Five Must-Have Capabilities in a Modern iPaaS

7 minute read | 18 Feb 2022

By Boomi

It began with a simple question. Doug Henschen, a principal analyst at Constellation Research, asked: Why is integration so important for business innovation and transformation initiatives?

One word could sum up his answer:


“Nine times out of 10, industry innovation is driven by the use of data at scale,” Henschen said at a recent Constellation Research Tech Talk Day hosted by Boomi. “They’re creating breakthrough customer, employee, and partner experiences that are more personalized. The market leaders make it look easy. But it’s not terribly easy at all.”

Data management represents some of the trickiest potholes to navigate on the road to digital innovation, Henschen said, for many reasons.

The sheer volume of data continues to explode exponentially. Data is squirreled away in an increasing number of sources as organizations add applications not designed for enterprise-wide use. Data governance and privacy requirements are becoming more strict. Finally, data remains in the realm of IT pros and not everyday users who desperately need quick access to it.

“All of those challenges are quite daunting,” he added. “Now, put them on steroids with ever-rising user expectations. And a ‘user’ is not only the customer at the end but also your employees and your suppliers. Everyone has consumer-grade expectations, like 24-7 uptime, security at every level, and consistency and veracity of the information.”

Data Management with iPaaS

That’s where an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) can make a profound difference, Henschen said. An iPaaS harnesses data wherever it lives and ensures it’s always accessible to help staff make the best decisions for the business. It helps companies create the experiences people have come to demand in our “easy button” world.

Constellation Research focuses on studying the market leaders who transform and disrupt industries through technology innovation. By better understanding what these pioneers are doing with data, the firm can share those insights with “fast-follower” organizations that don’t want to be left behind by emerging trends.

“Speed and agility is everything in business today,” Henschen said. “It’s the key reason why companies are moving into the cloud and getting out from behind that concrete tech that was so hard to change. This is where iPaaS helps through fast data and application integration.”

Henschen presented five “must-haves” for businesses as they evaluate iPaaS vendors. A common thread is always thinking strategically about connectivity and automation – not just solving today’s specific problem.

1) Cloud Application and API-centric Integration Capabilities

Look for a microservices-based platform with granular control over APIs and REST endpoints. “With companies becoming cloud-centric, so many of their integration requirements are around cloud-based apps and using APIs and cloud architecture to avoid systems that are stuck in cement,” he explained.

2) Strong Data Integration and Governance Features

You need an iPaaS that supports integrations with drag-and-drop or point-and-click functionality and the reusability of components. That way, you’re not reinventing the wheel with every new integration. There should be pre-built connectivity for a long list of commonly used software as a service (SaaS) applications. “It also has to be trusted and secure,” he added. “An iPaaS needs to meet security standards for privacy. Does it address metadata management and governance with HIPAA, GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, and CCPA? Some vendors do that, and some do not. So, you have to answer that question.”

3) Workflow and Automation Features

A platform should go beyond integration to support end-to-end data processes. “During the pandemic, there has been a huge burst of interest in this,” Henschen said. “Usually, it involves handoffs between systems and human work steps. Many of these can and should be automated. We’ve seen ‘The Great Resignation’ and the difficulty organizations are having in hiring people. Manual, repetitive tasks are prime targets for automation.”

4) AI and Augmentation to Speed and Ease Integration

You want an iPaaS that incorporates improvements from every developer who came before you and will help guide your integration building. Henschen said: “The question for you is, ‘Does this platform learn from the graph of user interactions and the patterns that it sees? Does it offer recommendations to accelerate integrations and workflow development? Can you type in natural language questions and interact with the platform?’”

5) Solid Customer References

Business moves fast. How might your organization change through moves into adjacent markets? Or through acquisitions? An iPaaS needs to be flexible to meet unforeseen challenges. Talk with customers of vendors who not only tackled the problem you’re facing now but also are where you hope to be in a few years. “Make sure you hear what they have to say about the vendor’s support, responsiveness, and attitude about feature requests,” Henschen said.

A Platform for Intelligent Connectivity and Automation

The Boomi AtomSphere Platform checks all of the boxes that Henschen discussed. Boomi pioneered the iPaaS category and continues to be recognized as a market leader, trusted by more than 18,000 organizations worldwide with 95% customer satisfaction scores and renewal rates. An active community of 100,000 professionals in the Boomiverse enables you to tap into crowd-sourced knowledge.

Boomi is best-known for integrating systems. But the unified platform enables you to do much more. Make interactions with trading partners more efficient with B2B/EDI management. Discover and catalog data, wherever it resides. Create commonality among records in disparate systems. Design, secure, and scale APIs. And build engaging workflows between applications that automate processes.


Henschen concluded his presentation with a series of recommendations.

  • Think big about integration needs
  • Consider data and application integration
  • Plan for hybrid and multicloud requirements
  • Have potential users experiment with the platform
  • Check references that match your scale, complexity, and industry

“Maybe your impetus for considering an iPaaS is one hairy, audacious project that’s in front of you,” he added. “But I would encourage you to think long-term and about the breadth of integration challenges that you will face down the road. You want to be able to leverage a single platform and then replicate your successes with speed.”

Learn more about digital transformation and modernization with our eBook, “Five Must-Have Capabilities in a Modern iPaaS