Disruptive shifts in corporate IT are changing the game for the modern CIO, and the implications of this transformation are especially apparent when it comes to integration. There has been a proliferation of integration solutions and vendors hitting the market, and the responsibility of choosing the right one for his or her company falls squarely on the shoulders of CIOs.
In order to make this crucial decision, the smart CIO has to do research and anticipate the future of business trends and integration service offerings. To help with this process, here are ten must-have features that smart CIOs need to look for when selecting Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) vendors:
1. Web-Based Rather than Client-Based
Users should be able to fully utilize every aspect of the iPaaS solution via a Web browser. Despite the fact that client-based applications haven’t been relevant since the 1990s, many vendors continue to require the use of client apps such as the Java development environment Eclipse. If your vendor mentions Eclipse (or any client-based application), imagine a pig with lipstick and tell them to leave and never come back.
2. Wizard Driven with No Coding Required
Modern integration solutions are wizard-based. If a vendor solution requires coding or knowledge of programming to use comfortably, then it is an outdated solution that will hold you back from keeping up with competitors.
3. UX Design for Business Users
Today, business people are the primary users of iPaaS products. Now that business users play the operational role with self-service integration solutions, the user experience interface of the application must be designed as a business application rather than a tool for developers.
4. Contextual Video Tutorials
Since modern iPaaS users do not need to be technically sophisticated programmers, good integration solutions need to provide clear and comprehensive guidance in order to ensure ease of use. The best solutions have contextual video tutorials on most of their screens in order to guide their users in the most efficient manner.
5. Pre-Built Connectors & Templates.
Constantly reinventing the wheel is not just inefficient and unnecessary—it’s downright wasteful. If your iPaaS vendor doesn’t provide a library of pre-built templates for users to quickly configure and use new connections, they don’t even deserve a second glance.
6. IT Governance Capability
With business users in the operational role, the new ‘governance’ role of IT is to manage the platform and provide a secure, controlled and reliable way for users to access data and connect with applications, systems and databases. Your vendor must offer this option in order for self-service integration to work smoothly.
7. Hybrid Integration Option
Since most data continues to reside with the walls of the business, a true iPaaS solution must allow access to on-premises apps and databases. A smart CIO needs to make sure that the solution also enables process automation and includes routing, error-handling, workflows and direct end-to-end integration.
8. Diverse Use-Case Capability
With vast varieties of business information data being exchanged constantly between various customers and partners, a good iPaaS solution needs be able to handle a wide variety of use cases for either connecting internal applications or business-to-business integration (B2Bi). Buying a solution that just does one without the other is like going to battle with one arm tied behind your back.
9. Diverse Scenario Capability
On a similar note, a modern organization has apps and systems that are both in the cloud and on-premise. Because of this, a modern iPaaS solution needs to easily handle SaaS (News - Alert)-to-SaaS, On-Premises-to-On-Premises, and SaaS-to-On-Premises scenarios.
10. On-Premises Run-Time Option
Since it is not always possible to send data to the cloud for processing because of security or regulatory compliance reasons, there are times when data processing must happen on-premises. A modern iPaaS solution must provide the On-Premises Run-Time option so that the cloud-based iPaaS will be able to function without the business losing full control over data processing on their own internal servers.
About the Author: Deepak Singh is the co-founder, president and CTO of Adeptia. Adeptia (News - Alert), Inc. is a B2B integration software company specializing in helping companies fast-forward revenues and reduce operational costs by automating every step in the B2B process.