iPaaS Guide: 5 Key iPaaS Terms You Should Know

iPaaS – Integration Platform as a Service – is an emerging technology aimed at helping organizations bring together disparate systems to create smoother processes and frictionless end-user experiences. For organizations and enterprise businesses looking to update or modernize their approach to service management, iPaaS can be a valuable tool. So why don’t more organizations know about it?

Because iPaaS technology is relatively new within the tech ecosystem, there are a lot of vendors offering integration capabilities – but not all vendors have true enterprise-level integration and workflow automation. To help you sift through the options, we’ve created this short glossary of terms you should know, along with an outline of the benefits the right iPaaS solution can provide.

5 iPaaS Terms to Know

  1. Integration Platform as a Service: Also known as iPaaS – this is a cloud-based platform that connects different systems, technologies, and applications on-premise or within the cloud. It enables companies to deploy and maintain integration flows without using middleware and specialized hardware between a company and third-party software or within an organization.
  2. No-Code: A no-code platform is a development platform that uses a visual development environment that allows anyone to create something. When it comes to TeamDynamix, our iPaaS solution uses a codeless visual flow builder with drag-and-drop functionality to create automated workflows.  
  3. Connector: In the iPaaS world, a connector is often created to popular systems (Salesforce, Active Directory, DocuSign, Workday, Office365, AWS, Azure, etc.) and offered out of the box – allowing you to integrate with the systems you know and trust. TeamDynamix also features a special Connector Concierge service that builds special connectors to systems not included in the out-of-the-box connector library.
  4. API: Defined as an application programming interface, APIs often support critical business functions and pass data between systems. While APIs are an integral part of many businesses, they also are extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. Using iPaaS allows organizations to better manage APIs, improve API security and shore up user controls.
  5. Data Harmonization: Enterprise companies run an average of 500 different applications and APIs daily. Having data across disparate systems can result in errors, lost data and incompatibility. By using a tool like iPaaS you can pull data from all of the systems within your ecosystem and transform it so it’s uniform as it moves from system to system. By automating data harmonization you can save time and resources, and reduce errors.

Benefits of iPaaS

By implementing an iPaaS tool within your organization, you can realize the following benefits:

  1. Cost-Effective: Piecing different solutions together is not only complex but also costs businesses a fortune. Reportedly, poor integration costs large-scale businesses half a million dollars. On the other hand, iPaaS connects software and converges data into one convenient cloud-based location.
  2. Improved Communication: Businesses need to share data within their entire ecosystem to avoid any important information from being lost. iPaaS ensures that everyone has easy access to data, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
  3. Less Human Error: iPaaS allows users to access a library of pre-built connectors, reducing errors that can happen when using APIs.
  4. Improved Security and Compliance: Security is easily one of the greatest concerns for a cloud-enabled solution. With the average cost of cyberattacks rising to $4.6 million per incident, a business has to be vigilant about its security more than ever. Advanced security and compliance features can be found in the TeamDynamix iPaaS solution:
    • Authentication through OpenID Connect, Active Directory, and OAuth
    • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
    • GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA compliance
    • Advanced API logging capabilities
  5. Greater Efficiency: By minimizing the delays, costs, and labor associated with connecting new apps, enterprise solutions can quickly respond to changing market needs.

Supercharge Your IT Service Management with Integration and Automation

Another great way to use iPaaS is by combining it with your IT Service Management tool. By using ITSM with integration and automation, you can free up your resources by automating the everyday, mundane tasks they normally have to complete before working on bigger projects – things like system name changes, resetting passwords, or granting certain permissions to software. For many organizations, this is critical for not just excellent service delivery, but for employee morale.

Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said the county made the switch to TeamDynamix for ITSM for just this reason, “Prior to TeamDynamix, we didn’t have the ability to automate things and build workflows to do things that eliminate toil and redundancy for our employees.”

And with many organizations struggling to maintain or hire new talent, especially in IT, this was critical for the county, “People feel so much more empowered and have so much more worth when they are doing things that are intellectually rigorous and challenging versus when they are just repeating the same mechanical actions over and over and over with very little thought,” Hayes said.

From password resets to onboarding/offboarding and name changes, all of these tasks and more can be automated with workflows using iPaaS with your ITSM.

By combining iPaaS (integration platform as a service) with ITSM and PPM on a single platform you can automate both complex and simple tasks, as well as connect disparate systems throughout your organization.

If you choose a codeless platform for this, you get the added benefit of anyone being able to use these tools – not just IT. By allowing lines of business to create their own workflows you can free up your IT resources to work on larger projects and eliminate the logjam when it comes to integrations within your organization.

With TeamDynamix now in place, Pima County is looking to automate and integrate as much of the manual ITSM processes into workflows as they can.

“That’s something the organization is really just starting to comprehend as a vision that we want to get to overall,” Hayes said referring to automation. “My goal and hope is to make sure people understand the possibilities of workflow beyond just getting approvals routed because that’s all we really do today.”

By enabling non-IT employees to create and manage their own integrations and automations, iPaaS frees up IT staff to focus on higher-level tasks, such as strategic planning and cybersecurity. This not only improves overall efficiency but also fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration within the organization.

“With iPaaS, we’re looking at automating tasks to take some of the things we do manually out of the hands of IT staff, so they can be more efficient,” Barry Bowden, IT Service Desk manager at NaphCare, said.

NaphCare is an Alabama-based company providing healthcare services and software to correctional facilities. They use TeamDynamix for both iPaaS and IT Service Management (ITSM).

Bowden said iPaaS will save him significant time. Currently, setting up and provisioning IT accounts for NaphCare employees is a multi-step process.

NaphCare uses a software program called Adaxes to automate the provisioning of accounts within Active Directory, but IT staff still have to coordinate with both HR staff and the managers of various departments to confirm what IT privileges employees should have—such as whether they should get a free or paid Zoom account. Bowden’s staff includes one full-time employee whose sole responsibility is to perform this work.

With iPaaS in place, NaphCare has created automated workflows for contacting HR and department heads to collect the necessary information. Using iPaaS, Bowden plans to connect TeamDynamix with Adaxes and build a customized workflow to create new user accounts from this information.

Automating this process will enable it to be completed in under five minutes, he says, with very little human intervention needed—freeing up the IT employee responsible for this task to do more strategic work, “That employee can be reallocated to other areas to work on more complex projects,” Bowden said.

There are also plans to automate software provisioning for programs like Microsoft Office.

“It will take me a week, right now, to go in and install Microsoft Office on all the accounts that request it. With automation in place, I won’t need to touch those requests unless there’s a problem. People will be able to go to our portal, put in the request and automatically get the software,” Bowden said. “That’s a full week of time I can get back to work on other things. That will be a huge benefit for us.”

Here are a few other ways iPaaS with ITSM can help reduce IT drain on an organization:

  • Facilitate enterprise integration by using a single hub with pre-built connectors to systems that you use every day as well as a connector concierge for the creation of specific connectors. (Imagine being able to automatically change a username, add someone to a distribution group or onboard an employee)
  • Expedite creation of automation and workflows with a visual flow builder (codeless) that is easy to use, own and operate; reduce IT backlog of integration and workflow requests.
  • Optimize resources across IT to allow for improved output and a higher level of service delivery to your internal and external customers by removing redundant data entry and manual processing.
  • Reduce API risk with a single connectivity platform that will offer increased oversight and control.

To learn more about iPaaS and how it can supercharge your organization check out our eBook: What is iPaaS and How Does it Accelerate Digital Transformation?

This article was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated with new information.

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