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Jun 9, 2023 | 6 minute read

What is an iPaaS?

written by Seamus Roddy

The global Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) market was estimated to be worth 3.7 billion in 2021. By 2026, the iPaaS market is anticipated to increase to $13.9 billion.

When the market share of a business technology worth billions of dollars is slated to triple in half a decade, it’s likely to be lasting. So it’s no wonder that people are asking: What’s an iPaaS?

Learn the definition of iPaaS and why it’s a growing technology. Then, learn the benefits of an iPaaS, what makes an iPaaS different from other forms of software technology, common iPaaS solutions, and why iPaaS is critical for Composable Commerce.

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

An Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a cloud-based platform that connects otherwise disjointed software systems. Specifically, iPaaS helps integrate apps and software from different vendors into your business’s software ecosystem.

How Does an iPaaS Work?

Your iPaaS works by serving as a communication conduit for different software services. Think of your iPaaS provider as a contractor who is helping you build a home. You might pick a floorplan, specific appliances, lighting, and other custom design choices, but it’s your contractor who is in charge of acquiring materials and coordinating with electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and other specialists.

Your iPaaS is in many ways similar to this contractor. An iPaaS is a vendor that handles the management of and communication between the different software services that you use. As a business, you might choose software providers for marketing, accounting, productivity, and other functions. Your iPaaS sits between your software services, cloud-based apps and data, digital devices, on-site data, and IT and gets them working in sync to advance your business’s goals.

What Are the Benefits of an iPaaS?

As cloud computing becomes more popular, the benefits of having an iPaaS grow. The benefits of an iPaaS for businesses include:

  1. Improved connectivity: iPaaS helps eliminate technological silos within an organization. As your organization grows, different software integrations can become disjointed, scattered, and difficult to manage. With iPaaS, you can share data and best practices and security standards across your software providers – and make the changes you need fast.
  2. Centralized management and smoother workflow: Using a slew of top-tier SaaS solutions is great, but it means having to manage all those different software connections and integrations. iPaaS makes it possible to manage all connections, integrations and software relationships in one centralized place. This way, your team can work smoothly and efficiently.
  3. Satisfied clients and prospects: The benefits of an iPaaS extend to happy clients and customers. Since an iPaaS provides your team a centralized source of data and information, your team can provide a better experience to consumers. Your customer support reps will better find accurate information about their clients, marketers will see what campaigns are driving results, and sales staff will have leads from all sources routed to them more quickly.

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How Is an iPaaS Different Than a PaaS, SaaS, or ESB?

There are other “as a Service” software tools and integration architectures on the market. How is iPaaS different from these other solutions?

  • PaaS: A similarly-named but distinct iPaaS alternative is a Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS is a cloud–based platform that grants developers the tools necessary to develop and manage web-based applications. The hardware and software platform of a PaaS is provided by a third-party and hosted on their infrastructure. A PaaS is a platform for building applications and often requires a development team. An iPaaS, meanwhile, is a platform for integrating apps and software from different vendors. The point of an iPaaS is to connect the outside applications that power your business – you don’t need a development team to use one. 
  • SaaS: Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most common technology in cloud computing. With SaaS, software is distributed through the internet. Servers, databases, and codes create applications that users like your business can access from connected devices. Adobe, Asana, Google Workspace, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Dropbox, Marketo – they’re all SaaS solutions. SaaS and iPaaS technologies are distinct: SaaS is a way of delivering software over the internet while iPaaS is a cloud-based solution to integrate SaaS solutions and other technologies into your business.
  • ESB: A traditional form of software integration is an Enterprise service bus (ESB). An ESB is an integration architecture approach that works with on-premises software and hardware. In this way, it is the inverse of iPaaS, which is cloud-based – meaning that the software is integrated via the internet and does not require on-premises software and hardware. Because of its on-premises requirements, ESB has a high hardware cost and high maintenance cost, which iPaaS does not.

Examples of Common iPaaS Solutions

Despite the benefits of iPaaS, you may be unfamiliar with specific iPaaS technologies. Leading iPaaS vendors include:

  • Informatica: Informatica is an Enterprise Cloud Data Management company. Informatica specializes in data integration, offering products that assist with data replication, data quality, data masking, and other data services.
  • Jitterbit: Jitterbit’s iPaaS capabilities focus on automation for business processes and workflows.
  • Zapier: Zapier is an automation tool that connects organizational systems. Zaps, Zapier’s automated workflows, help businesses automate business processes without help from a developer.
  • Mulesoft: Mulesoft offers customized iPaaS solutions. Mulesoft is a strong option for businesses seeking pre-built integrations to connect their systems.
  • Workato: Workato comes at iPaaS with a strong IT focus, branding itself as an intelligent automation platform that connects businesses and IT through cloud-based solutions.

The specific iPaaS solution that is correct for your business will depend on budget, requirements, and your present tech stack.

Why iPaaS is Critical for Composable Commerce

Tell us what you think: You assemble a suite of technologies to power business solutions. But monitoring, controlling, updating, and integrating architecture from multiple vendors is costly, burdensome, and getting in the way of good work. Sounds as if you need an iPaaS, right?

We agree. And it’s why we think that iPaaS is absolutely crucial to Composable Commerce. After all, Composable Commerce is about assembling best-of-breed commerce solutions based on your business needs and digital commerce vision. You have unique commerce needs, so you deserve a unique commerce solution – and that’s going to mean different technologies and plenty of integrations.

The problem? Integrate and stitching together these different commerce solutions and technologies into a unified whole is hard. You need an iPaaS, and specifically, you need Composer from Elastic Path.

We created Composer because we heard from brands using Composable Commerce that they needed an iPaaS that would increase speed to market, reduce TCO, and simplify composable solution management. Composer is the only commerce-intelligent iPaaS on the market, and the next step in our mission is to make Composable Commerce accessible to every brand. Learn more about Composer and how this commerce-driven iPaaS can boost your business.