What is iPaas? A guide to getting started & best practices

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October 15, 2019

what is ipaas integration platform as a service

You're probably familiar with SaaS, or Software as a Service. SaaS tools like Slack, HubSpot and Mailchimp are accessible over the internet, don't require a physical or custom installation, and are instantly updated when a new version is released. They've become the norm for digital businesses.

But what about iPaaS?

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is also a cloud-based solution. It connects and integrates your business apps so you can keep your data updated across multiple tools or centralized in one place.

PieSync is an example of an iPaaS solution. With our tool, you can sync your contact data two-ways between your favorite apps and keep everything updated in real time.

Our users think our integration platform is pretty great. In fact, G2 Crowd named PieSync the top iPaaS product based on user satisfaction!

Why is iPaaS so valuable?

Organizations rarely use one tool to satisfy all of their needs. Most businesses run on several different applications, especially across their sales, marketing, support and operations teams.

In 2017, Cisco shared they had 39 marketing technologies in their stack, while other data suggested that the average enterprise uses a whopping 91 marketing cloud services. That's without counting tools for collaboration, CRM, cloud storage, social media and more.

Since a single organization often handles tremendous amounts of data, it's easy for data silos to arise, duplicates to come up and confidence in data accuracy to plummet. Departments can quickly become disjointed, often leading to misunderstandings. You lose faith in your reporting and wonder, how did this mess happen?

As a business today – especially one using many SaaS products – you must have an integration plan.

iPaas offers the best solution.

When you sync your tools with an iPaaS solution, you can get away with using multiple systems as your data always flows to all the right places in your organization.

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Benefits of iPaaS

1. Centralized contact data

By syncing your CRM with all contact data channels, you know exactly where to find what you're looking for. You instantly have a more organized and efficient team – and you can spend less time hunting down data and fixing mistakes.

2. No more silos

By eliminating data silos, you break down barriers between departments. Instead of battling with data being difficult to access and scattered between tools, everyone in your company can find key insights and numbers. iPaaS makes for a more transparent organization.

3. Improved communication

With an iPaaS tool keeping everything in sync, you know what needs to be discussed across departments: for example, your salespeople will know your marketing numbers and your marketing team can stay on top of sales performance. By looking at the same data, your whole team can chip in with new perspectives and notice problems that could otherwise be overlooked.

4. Less tool-switching

With an integration platform in place, you don't need so many tabs open – you can do more work in your central tool and quickly find the data you need. iPaaS also eliminates the need for manually updating several apps – after updating one tool, it's instantly reflected in others.

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5. Better customer experience

Nearly 80% of customers expect consistency when interacting with multiple departments of the same company. For this to happen, all departments need access to the same data. By syncing relevant tools to your CRM – including your support software, ticketing tool and phone apps – you create a centralized data trail for every customer.

With an iPaaS solution in place, you know that when a customer calls, anyone who picks up the phone will be able to see the full picture and provide the best service.

You can also use data from all customer touchpoints to create more personalized workflows and get better results from automation.

6. A comprehensive bird’s-eye view of performance

While you need an overview of your customer data, your management team needs a crystal-clear view of business performance. iPaaS enables your business leaders to know exactly where the important data is – and they can be more confident in its accuracy, too.

After centralizing all data in your CRM, it's simpler to set up an all-in-one reporting dashboard for management to keep an eye on key insights and trends.

7. Scalability

The sooner you set up iPaaS, the better. As your organization grows, you don't need to worry about which custom integrations you should get to deal with the added complexity. If your iPaaS tool offers connections between all the tools you're using, your business is sorted for life. In addition, when you start using a new tool or migrate apps, you can easily sync all contact data to the right places, so you won’t have to worry about manual import/export.

iPaaS best practices

Evaluate your app stack as a whole

When you set up your iPaaS solution, take this opportunity to look at your overall marketing, sales and support app stack. While most teams use many apps to power their work – and that's OK – you can still benefit from simplifying your tools where possible. Maybe your CRM has introduced a new feature that you can try instead of getting a separate tool, or you don't really need a fancy analytics app anymore. A simple and connected stack can be the most powerful option for your business.

Choose the best iPaaS for you

To get started with an integration platform, first find the best iPaaS for your business.

Some of the best iPaaS solutions for more tech-savvy users include Dell Boomi, Informatica and MuleSoft.

However, iPaaS doesn't need to be super technical. PieSync is designed to be the most user-friendly iPaaS solution on the market to connect your apps, with zero coding skills required.

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Set aside time for set-up

For your iPaaS solution to be a success, you need to make sure it's set up correctly. Take some time to map out the tools you're using and where your data should flow.

Next, set up your integrations. Check that everything syncs to the right places from the start. Make sure you sync associated labels and properties so you know which tool a contact comes from, their original source and any other important information needed across departments.

Don't forget about maintenance

Every so often, set aside an hour or two to check up on your integrations. Check that all your syncs are running correctly, ensure your data is labeled and organized beautifully in all apps and ask yourself if there are any new tools to connect. With quick and regular checks, you can be sure you're getting the most from iPaaS.

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As more businesses recognize the need to integrate their app stacks and optimize their organization's data flow, we predict a few iPaaS trends for 2020 and beyond:

  1. Increasing popularity of iPaaS and greater adoption of integration platforms.
  2. Simple and connected SaaS stacks that are constantly optimized and upgraded.
  3. Companies paying more attention to data flow through their organization to integrate data from sales, marketing and support.
  4. More organizations launching projects to get their data under control and eliminate silos.

Get started with iPaaS

As organizations continue to use more SaaS tools across marketing, sales and support, iPaaS is becoming a must-have instead of a nice-to-have. It's the easiest way to keep your business connected and silo-free.

Get started with a free trial of PieSync and see how a two-way contact data sync can organize your data and help future-proof your business as it scales.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.