An integration automation platform helps apps connect to each other. An embedded iPaaS also helps apps connect to each other. So, if you need to connect apps, which one do you use? Let's look at two app connection scenarios and go from there.
- Your company's accounting system needs to update your CRM account data with payment data. This update ensures that the account in CRM displays whether accounts receivable are on time or past due.
- You have dozens of customers who use your SaaS app (an HR package) to manage their employees. Each of these customers has separate payroll and performance tracking systems. They need to hook your HR app into those additional systems.
For each of these scenarios, there is a best answer. We'll return to these scenarios soon, but first, let's look at the big picture.
The number of SaaS apps keeps growing, with one recent report finding more than 26,000 SaaS companies worldwide. And that doesn't even factor in the subset of these companies with multiple apps.
Historically, it was common for users to look up data in one app and then enter it into a second or third app. Or maybe they took data from one app and dropped it into an Excel sheet or transformation tool to filter, combine, or modify the data for use in a second app.
But these manual approaches to automation and integration are very inefficient. With thousands of apps and millions of customers using those apps, we need SaaS integration automation.
Let's look at the tools you could use to enable integrations and automate SaaS apps' workflows.
An integration automation platform (also called an iPaaS or traditional iPaaS) is a solution that enables the development, deployment, and support of integrations within your company. This platform supports workflow automation by connecting apps to ensure data is shared automatically between business systems internal to the company.
The platform has connectors and other tools to enable integrations among commonly available enterprise systems. It also allows developers to build integrations with other applications. Integration automation platforms have been around in one form or another for many years.
The critical thing to remember for integration automation platforms is that they're general-purpose platforms used by businesses to create integrations for internal use.
The scenario with your accounting and CRM systems is an excellent example of the base use case for an integration automation platform. In simple terms, data from one system within your company needs to be shared with another system in the enterprise.
Whether the applications you need to connect are traditional client-server systems or SaaS apps doesn't matter. An iPaaS is built to connect to any system within the enterprise that has an API, supports file transfers, uses a messaging system, or has another means of data exchange.
An embedded integration platform, or embedded iPaaS, is a set of tools that enables software companies to build reusable, configurable, native integrations and deliver them to your customers as a seamless part of your application.
In addition to the features that an integration automation platform has (integration designer, connectors, and infrastructure), an embedded iPaaS includes integration deployment and customer support tools, customer management, and an embedded integration marketplace.
The critical thing to remember for embedded iPaaS solutions is that they are purpose-built platforms used by software companies to create native product integrations for their customers.
The scenario with your HR app that 50 customers are using is an excellent example of the base use case for an embedded iPaaS. In simple terms, your B2B SaaS app needs to share data with your customer's other apps.
As with a traditional iPaaS, an embedded iPaaS is built to connect all sorts of apps (both client-server and cloud-based). However, an embedded iPaaS connects apps for your customers' benefit (rather than the benefit of your internal systems).
How do you determine which platform is best for your integration project? Well, are you attempting to solve an internal integration issue (for your company) or an external integration issue (for your customers)?
Suppose you are solving for internal integrations (how to get data from one system to another within your company). In that case, you probably need to look at an integration automation platform.
On the other hand, suppose you need to solve the integration question for your customers (how to share data from your SaaS app to the other apps your customers use). In that case, you should be using an embedded iPaaS.
Integration automation is essential inside and outside the enterprise. After all, almost every app needs to share data with another app. But use cases vary, and you should be sure you use the right tool for the issue you are trying to solve.
Yes, some companies have attempted to support their customers' B2B SaaS integrations with a traditional iPaaS, but the results aren't pretty. Similarly, an embedded integration platform is not the most efficient solution to address purely internal integrations.
Contact us to discuss your use case and see if Prismatic's embedded iPaaS is the right platform for you.
Prismatic is the integration platform for B2B software companies. It's the quickest way to build integrations to the other apps your customers use and to add a native integration marketplace to your product. A complete embedded iPaaS solution that empowers your whole organization, Prismatic encompasses an intuitive integration designer, embedded integration marketplace, integration deployment and support, and a purpose-built cloud infrastructure. Prismatic was built in a way developers love and provides the tools to make it perfectly fit the way you build software.
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