What is an iPaaS?

Patchworks is an iPaaS – but what exactly is an iPaaS, and why do businesses need one? Check out our educational guide to the world of iPaaS and get to know the Patchworks platform a little better.

What is an iPaaS?

June 21, 2019

The digital world is more intricate and complex than ever. With the rise of software as a service apps (SaaS), more and more technology is moving into the cloud. From warehouse systems and 3PLs to ERPs and ecommerce platforms, businesses are using dozens of separate cloud-based systems, each storing data in different environments.

Companies often invest in integration software to connect these systems, enabling them to share data. Their ecommerce platform needs to be integrated with their warehouse system, their warehouse needs to be integrated with their 3PL, their 3PL needs to be integrated with their ecommerce platform, and so on. But with dozens of separate integrations and channels of communications, it’s easy for wires to get crossed – especially with fast-growing retailers.

That’s where an iPaaS like Patchworks comes in.

An integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a cloud-based service that allows the integration and automation of data between all your different business systems. It’s the central hub for your software – a place for your systems to get together and share the information you decide needs to be shared, when you decide they should share it.

Your foundational layer

So, instead of losing data through a grapevine of separate integrations, all your systems share data through one easy-to-use integration platform. It’s the foundational layer that keeps your IT infrastructure standing.

Why is an iPaaS so important?

Before the rise of SaaS, businesses were generally powered by traditional on-premise applications. But this self-hosted software was expensive, often difficult to set up and required a lot of ongoing, costly support to maintain. After the success of SaaS models like Salesforce, businesses started moving towards software as a service, which requires a lot less upkeep and technical support than on-premise apps. This change meant that a lot of essential data moved into the cloud.

Some businesses now host data entirely in SaaS applications, and some have data stored in a hybrid of SaaS and on-premise software. By using a host of different systems that don’t communicate, companies gradually create masses of data that are easily lost in the void. Issues like overselling, poor order fulfilment and costly resources can all be traced back to a lack of – or poorly executed – integration.

When rapidly growing businesses start to run into these issues, they often use individual connectors to integrate their different apps. These one-time solutions work fine for a while, but having dozens of separate integrations is ultimately unsustainable, especially as a business grows. And when technical issues start to crop up, it can be impossible to find the source of the problem. It’s like trying to find a needle in a very complicated haystack.

That’s why an integration platform has become essential for enterprises.

All your data, available at your fingertips

By using an integration platform, not only can you automate data transfers between your systems, but all of this data is available at your fingertips. And if there is an issue with one of your systems or integrations, you only need one point of contact to find the root of the problem. It’s how big brands can process tens of thousands of orders every hour without their systems grinding to a halt.

The benefits of having an iPaaS

Up-to-date stock levels

There are countless reasons to have an iPaaS powering your business, but one of the key benefits is being able to automate your data. Through scheduled data syncing and live inventory figures, you can make sure your site always has up-to-date stock levels, no matter how busy your store gets.

Improved order fulfilment

Without the need for warehouse or customer service staff to manually input stock figures, an iPaaS saves both you and your employees heaps of valuable time. It also eliminates the risk of human error, meaning you won’t have to worry about overselling or order fulfilment issues. Not only does this increase your profit margins, but it also helps give your customers a better shopping experience.

Data syncs when you need them most

With the Patchworks platform, you can choose when and how you sync your essential business data across your apps, whether it’s in time with peak sales periods or manually triggered as and when you need it.

One easy-to-use platform

By having a single dashboard to connect all your business-critical software, you can easily review data syncs, troubleshoot problems and watch the cogs of your business turning.

More time & resources

One of the other main advantages of an iPaaS is that it completely frees up your team from IT admin, giving them time to work on more exciting and business-critical projects. Things like building connectors and data maps, which can take a team of developers months to achieve, can be done in a matter of weeks with the Patchworks platform. And with a team of integration specialists managing your connections, your IT team won’t be bogged down with technical issues.

A better customer experience

Most importantly, an iPaaS improves your customers’ experience, enabling your business to grow freely and quickly. It’s the critical core that keeps every part of your business connected.

How does an iPaaS work?

An iPaaS provider is like the plumber you hire to fit a new bathroom. You can try and install it yourself, but things would get pretty messy. So you pick out the bathroom units, the lighting, the flooring, and you hand it over to a professional. Their job is to put your bathroom together, hook it up to the rest of your plumbing and make everything run smoothly.

Your iPaaS works in a similar way. You could set up your own integrations, but it takes time you don’t have and resources you can’t afford to spare. Enter the integration experts.

The Patchworks team take the separate elements of your business and connect them to an integration platform, using pre-built connectors and business blueprints to establish a flow of data. We also show you how to use your new iPaaS and continue managing your connections to ensure everything’s running smoothly. Then, if any technical issues occur down the line, you can simply call the team. No stressed-out developers or phone calls to IT necessary.

The secret to rapid growth

Ready to unlock the power of an iPaaS? Get in touch today to learn more about how the Patchworks platform can solve your integration problems & transform your business.

Find out more

Chloé Rose Whitmore

Save time & sell more with Patchworks

By integrating your core business applications and streamlining your operations, we’ll give you the tools you need to scale your business. Get started today by filling in our handy contact form. Get started for free

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