Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a set of automated tools for connecting software applications that are deployed in different environments. This is seen as a solution for companies who struggle to integrate and safeguard important data across platforms.
Jan Arendtsz, CEO of Celigo and Ex-Netsuite director, discusses with Digital Journal the importance of developer-driven integration strategies and why iPaaS is the bottom-line solution for many companies wrestling with digital transformation initiatives.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for business?
Jan Arendtsz: Digital transformation is incredibly important in business. Companies who have undertaken digital transformation, and are operating cloud-based systems and processes, are spending less money and expending fewer resources building and managing their internal infrastructure. They are operating more quickly and can shift more resources to focus on the core business goals and generating revenue.
The companies who don’t undertake digital transformation will be left behind by the ones who do because they’ll have higher operational costs and will be less agile and able to adapt.
DJ: Why are many businesses struggling with digital transformation?
Arendtsz: It’s a daunting problem to tackle all at once, and the explosion of cloud applications hasn’t made things easier. Once a business starts implementing a new solution, five more appear the next day. It’s hard to keep up and it can feel like a forever shifting target. Digital transformation is not a one-time change – it is a constant transformation in how businesses operate.
DJ: What are some of the operational challenges that are most common when dealing with digital transformation?
Arendtsz:The explosion of applications means the amount of data generated or needed from other systems is growing exponentially. This can create security challenges for many companies as information needs to move back and forth between these different systems, especially if that is done manually. This movement of data via manual processes is susceptible to error. Spreadsheets and online Google sheets that contain customer or financial information can be accidentally shared with the wrong person. Businesses have a hodge-podge of different systems run by different people, creating data silos and causing an audit nightmare that needs to be managed.
Also, the amount of time and resources managing the technical aspects of the operation can grow exponentially, which is why initiatives that focus on automating processes tend to accelerate growth for organizations of a certain size.
DJ: What is meant by integration platform as a service (iPaaS)?
Arendtsz:iPaaS, or Integration Platform as a Service, are platforms that standardize how applications are integrated into an organization, making it easier to automate business processes and share data across applications. By leveraging iPaaS technologies, growing companies can eliminate manual data entry, reduce dependency on spreadsheets and email, while increasing visibility, speed, and accuracy across their organization.
DJ: What are the advantages of iPaaS?
Arendtsz:The fluid exchange of information is critical in any organization, large or small. As the volume of data and complexity of an organization expands, having a robust automation strategy is necessary. That is where iPaaS comes in.
In digital transformation, having an iPaaS solution is key and should be one of the first ingredients on the list. Connecting and automating the business together is historically very technically expensive and requires a vast amount of technical resources. You just can’t keep up manually. Leveraging an iPaaS platform that takes care of a lot of that functionality makes digital transformation, and everyday business operations, easier. From a compliance standard, it is also better to have one single platform, as opposed to a hodge-podge of solutions, that is vetted and processes all this data. Leveraging an iPaaS solution provides businesses with an easy, fast, secure and cost-effective way to connect applications and business processes.
DJ: What is different about the Celigo solution?
Arendtsz:The biggest difference about Celigo is that most integration platforms are very developer-centric but Celigo was built to serve the needs of a variety of business users. Today, business applications are purchased and deployed by individual users, not just IT teams. This consumerization of the enterprise apps and has yielded an explosion in the number of SaaS apps – which shows no sign of slowing down. We’ve made sure that our integration solution fit this new model and serves the needs of the technical teams, but also can be handled by the same line of business users that are purchasing applications. This way it is easier for companies to build and manage more integrations to quickly automate processes for years to come.