Just recently Gartner released its 2020 Magic Quadrant for enterprise integration platform as a service (EiPaaS) report. Gartner always does a great job of defining a segment, identifying the best companies in the space, and diving deep into the strengths and weaknesses of each offering. I think the time has come, however, for Gartner to expand the segment to go beyond data-centric iPaaS and start considering X-centric iPaaS (XiPaaS).
Companies benefit from data-centric iPaaS by connecting systems for real time and batch data integration. Prior to iPaaS, companies had to rely on proprietary interfaces and hope each platform was capable of sending and receiving data in compatible ways. Through data-centric iPaaS, data can be migrated between systems, supporting extended use cases that would not be possible without iPaaS.
According to Gartner, they consider an iPaaS if it:
- Is designed to support enterprise-class integration initiatives — that is, initiatives that require high availability, disaster recovery, security, SLAs and technical support from the provider.
- Provides user experiences that enable end users to develop and manage integrations independent of the EiPaaS provider’s professional services. These experiences must support multiple integration personas, particularly integration specialists and ad hoc integrators.
- Offers capabilities for executing multiple integration scenarios, including real-time application integration, batch data integration and B2B integration.
- Provides API management capabilities to support integration.
- Is fully managed by the vendor for patching and upgrades.
- Is supported by a broad go-to-market strategy that targets buyers of a strategic integration platform, rather than focusing on specific integration scenarios, industries or geographic areas.
Gartner’s EiPaaS definition fails to consider the rapidly evolving need for experience based integration scenarios. Being able to provide users with front-end experiences that combine user interface and data exchange from different applications, allows businesses to deliver greater value, ease of use, and a better overall experience for employees.
Expand the Definition to Include X Centric Integration Scenarios
I suggest that Gartner expand their current definition “Offers capabilities for executing multiple integration scenarios, including real-time application integration, batch data integration and B2B integration.” Instead the new definition should read “Offers capabilities for executing multiple integration scenarios, including real-time application integration, batch data integration, B2B integration, and X centric integration.”
By expanding the definition, Gartner can help companies in addressing these newly emerging integration scenarios.
To be fair, Gartner’s definition of iPaaS, could be interpreted to include X-centric integration scenarios, but I think with the emerging importance of XiPaaS, Gartner’s customers and the industry would be well served by Gartner explicitly calling out X-centric integration scenarios in their definition.
XiPaaS Impact on Customer Service
One industry where XiPaaS is really gaining traction is in customer service. Customer service representatives are now responsible for so much more of the broader customer experience. Being empowered to solve customer problems in a single call is increasingly important. Customers expect to be served across a growing list of channels, beyond traditional telephony, including WhatsApp, SMS, and even video. With the pandemic, businesses have had to refocus on the agent experience, especial for those that are working from home. It’s critical to consolidate systems and simplify the agent experience. This is a perfect fit for XiPaaS.
DaVinci is one example of this new approach. With DaVinci, customers can select a wide range of pre-built apps that support business applications, such as Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and SAP C4C and various premise and cloud-based communication platforms, like Avaya, Twilio, and Amazon Connect. Customers and third parties can build custom DaVinci Apps based on an open framework API, which then can support a diverse set of use cases.
The DaVinci UX can then either be configured as an embedded experience or used in a stand-alone workspace configuration. Through the DaVinci XiPaaS, customers can achieve a broad range of integration scenarios, providing the agent with a simplified user experience tying multiple front-end applications and services together.
Businesses Benefit from Expanded Scenarios
As with iPaaS in general, XiPaaS also delivers on all the same benefits: high availability, security, updates, and patches from the provider, self-service support for multiple integration scenarios for broad markets through pre-built integrations, and robust API services for custom integrations.
Without XiPaaS, customers are forced to depend on proprietary integration methods, or use multiple applications with fixed feature user interfaces.
As customers have realized the great benefits of both data-centric and X-centric integration scenarios, Gartner should expand the scope of their consideration beyond data-centric iPaaS and include the new X-centric iPaaS as well.