Firstly, what’s the difference between ‘integration as a service’ and iPaaS (integration platform as a service?

If you want to bring all your disparate data and applications together to enable seamless access and interaction between them (rather than siloes and islands that lead to out of date information and poor decision-making) you essentially have two options. Do it yourself (iPaaS), or get in an expert (Integration as a Service). 

Integration as a service means all the hard work is done for you. A team of integration experts scope, design and deliver working integrations that let you deploy best-of-breed solutions fast.

Any cloud, on-premise or legacy systems can be brought together, ensuring no data is left in a silo. Your integrations are monitored 24/7 and they’re fully supported.

You also have the choice of a DIY approach, using an iPaas platform to build, test and deploy your own APIs and integrations. On the surface, they promise an easy drag and drop interface that will allow even non-technical people to configure APIs. From our experience, iPaas platforms seriously under-estimate the real-life complexity and technical skill needed to deliver reliable and robust integrations.

And that’s why, time after time, we are approached by organisations who ‘tried to DIY’ using iPaas, but found that their internal teams were quickly out of their depth and distracted from their core projects.

The difference between iPaaS and Integration as a Service can be like an 'Instagram vs Reality' or a 'Failed online purchase' memes. Humorous to those viewing it, but frustrating, embarrassing, stressful and sometimes expensive for the person who's experience fell short of expectations.

Expectation vs Reality
Expectation vs Reality - when iPaaS falls short

Below we’ve summarised some of the key differences between Campfire (our fully managed integration service) and using an iPaas platform.

Integration platform as a service (iPaas)
“Do it yourself”

Campfire
“All done for you”

You build your own integrations using an interface

We build what you need for you

You’re on your own when it comes to testing integrations

You test alongside expert help from the team at Fusion5

You need to troubleshoot and support your integrations

We monitor 24/7 and fix any issues that arise*

Self service integration often takes longer than it should

We deploy your integrations fast for you

You hit problems when you realise that your software vendor doesn’t provide support for their API or connector

We build integrations to fit your specific business and support them end-to-end

You pay more for real-time integrations

You don't pay additional on-going charges for "Real-Time" integrations

*Fusion 5 supports and fixes during business hours. Out of hours support packages are available.

So what are the 11 deadly sins of iPaaS?

Well, in truth, they are less sins, and more a case of 'over-hyping'.  Of course, iPaaS is a great option for some, depending on their time, experience, in-house capability, and willingness to take a 'learn as you go' approach to the DIY journey.  Customers who use Campfire either recoginised early that they didn't have that capability, or, they fell for the hype and realised that, for them, iPaaS wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

What iPaaS promises The reality (in our customers experience)

ONE

Quickly integrate thousands of applications with pre-built templates and workflows

iPaas is presented as a simple easy solution that doesn’t need developer support. This is often marketing hype that doesn’t live unto this promise.

TWO

Create new APIs just by dragging and dropping in a low-code visual interface

In our experience, teams struggle to configure and manage these APIs in house - they turn to us for help.

THREE

Ready-made connectors ‘just work’ out of the box

Off-the-shelf APIs can be limited in their functionality and many clients only realise this halfway through a project.

FOUR

Get products to market faster and accelerate time to value

Fusion5 has supported many clients to overcome and salvage failed integration projects that were based on iPaas

FIVE

Non-technical teams can create and handle their own APIs

This is rarely the case. Teams quickly find themselves out of depth and with problems on their hands.

SIX

Ready made connectors make life easy

Whilst software vendors may have a ready-made API, they rarely provide hands-on support to individual users or organisations

SEVEN

Integration is simple

Most businesses think that their integrations are ‘simple’ - but under the hood even seemingly simple integrations are more complex and need expert support and configuration.

EIGHT

Internal developer teams love iPaas

Real-life iPaas online reviews show that developers often find these tools a hindrance

NINE

Built-in dashboards make it easy for users to troubleshoot API problems

It’s often very difficult for designated internal integration support people to troubleshoot due to generic error reports and bugs. Even developers struggle to locate errors from these logs.

TEN

Lower total cost of ownership - because you create APIs yourself

iPaas can be a false economy. Despite the promise of a ‘do it yourself’ environment, projects need additional outside expert support and salvage of troubled integrations.

ELEVEN

Use pre-built templates and re-use code and business logic

Ask a developer - and they’ll tell you that this is easier said than actually done. Complex integrations go beyond this simple ability to re-use existing assets.

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