From the Repetitive to the Strategic: Liberating IT Resources With iPaaS Integrations
See why iPaaS integrations give the freedom to focus on strategic initiatives.
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Managing the technical infrastructure that runs a company’s operations has traditionally been the sole realm of IT. This was especially true when companies were using client-server technologies that required advanced technical skills to set up, maintain, and make updates. However, as cloud computing has taken over, the role of IT is changing drastically, especially in the area of business applications or software used by specific business units or departments.
Cloud applications, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), has made it much easier for departments or even individuals to purchase, setup, and use applications without IT being aware of the applications. The self-service nature of SaaS has removed the IT bottleneck. These trends may indicate that that role of IT has become significantly diminished in the organization. In reality, these trends are freeing up IT resources so they can be focused on strategic projects that add value for a company.
The key to making this leap is adopting an integration strategy, and IT departments are in the best position to drive this.
The Rise of Departmental Apps
The prevalence of cloud computing has made it possible to have an app for automating nearly every business process and challenge imaginable. IT departments used to be the gatekeepers of all business applications, but this is no longer the case. Anyone can now easily sign up, set up, and use business applications on their own without the support of IT. This digitization of the enterprise has helped countless businesses save time, money, and other resources while boosting productivity.
But at what point will this onslaught of apps become too much of a good thing?
A business, where employees across departments are finding and using the apps they want, can function like a well-oiled machine or be a Tower of Babel. Critical pieces of business can fall through the cracks and insufficient communication between departments, suppliers, vendors, and partners can cause chaos.
The difference between these two paths lies in a business’s integration strategy. Companies with a solid app-integration strategy can reap the full benefit of the proliferation of digital tools. Those lacking a strategy risk being mired in chaos as employees continuously add new applications.
Changing Role of IT
As new technologies make the individual departments of a business more independent and agile, IT professionals have seen their roles change. Where their job ten years ago might have mainly entailed installing and maintaining new software, they have since moved away from that function and are now impacting sales, customer service, and business strategy at many companies.
This means most companies won’t have an air-traffic controller when it comes to the many applications being added and used by various departments.
When employees seek out new apps, they are generally doing it to solve a problem that’s specific to their role and are not thinking about how the addition of new software might impact the company as a whole. It used to be the job of IT to think holistically about the business and consider how new software might affect the company overall. But the ease of adoption and use of SaaS applications has resulted in companies adopting dozens or hundreds of apps.
While IT resources are being funneled into projects focused on business growth, companies are also struggling to meet demands for integrating data between disparate applications. Not only are there demands for new integrations, but also for maintaining, troubleshooting, and updating them.
Building an Automation Strategy Around iPaaS Integrations
Some companies, especially those with highly technical IT teams, are building their own customized integrations. However, business requirements are not static. There may be changes while the initial integration is being built, and there will likely be even more as business needs grow and change over time. An application API could change what impacts the integration, and custom code projects take a lot of time and have high initial and ongoing costs.
A better option for most organizations is an Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS). Rather than building and testing everything from scratch, an iPaaS automatically offers the key components to quickly build integrations that are reliable and meet requirements, including:
- Connectivity: Built-in connections to hundreds of applications
- Reliability: Built-in support for offline handling so as soon as connection resumes, integration continues without losing any data
- Change Management: Built-in ability to update mappings, schedules, and other changes directly via a UI
- Error Management: Built-in dashboard with full visibility into integration status and errors with the ability to correct and re-run integrations; automated error alerts available
- User Management: Built-in support for adding users by roles (admin, monitor, view-only)
With an iPaaS, IT can centralize integrations onto a single platform without spending significant time or resources. The ease-of-use of an iPaaS enables integrations to be done by junior developers or even non-developers, such as systems analysts and administrators. The ongoing maintenance, troubleshooting, and updates can be handed off to other departments to free up IT bandwidth to be spent on higher value activities.
The Freedom to Focus on Strategic Initiatives
A well-thought-out integration strategy backed by an iPaaS empowers IT to ensure applications are working in concert to offer maximum efficiencies and productivity gains. At the same time, IT can actually hand off managing, updating, troubleshooting, and even building new integrations to other departments based on the ease-of-use and complete solution offered by an iPaaS. This frees up IT resources that can be spent on more interesting projects that add strategic value to the organization.
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