Over the last few years, companies have quickly been working their way towards digital transformation, modernizing aging IT infrastructure in an effort to provide better service and delivery at a time when resources are limited and, in many cases, overburdened.
The realities of the last few years, alone, have caused organizations to double down on their digital transformation efforts and invest in enterprise integration and automation solutions to form the foundations of a new, integrated digital landscape.
Did you know that at any given time, an organization relies on upwards of 100 different applications to facilitate everything from customer services to employee interactions? Many of these apps do not inherently integrate with one another, causing gaps in information sharing, redundant data entry and manual processing – creating roadblocks on the road to a truly integrated enterprise. That’s why integration and workflow solutions are so integral to the digital transformation process.
In addition, we know many organizations are struggling to tack integration backlogs with limited IT resources. Meanwhile, those same IT resources are left spinning their wheels trying to manually handle a growing number of tickets and requests that could otherwise be taken care of through automation – leaving them with the time needed to tackle more complex projects.
Don't Be Scared of Integration and Modernization
Sharing data within and across organizations, departments and tools has traditionally been facilitated via point-to-point integrations or a series of application programming interfaces (APIs). The problem is that point-to-point integrations can break the minute a system updates. And while the use of APIs is common – in fact, the average IT organization uses more than 300 APIs to connect various systems – misconfigurations can easily introduce security vulnerabilities and errors.
These data management challenges – combined with resource and budget constraints – mean organizations need a better way to integrate and share data. That’s where iPaaS comes in.
iPaaS (integration platform as a service) enables organizations to leverage data across the enterprise. A cloud-based integration platform, iPaaS can easily integrate with any system using pre-built connectors housed in a connector library. These connectors can coordinate data integration across the full enterprise of applications. Users can easily create new connectors without deep technical knowledge.
With iPaaS you get a frictionless transfer of data between different applications, allowing businesses to streamline their workflow and improve their output. At the same time, it helps businesses to expand their offering without having to create more services. Using the integration platform, they can integrate those services with existing software and provide their users with a unified, more robust solution.
The Benefits of iPaaS
iPaaS helps seamlessly connect software applications and synchronize data. This synchronization can have long-lasting benefits to an organization’s operations:
- Cost-effective integration. By implementing iPaaS, organizations can supercharge their teams with a library of pre-built connectors to systems that are used every day. All of this connectivity provides the backbone for digital transformation.
- Improved security and compliance. Extensive use of APIs has opened organizations to security risks, while bespoke scripts are often uncontrolled and undocumented. With a centralized integration platform, access points and workflows are controlled.
- Creation of the golden record. When data resides in disparate systems, organizations have a hard time achieving a single source of truth. With iPaaS, organizations can harmonize and transform data so that they are able to point to a true record.
- Improved accuracy. Because iPaaS leverages a centralized connector library, creating workflows is easier and more straightforward. CIOs can be more secure in the workflows and connectivity built across their 100+ systems.
- Greater employee efficiency. Process automation is a key outcome of true digital transformation. The ability to quickly and easily build workflows using a visual flow builder helps employees do more, in less time.
Supercharging ITSM/ESM Platforms with iPaaS
IT Service Management (ITSM) and Enterprise Service Management (ESM) platforms all have some level of workflow and automation but this is mostly only within the actual system itself. You can automatically route a ticket or automatically close something and so on, but that is not really enterprise automation.
First, you need a platform that can quickly integrate with the hundreds of applications that exist in the organization – not something homegrown that can take years to get off the ground. That’s why iPaaS is being adopted, quickly, in many organizations. It’s a simple, easy-to-use integration and automation platform that lives next to all of the systems.
Instead of having a bespoke automation tool inside every single application – of which there are likely to be 100-300 – why not have everything housed in ONE codeless platform that’s easy to use and requires no developers.
By using iPaaS, your technical resources can learn and leverage a single hub – versus acquiring deep system expertise in all 300 applications you need to integrate. With a single system to learn, you can eliminate manual processing and the long wait times for developer resources to free up.
When you supercharge your ITSM/ESM with iPaaS you can get enhanced automation capabilities that allow you to automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry or data synchronization, freeing up IT teams to focus on more strategic activities. This can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase productivity.
In addition, adding iPaaS can help ensure data consistency and accuracy across multiple systems and applications by providing a centralized platform for data integration and management. This can help improve data quality, reduce data silos, and enable better decision-making.
A Complete Integration and Automation Solution
High-performing enterprise IT teams need a single place where they can manage the full range of integrations and workflow deployments. The TeamDynamix iPaaS platform is built with ease of use in mind and with a full range of features including modern API management; state of the art security and governance; out-of-the-box connectors; best-in-class quality and troubleshooting features; and more that can position your team for the high growth and challenges of the next decade.
At NaphCare they are using iPaaS to create highly customizable workflows for automating a variety of tasks and processes easily. “With iPaaS, we’re looking at automating tasks to take some of the things we do manually out of the hands of IT staff, so they can be more efficient,” Barry Bowden, NaphCare’s IT Service Desk manager, said.
For instance, setting up and provisioning IT accounts for NaphCare employees is currently a multi-step process. NaphCare uses a software program called Adaxes to automate the provisioning of accounts within Active Directory, but IT staff still have to coordinate with both HR staff and the managers of various departments to confirm what IT privileges employees should have—such as whether they should get a free or paid Zoom account. Bowden’s staff includes one full-time employee whose sole responsibility is to perform this work.
With TeamDynamix, NaphCare has created automated workflows for contacting HR and department heads to collect the necessary information. Using iPaaS, Bowden plans to connect TeamDynamix with Adaxes and build a customized workflow to create new user accounts from this information.
Automating this process will enable it to be completed in under five minutes, he says, with very little human intervention needed—freeing up the IT employee responsible for this task to do more strategic work, “That employee can be reallocated to other areas to work on more complex projects,” Bowden said.
There are also plans to automate software provisioning for programs like Microsoft Office.
“It will take me a week, right now, to go in and install Microsoft office on all the accounts that request it. With automation in place, I won’t need to touch those requests unless there’s a problem. People will be able to go to our portal, put in the request and automatically get the software,” Bowden said. “That’s a full week of time I can get back to work on other things. That will be a huge benefit for us.”
Since purchasing iPaaS from TeamDynamix, the main focus for Ken Libutti, CIO, and his team at Palm Beach State University has been data integration and transparency, “We’ve made sure that we can populate the data warehouse using iPaaS to get the data out of our different applications and systems, and use all of that data to populate the dashboards we’ve created for our administrative and executive staff,” he said.
But there’s also been a focus on what the user interface looks like for students and faculty as well.
“We want to present a single pane of glass to the students so they can really see what their education plan is, what their progress looks like, who their advisor is and what events are relevant to them if they’re in clubs or things like that,” Libutti said. “So we have several interfaces that we’re working on and trying to understand how we can pull those all together using iPaaS and our data warehouse.”
For Libutti and his team, they’re just scratching the surface of what they feel they can do with iPaaS.
“We want all the data to come into the data warehouse because we know TeamDynamix iPaaS can keep all those APIs in sync, which keeps the data in sync and it ensures we are doing the transforms that need to be done to the data,” Libutti said. “Having that single source of truth – knowing the data is in sync and valid – is our main focus and why we were so interested in investing in iPaaS.”
To learn more about iPaaS and the positive impact it can have on your organization check out this eBook: What is iPaaS and How Does It Accelerate Digital Transformation
This article was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated with new information.