5 Features You Need in an Integration Platform

 

Woman sitting at a desk manipulating data on a futuristic screen.

Implementing iPaaS means instantly elevated A2A and B2B integration.  

An integration platform is a tool that allows applications to communicate with each other, despite differences in programming or formatting. iPaaS coordinates internal applications, automates workflows and transactions, and connects you to customers or trading partners instantly. 

In every industry, iPaaS has made itself known as a key player. Practically speaking, integration platforms are crucial for B2B connectivity, implementing successful API integration, and internal collaboration. Low-code, cloud-based platforms (like CINTAP Cloud) give companies the extra edge of boosted flexibility and the freedom to adapt quickly to infrastructure changes. 

Many platforms boast user-friendly features, but not every iPaaS can deliver what you need to navigate complex transactions, rapid growth, and a more automated business model. 

What to look for in an integration platform

So, what makes a good integration platform…good? 

1. Affordability 

How much time and money are you going to spend onboarding partners to an iPaaS? Will the platform provide insights on reporting, or leave you blind? Are there limitations on which applications can be integrated? How much of your work will be automated by your iPaaS? 

Asking these questions as you sift through the many options for an integration platform will help you divide the wheat from the chaff! Some platforms have free versions, and others can even exceed $10,000/month, but typically the cost of iPaaS falls in the range of $50-$5,000/month 

Cost may be a priority for your company- and it should be. But if you settle for a low-quality platform because it was the best deal, you may end up spending more time and money in the long run. For example, cheaper platforms and service plans have usage limitations, require DIY transactions, and provide fewer pre-built connectors. Adding it all up, you’re still spending time and effort (and money!) managing your own integrations on a platform that doesn’t fit your company’s needs. 

On the other end of the spectrum are big-name, top-dollar iPaaS providers. While they come with a more comprehensive range of capabilities, more pre-built connectors, and hopefully more customer support, they also have some inherent downfalls. Larger platforms often can’t offer customized integrations. They can take months to fully integrate with your internal systems and trade network. And any additional services and workarounds come with large price tags. 

So if bargain-bin iPaaS falls short, and top-shelf platforms miss the mark, what are you left with? 

Integration platforms with effort-based billing. 

Paying a flat fee for iPaaS, with occasional as-needed solutions, gives you the best of both worlds: low monthly costs and inexpensive custom-built integrations. 

2. Data Compliance and Security 

When connecting your networks to countless outside systems, SaaS applications, cloud apps, and other data sources, you need to know with absolute certainty that your iPaaS is secure against any possible threat.  

Industry standards and benchmarks for integration compliance and security are there to give you exactly that. Certifications are an excellent first step in proving compliance: for example, ISO 27001 attests to a platform’s capability to ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability, while ISO 27017 signals specific measures taken to reduce security risks and awareness of the latest security protocols for cloud-based data integration.  (Learn more about these certifications and their significance here and here.) 

Cloud-based iPaaS is, by its nature, a more secure option compared to traditional on-site integration software, eliminating the need for persistent data storage. Centralized integration platforms guarantee real-time data access across systems- streamlining privacy compliance and giving users the tools needed to comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, SOC2, FERPA, and others. 

Additional indicators of strong security measures include:  

  • end-to-end automated monitoring  
  • comprehensive data logging 
  • microservices-based isolation 
  • access control and multi-factor authentication 
  • Instant notifications for any errors or attempted hacks 

Top iPaaS providers are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest security standards by adhering to industry best practices, security frameworks, and increasingly sophisticated threats. Performing your own due diligence with a platform is worth the investment, eliminating the need to invest time and money in fighting breaches or changing platform providers. 

3. Transparency  

Centralized data is one of the top benefits of using iPaaS. But it’s only a benefit if that data is easy to access and interpret. 

Most integration platforms allow users to monitor and analyze data in real-time. This data gives users insights into their operations that can ultimately optimize their entire business. 

On the other hand, when that data is difficult to track (especially in EDI transactions), you risk losing thousands of dollars each month. 

It is unreasonable to manually monitor bulk transactions for errors and discrepancies: product information, supplier locations, shipment routes, delivery status, orders-vs-invoices, and more.  

Automation is possible, but with huge amounts of data constantly streaming in and out, information is still likely to be scattered across multiple systems. Considering the range of data formats and protocols and their effects on standardization efforts, comprehensive visibility becomes a genuine challenge for most platforms. 

The integration platforms with the most visibility provide users with easy-to-read dashboards. For instance, CINTAP Cloud allows for dashboards to be personalized, with easy-to-add widgets and interactive charts and graphs. Even more helpful is CINTAP’s unique Transaction Trail, giving our partners end-to-end visibility for even the most complex EDI transactions.  

When choosing an integration platform, you need to be able to take full advantage of your data and reporting: you need full transparency. 

4. Rapid Onboarding 

When onboarding your trade network is slow, clunky, and expensive, you’ll lose more than your patience. You risk losing trade opportunities, automated and error-free transactions, and ultimately, money. 

Beyond onboarding your network, you need an iPaaS that can connect you easily to any application. A2A and B2B integration and flexible scalability are integral to successful expansion. As your business grows and requires more applications, your iPaaS should keep pace with these integrations.  

Cloud-based integration platforms are better suited for automating processes and enabling data exchange between different platforms and systems. With innumerable connectors and adapters available, these iPaaS can establish seamless connections and data flow across cloud-based applications, on-premises systems, and even hybrid environments.   

CINTAP founders revolutionized iPaaS onboarding and project rollout, making it possible to accomplish 60-70% faster than other providers. Our solution is flexible, expansive, and comprehensive standard mappings defined on CINTAP Cloud, meaning about 90% of integrations are ready for immediate deployment (with only slight changes needed, if any). Our distinctive melding of pre-built and custom integrations means onboarding new partners and applications can be accomplished in record time! 

5. Managed Services 

While last on this list, don’t mistake managed services as the least important feature of an integration platform.  

Once iPaaS is implemented and partners are onboarding, users will still need extensive support to avoid bottlenecks while integrating their systems, processes, and partners. If your provider doesn’t offer this support, you’ll need an internal team dedicating their time and efforts to resolving any issues that may arise. An efficient and timely support service can be the difference between bottlenecked transactions and seamless EDI, whether you outsource that support or not. 

Furthermore, a managed services team can circumvent a platform’s predefined integrations by customizing workflows, adapting quickly to industry demands, or implementing unique processes. A top perk of partnering with a managed services team (such as CINTAP Engineering Group) is customization: instead of conforming to rigid parameters, it may be possible to build tools, features, and more. 

Checking off all your boxes

The right integration platform can make or break your company.  

Affordable all-around flat-rate fees – or high monthly subscriptions, never-ending service charges, and expensive data transfer kilo character charges. 

Complete data security for you and your trade network – or data leaks and vulnerabilities. 

End-to-end visibility for even the most complex EDI transactions – or confusion and lost payments

Timely onboarding of trade partners and quick rollouts for integration projects – or delays that can last months. 

Experienced support from industry experts for custom solutions – or pricey and complicated workarounds. 

It seems like an easy choice, but it isn’t one you can make without effort. Doing your due diligence, researching platform case studies and statistics, and asking the right questions when speaking to providers will go a long way in making your decision confidently. 

And we’re on a mission to make it even easier to choose the best iPaaS for your business. 

CINTAP Cloud

What’s more, CINTAP stands out from the crowd with its logging feature, onboarding time and cost, and all your tools readily accessible and analyzed in real-time. Our variety of plans allows you to customize your integration platform to meet your company’s needs. 

Unlike other iPaaS companies, CINTAP has a single dashboard for you to view trends, complete transactions, and manage your company. Also, we can connect with almost any application and give you insights into all your data and its trends in one place – no toggling between pages!  

With our commitment to bring you convenience and excellent service at a high-value cost, we believe we are the best option for your business. 

We are the iPaaS company you’ve been looking for. To learn more about our packages, contact us and a representative can get you started.  

Let our solutions be your solution! 

Author – Carissa Getscher

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