In the digital world, connections matter. The problem is, the proliferation of numerous platforms, devices, and software systems has spiked incompatibility. This makes it difficult to connect with clients and software partners.
However, data integration is pivotal to fostering innovation. It also ensures software architects don’t have to do the same thing over and over again. Rather, they can repurpose existing processes and data flows into new projects.
On the other hand, organizations generally find it untenable to constantly perform custom integration to overcome cross-platform incompatibilities in pursuit of information exchange.
Integration service providers (ISPs) bridged this gap by harnessing the power of integration.
We have previously discussed integrated service management (ISM), but here we’ll go into the role of ISPs in data transformation, along with their challenges, advantages, and common use cases.
Feel free to jump to the section of your choice:
- What is an Integration Service Provider?
- How Do Integrated Service Providers Work?
- Types of Integration Service Providers
- Common Use Cases for ISPs and iPaaS
- Advantages of Using an Integration Service Provider
- Selecting a Competent Integration Service Provider
What is an Integration Service Provider?
An integration service provider is a platform that connects different software applications and systems so they can seamlessly exchange data. As purveyors of a specialized application, ISPs offer clients software structured with an accessible interface. This is usually via an application program interface (API), to execute data flow integration.
ISPs typically offer features that range from customer data integration to cross-platform integration, including data management and database analytics solutions. They also aim to shorten deployment times, making it easy to exchange information using a no-code, low-code, or script-based integration solution.
Other features offered by ISPs include:
- Dashboards for managing integrations
- Robust data mapping functionality
- Real-time analytics
- Easily configurable workflow triggers
- Ability to implement custom connectors
- Scalability through pre-built data connectors
- Multiple protocol support, ranging from FTP, HTTP/S, Advanced Messaging Queuing, and Open Data Protocol.
- Flexible pricing models.
How Do Integrated Service Providers Work?
ISPs use various technologies to facilitate the exchange of data across systems. They primarily work by using APIs to create connections between disparate and seemingly incompatible software artifacts.
In addition to being API-driven, ISPs also use frameworks like service-oriented architectures (SOA). SOAs use service interfaces to make components deployed in web service solutions reusable. These service interfaces are defined using a standard tag structure for defining XML-based services called Web Service Definition Language (WSDL).
Unlike most APIs that use the REST-standard-based protocols, the service interfaces exposed via SOA use another network protocol called SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to send HTTP or JSON/HTTP requests.
Instead of using API integrations, an ISP can also employ another architectural pattern known as the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), which is a vital component of SOA.
ESB uses centralized software components to execute the integration between applications. It also handles connectivity, performs message routing, plus the transformation of data models.
While ISPs can use different architectural components to pursue integration, they invariably rely on one type of delivery mechanism and subscription model.
To reach customers, ISPs predominantly operate an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) business model. In fact, integrated service providers have mostly become synonymous with iPaaS since they primarily use this subscription-based pricing as a business model.
The iPaaS configuration provides enterprises with a set of automated tools to establish connections between core business applications in a turnkey manner. Hence, enterprises aren’t required to install or set up hardware or manage additional resources.
An integration service provider should ideally operate both cloud-native and on-premise deployments. Better still if they can provide customers with hybrid options.
Types of Integration Service Providers
With a better understanding of how ISPs work, let’s discuss the existing variations of ISPs.
These are companies that have expertise in bringing together different components of a subsystem into a functional whole. They also provide enterprises with the necessary planning, coordination, scheduling, implementation, and testing required for this type of integration for their computing systems.
Managed Service Providers (MSP)
These are third parties that manage an organization’s IT infrastructure remotely. They are typically geared to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that can’t afford in-house IT personnel to manage their day-to-day tech operations.
In discharging their duties, MSPs provide perfunctory integration services on behalf of their clients to ensure the systems work effectively.
These are a particular type of integration service that give companies both deployment and development environments. Since they are cloud-based solutions, they deliver resources that engender data transformation through sophisticated enterprise applications.
Business Process Integration Providers
These mainly deal with large enterprise clients who want to leverage their vast information sources efficiently. Business process integrators assist such clients by connecting disparate systems and integrating numerous business processes into a single, cohesive unit.
Common Use Cases For ISPs and iPaaS
Just as data uses aren’t homogenous, all data integration and transformation aren’t created equal.
- Application-to-application integration: This ensures different applications can seamlessly establish connections through permeable interfaces.
- Data integration: This permits real-time synchronization and data flow between systems through managing complex data format translations.
- Microservice integration: The proliferation of microservice architecture has increased the need for data integration to automatically generate, support, and publish APIs.
- Multiple cloud integrations: ISPs enable them to manage complex integration from multiple public cloud sources.
- Big data integration: Fostering data analytics and business intelligence with complex Big Data integrations.
Advantages of Using an Integration Service Provider
One of the main benefits of adopting an integration service provider is that they empower organizations with:
- Fast and uncomplicated data integrations: To simplify and speed up the process of data integration.
- Business intelligence: Cleaning and harmonizing data from various sources to provide the best quality for business operations and intelligence.
- Innovate faster: The real-time business insights gained from streamlined data integration improve business efficiency and creativity.
- Shorten deployment time: To allow software engineers to easily develop, test, and deploy integrations.
- Convenience: Offering out-of-the-box connectivity solutions with low friction of use or maintenance.
- Event monitoring: Monitor and manage integration solutions with access to process and system event logs.
- Cost-effectiveness: ISPs eliminate hiring expensive specialists to perform in-house integrations. Provides businesses with the ability to implement high-performance integration at an optimum price with an adequate degree of reliability.
- 360-view of data: Offering organizations a means to establish a shared and holistic view of data from disparate data sources.
- Building a more effective tech stack: Integration service providers enable organizations to break down tech silos using specialized tools and resources that are more suitable to their business objectives. This creates a more effective and stable tech stack.
- Improved customer experience: Better integrated data allows organizations to offer customers better-personalized experiences tailored to their needs. This also allows them to gain better data insight for customer segmentation.
Selecting a Competent Integration Service Provider
In choosing an integration service provider, qualities like dependability, security, and industry expertise should be priorities. Exalate has a track record as an integration service provider, supporting increased scalability, flexibility, and maintainability across industries.
Check out how a cross-platform integration tool like Exalate operates to offer you the flexibility of decentralized integration.
- The Comprehensive Guide to iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service)
- Top 14 iPaaS Solutions in 2023
- An Overview of Integrated Service Management (ISM)
- Exploring Ways To Implement Managed Services Integration
- Service Integration and Management (SIAM): The Complete Guide
- How to Build an Effective SIAM Operating Model