share these assets. An API management platform does just that. With this type of platform, developers can manage the full lifecycle on an API. They can also use it to identify opportunities for reuse across the ecosystem. 

Why Companies Need Both iPaaS and API Management

As we mentioned earlier, companies will benefit from using both an iPaaS and an API management platform. Many platforms such as DreamFactory offer this functionality in one platform. That way, companies have the flexibility to choose which type of integration to implement based on their specific needs. And best of all, they won’t need to use separate tools to do so. Sign up to learn how DreamFactory provides API management in one easy-to-use system for all of your integration needs.

What to Look for in an iPaaS Solution

A robust integration platform has a comprehensive package of integrations. The solution should be enterprise-ready. Even if the organization has but a few systems, it is important to keep scalability in mind. An enterprise-ready platform is capable of scaling to handle more applications, larger amounts of data, and high availability. It should also offer API management as a standard part of the package. The tool should support both hybrid and cloud integrations. One important aspect of an ideal solution is that it should be self-service for all. The tool should empower all users, regardless of technical skill, to create integrations. However, it should be capable enough to handle the customization needs of developers who want more control.

Implementing an iPaaS solution is but one part of a strategy to innovate and quickly adapt to customer demand. This coupled with APIs and API management, gives companies a more robust and flexible option to compete in an experience-first economy. 

Generate a full-featured,documented, and secure REST API in minutes.

Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how.

Generate your No Code REST API now

Experience the Power of iPaaS with DreamFactory

Interested in seeing how you can utilize APIs to experience the power of iPaaS? DreamFactory is an open-source iPaaS platform that allows you to generate REST APIs from any data source in minutes.

If you’d like to try DreamFactory out for yourself, sign up for a free hosted trial – or contact one of our integration specialists to discuss how DreamFactory can help you overcome your integration challenges. 

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