Gartner: iPaaS to Play Growing Role in Enterprise, SaaS Integration - Page 2

Loraine Lawson
That broad definition means the following companies all fit its definition: Crossgate, E2Open, GXS, Hubspan, IBM-Sterling Commerce, Seeburger, Liaison Technologies and SPS Commerce, Appresso, Dell-Boomi, IBM-Cast Iron Systems, Informatica, Fiorano, Infoteria, iWay Software, Jitterbit, Microsoft, Pervasive Software, Vigience and Mulesoft. (I found it interesting that Mulesoft is one of the first to embrace and use the term iPaaS, but it's not mentioned as an iPaaS contender until deeper in the report. But I digress ...)

Here's the catch: All of these are considered by Gartner to be 'iPaaS providers, although they may not provide all the capabilities of a full-fledged iPaaS yet.' Later, Gartner adds that iPaaS is in its infancy and very few vendors even recognize the term. You'd be pretty safe in saying, too, that very few vendors even rise up to the term and Gartner's full definition.

But Gartner expects that to change over the next few years, and with good reason. Cloud is, well, clouding the integration picture. It's no longer enough to look at SaaS-to-on-premise integration, or SaaS-to-SaaS or some other configuration that could really be handled point to point. Right now, integration is being handled as an after-thought, David Linthicum points out.

But it can't last long. We're on the verge of a time when information will need to flow freely between multiple services running in the cloud, on-premise apps and cloud-based resources and back again, across countries and continents. It's all going to require a service-based approach to integration. In other words, in exactly the same kind of fashion experts predicted SOA and a service-based approach to integration - aka - would enable years ago.

In fact, SOA is one of the reasons organizations will need iPaaS, and it is through SOA competency centers and integration competency centers that Gartner predicts this new approach to integration will be introduced deeper into the enterprise.

As I read it, Gartner sees iPaaS not just as a nice thing for the cloud, but a major feature of integration in the future. Under recommendations, the research firm advises that 'users should initially consider iPaaS primarily to support integration and governance in e-commerce B2B scenarios or where at least some of the involved applications are cloud-based."

But as other factors come into play, such as the need for more tightly coupled B2B integration between enterprises, agility and cost, "users should prepare for a potential major rebalancing of the center of gravity of their integration and governance strategies between iPaaS and on-premise platforms," advises Gartner.

By 2016 - just four years and a few odd months - at least 35 percent of all large and mid-size organizations around the world will be using iPaaS in some form or another, Gartner predicts. What does that mean for IT shops? They "must plan for a long-term coexistence of their established integration and governance infrastructures with iPaaS-based approaches," Gartner warns.

I won't lie: It's not a fun piece to read, in part because it's full of acronyms and in part because it serves too many audiences. For instance, part of the report is aimed at SaaS and cloud vendors that will certainly have an interest in embracing iPaaS as a cloud-based way to manage their own integration issues.

But if you want to know about iPaaS - and if you don't now, you probably soon will - and where various vendors stand in their evolution toward iPaaS, it's worth wading through the jargon, especially since you can access it for free.

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