1st February 2019
Our CEO, Fraser, makes five iPaaS and Embedded iPaaS predictions for 2019.
1. Customer experience will influence integration choice more heavily
A lot of companies have, to date, made their integration strategy choice catalysed by customer need but driven by internal development convenience and expediency.
Customers are increasingly not just needing integration but needing a friction-less integration experience. We predict that the demand for native/in-app integrations (rather than off-platform) will increase in the years ahead – resolving customer ‘need’ at point of need in a low-click, low-friction, manner.
Internal convenience/expediency will become secondary to customer convenience/expediency.
2. Open UI will become an increasing reality
Platform-to-platform integrations have traditionally been achieved via data-transfer and/or action instruction using APIs (or equivalent). The concept of plug-ins has existed for a while but hasn’t been adopted deeply in Cloud SaaS applications.
Whether via plug-ins, or other methods, we believe that we will start to see a trend for ‘Open UI’ – the ability to directly trigger and/or activate other applications from within another third party application’s UI.
It requires a mind-set change within the SaaS providers themselves (and of course platform and security developments) but we believe that customers are increasingly demanding the capacity to trigger applications they use regardless of which application they are in (and not have to ‘log in’ to each application). It is closely related to ‘Customer experience’, cited above, and is something we are carefully looking into.
3. Standardisation will continue to grow
One of the side-effects of iPaaS applications is that they are deliberately, or not, right at the heart of standardising the eco-system of disparate approaches to integration, authentication etc….
We all have our different flavours and, in large part, iPaaS platforms exist because of the diversity of integration methodologies within the SaaS eco-system itself.
Whilst diversity won’t ever be completely eradicated, there will be an increasing trend towards best-practise as customer experience and Open UI (see points above) drive the market. This is a continuing trend from previous years.
4. But customisation will also continue to grow
Apparently at odds with the previous point we also believe that customisation will continue to grow. Or more explicitly ‘mass-customisation’ will continue to grow.
A one-size fits all approach to integrating application A to application B is increasingly flawed. Customers are increasingly looking for customisation of both applications and, as a result, integrations. The ability to ‘hyper-fit’ an application to their requirements.
As a result, iPaaS platforms are going to need to handle mass-customisation in a simple way. Agility and flexibility will be sought-after. The capacity for SaaS companies to set one-template and have it easily adapted by 100s of customers to their own requirements.
Without the capacity for mass-customisation SaaS providers will find they need to deliver mass micro-customisation. Or in other words, increasingly bespoke templates for individual clients – and that won’t scale.
Where bespoke customisation for specific end-users is a requirement (often in Enterprise B2B) then the SaaS vendor is likely to want to deliver this customisation using standardised methodologies.
5. Embedded iPaaS will become a recognised sub-category
A sub-category of iPaaS that isn’t yet widely recognised is ‘Embedded iPaaS’.
Embedded iPaaS is the provision of tools direct to the SaaS company, rather than the end-user, to resolve customer problems in a scalable way. It is arguably an infrastructure, rather than an application, play.
There are a small, but emerging, number of players in Embedded iPaaS (of which Cyclr is one. We would hope to begin seeing recognition of the sub-sector by the likes of Gartner in the year ahead.