9 Ways an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) Can Transform Your CX
Today’s customer experiences (CX) need to be relevant, omnichannel and delivered in real-time – a set of requirements that’s easy to say, but extremely difficult to truly achieve. So difficult, in fact, that organizations are aggressively increasing their CX tech spend – set to reach $641 billion by 2022 (IDC Research, 2019) – and building sprawling tech stacks, with small businesses now averaging at least 40 different SaaS apps (Chiefmartec, 2020).
But, as we’ve discussed previously, it’s becoming increasingly clear that a digital experience platform (DXP) and an extensive martech stack is only part of the CX puzzle. In order to create a customer experience that actually meets customer expectations – and is scalable and manageable from a business perspective – you need an experience eco-system that’s fully integrated and cloud-based; also known as an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).
What is an iPaaS?
We’ve recently covered open DXPs and cloud-based DXPs; but iPaaS solutions effectively combine the best bits of both, providing organizations with a centralised, fully supported, cloud-based environment in which to develop and deliver integrations without needing to buy or manage additional software.
The key selling points of iPaaS offerings (which we’ll cover in more detail, shortly) are that they’re entirely focused on integrating different systems; but they also take a ‘low code’ approach, meaning that anyone in the business can create these integrations, not just developers.
Why is this a big deal?
In short – because integration is one of the biggest challenges that organizations currently face when it comes to CX:
- In a recent study, 36% of marketers revealed that integrating disparate systems is a major barrier to success (Ascend2, 2020).
- 38% said integration with other technologies in the stack is a key capability for their martech (Ascend2, 2020).
- Gartner predicts that, through 2021, 85% of the effort and cost involved in a DXP program will be spent on integrations with internal and external systems (CMSWire, 2020).
- 56% of IT leaders cited ‘ease of integration with existing tech infrastructure’ as a ‘very important’ factor in their choice of a DX vendor (DCG Research, 2018).
- “Anecdotal evidence from Gartner clients’ experience suggest that by using an integration platform, time to value for integration logic can be reduced by up to 75 percent versus custom coding.” – Gartner, How Pervasive Integration Enables Your API Initiatives.
To create the highly sophisticated yet seamless experiences customers expect, your DXP must be able to leverage, share and act upon data from various sources – in the moment, while your customer is interacting online. In order to achieve this, at scale, your systems need to be able to speak to each other and access data easily, through automated processes – which is impossible unless they’re fully integrated.
9 Benefits of an iPaaS:
Essentially, an iPaaS empowers even non-technical staff to make, fast, simple customized integrations in a centralised, cloud-based environment… but here’s what that means in practice:
1. Lower cost of ownership – integrations are one of the biggest on-going costs that businesses face when trying to create a tech stack capable of delivering an enhanced experience. Building, supporting and maintaining custom integrations consumes IT resources and costs money; an iPaaS enables teams to create these same custom integrations at a fraction of the cost – significantly lowering cost of ownership.
2. Speed – increasingly, organizations that are able to pivot and adapt to changing customer needs, almost overnight, stand out from the laggards (a factor that became painfully obvious during the initial stages of the pandemic). The ability to rapidly integrate your systems, applications and data in a single platform will significantly reduce time-to-market on customisations and improvements, directly impacting your organisation’s competitiveness.
3. Simplicity – arming more staff, across the business, with the skills and tools to be able to build and manage custom integrations – without relying on a small number of IT people – will remove risk and facilitate innovation. With an intuitive user interface (UI) and easy monitoring, iPaaS solutions cut-out the steep learning curve for non-technical users and promote ownership of integrations, helping teams to achieve their own goals.
4. Flexibility – when you can integrate almost any system and connect data from almost any source, you can build almost anything. An iPaaS empowers organizations to innovate, decide exactly which tools will offer customers what they need and curate their CX capabilities.
5. 'Low' ongoing support – as the importance of integration becomes clearer, businesses are realising that restrictive, closed DXPs, with limited pre-configured vendor-driven integrations are the anchor that will drown their CX goals. The ability to integrate and innovate quickly with an iPaaS offers organizations a chance to be less reliant on vendor support and gain greater control over their DX technologies.
6. Free-up valuable IT resources – the flip-side to enabling non-technical teams to create custom integrations, with low code, user-friendly interfaces, is that your highly skilled IT teams can invest their time on other, valuable CX improvements across the business.
7. Better data – siloed data is very rarely accurate. When multiple data silos exist, in disconnected systems, it’s almost impossible to keep it up to date and avoid duplication and inaccuracies. Integrated systems mean integrated data – and a single source of truth.
8. Real-time becomes a reality – a single source of truth also means that systems can share data in real-time; an essential part of creating ‘seamless’ experiences, as well as improving internal data access and visibility.
9. Build your dream experience – there’s a reason that open DXPs are also referred to as ‘best of breed’ solutions. Instead of being locked-into limited vendor tools and integrations, iPaaS offers the ability to fully integrate with any system means – enabling organizations to select market-leading tools to create their ideal digital experience eco-systems.
Connecting the experience
Squiz Connect is an iPaaS that takes integration capabilities to a new level.
Purpose-built for digital teams struggling to integrate their tech stacks, Squiz Connect’s pre-built components enable organizations to create a digital ecosystem with rapid data flow between Squiz products and other digital applications, systems and technologies.
With its simple to use interface, Squiz Connect empowers non-technical teams to access data from their SaaS systems and their corporate data silos to build more personalised and cohesive digital experiences and services, with less reliance on third-party vendors or internal IT teams. Unlike bespoke integrations and point-to-point connectors, Squiz Connect offers a single hub for integration, monitoring and maintenance, at a fraction of the cost.
To learn more about Squiz Connect, visit: squiz.net/connect
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There was a time, back when customer experience (CX) platforms were still considered ...