18th June 2020
We launched to market back in early 2018. At the time embedded iPaaS and the world of API integration platforms for SaaS companies, Digital Agencies and strategic service providers was relatively nascent.
Our ‘angle’ on the market has always been to facilitate the agile development of native integrations by development teams – but in such a manner as to make it possible for the burden to be shared beyond developers and into the wider commercial teams of our clients. I am not sure we initially realised how innovative/new the latter part of that concept was.
The Gradual Growth of Embedded iPaaS
We spent a lot of time educating early prospects about the power and benefits of building integrations using an embedded iPaaS. Rightly people were unsure and a little tentative. They loved the idea but it was a new concept and somewhat unproven. We were mainly selling to young, innovative SaaS, at the coal face of developing out their integration suite. We were grateful for our early adopter clients and learned a lot in 2018.
In 2019 there were the signs of increasing acceptance/adoption. Our sales cycle was reducing and the nature of the clients we were speaking to was subtly changing. We received tentative approaches from larger SaaS companies and larger digital agencies. We’ve learned a lot about the importance of easing the UI burden (for our clients), as well as easing the process of creation of native integrations. We understood more about managing integration suites at scale. It was clear that Private Cloud was going to be critical for some clients. The connector suite grew, driven by demand – rather than what we thought we should be building – and we began to get our arms around the ‘channels to market’ that would work. But we were still learning and we were also still educating.
An Adopting Market
H1 2020 has been a revelation. The ‘shift’ in conversation has been substantial and we are now contending with well-educated prospects that have conceptually bought-in to embedded iPaaS. We appear, per marketing guru Geoffrey Moore, to be ‘crossing the chasm’. I am truthfully unsure as to the impact that COVID 19 may, or may not, have had in accelerating the leap across the chasm.
Instinctively it seems possible that rapid shift to home-working and fragmented workforces must have changed both the focus, and priority level, of integrations. However it has never obviously been a feature of any of our recent client conversations.
What has changed, however, is the focus that trials get and the speed with which they are assessed. Something for which I am grateful to both prospective clients for – as well as to my team for the massive step change in internal processes that we have implemented over the last 2½ years.
With a market finding its feet comes inevitably new competition. We need to remain focussed on the ‘edge’ that our early mover advantage gives us and to build on the knowledge that we have accrued from our client base. It is my goal to keep the team focussed on constant innovation, process improvement and staying ahead of the game. I feel we are ready for this next phased – and well positioned.
The New Normal in SaaS
API first companies are now the new normal. API integration is here to stay. Native integrations are always going to have tangible customer benefit and embedded iPaaS is going to make that easier.
Two decades ago it was all about ERP systems – large ‘all singing all dancing’ platforms that were jack of all trades and master of none. Then it was SaaS – highly focussed, highly capable – but comparatively narrow and fragmented. Now it is about delivering the consolidated ERP benefits of fragmented SaaS. Interoperability across a smorgasbord of SaaS applications.
Have we crossed the chasm? Who can say. But I suspect hindsight will tell us that it was in H1 2020.