How can CTOs build an effective strategy for iPaaS?

Digital transformation can be distilled into two parallel decisions: how to automate tasks throughout the enterprise, and prioritising which tasks are worth automating in the first place.

By Grey Hardell

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Several kinds of technologies have evolved to solve the challenges of enterprise automation.

Each method offers different kinds of users many different ways to perform different types of automations. The sheer number of possibilities within iPaaS (integration platform as a service) has prevented many CTOs from developing a clear strategy to pursue their goals.

We’ll examine the challenges that prevent many automation initiatives from getting off the ground more closely. We’ll then introduce three pillars of an effective iPaaS strategy and show how global brands use Workato — the leader in enterprise automation — to accelerate their digital transformation.

The iPaaS dilemma

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in the growth of modern SaaS, micro-services, IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies. This exponential increase in applications and devices has resulted in much greater complexity, splintered data silos, and a huge variety of use cases—forcing CTOs to become much more involved in all aspects of the business, including finance and HR. 

At the same time, many CTOs want to achieve the same process excellence as Amazon, Netflix, and Google through automation. CTOs want to deliver the best experience for their customers while simultaneously improving up-time. They need a strategy without tradeoffs. But unfortunately, after a few pilot projects or obvious automations seen as low-hanging fruit get implemented, many businesses get stuck. They find themselves in a digital transformation rut, since they can’t move forward without taking time away from other business-critical tasks. Meanwhile, the backlog of ideas for possible automations continues to grow, with no insight into which ones might be duds, and which ones could be breakthroughs. 

What’s the best way to integrate data from all these sources and deliver automations with real business value?

CTOs want to deliver the best experience for their customers while simultaneously improving up-time. They need a strategy without tradeoffs…

Challenges with existing technologies: iPaaS, iSaaS, and RPA

Many of today’s automation technologies are limited to solving very specific challenges within a narrow range of use cases. This is one of the main reasons many automation initiatives sputter and die before they can deliver on their promises. Let’s take a quick look at the tradeoffs baked into each of these technologies:

Traditional iPaaS (integration platform as a service)

  • Pro:
    Lots of computing power, built to serve the needs of IT
  • Con:
    More complex, harder to operate and automate

iSaaS (API-based integration software as a service)

  • Pro:
    Modern, fast, cloud-native, and easier to operate. Built around APIs
  • Con:
    Lack the power IT requires since they’re primarily focused on the business. Can’t connect to legacy systems

RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

  • Pro:
    Based on UI automations, which makes them great for legacy systems
  • Con:
    Brittle to any changes in UI. Less applicable to modern SaaS apps

Many traditional iPaaS, iSaaS, and RPA systems are focused on the back-end. But successful strategies for digital transformation must address the needs of everyone in the company, including front-end workflows. And while many of these tools are standalone, some are part of app platforms from companies like Salesforce, Workday, and ServiceNow. So, finding out which products are appropriate for your business challenges can be almost as daunting as solving the problems themselves. 

To put all this in perspective, we’ve grouped these automation products into five different categories based on their capabilities and target audience: Task, Application, Process, Data, and Enterprise:

Task automation (Business users)

These tools can automate discrete steps within a larger business process, like lead routing or sharing content across social media. Zapier is the most commonly used tool in this category. 

Application automation (Business users)

This type of automation is usually performed by workflow products within SaaS platforms. Their users can create automations within these apps and get data from external sources. Examples include Salesforce Process Builder, Workday Journeys, ServiceNow Flow, and Slack Workflow Builder.

Data automation (IT users)

These tools allow IT users to create automated workflows across multiple applications for a more unified view of customers, employees, products, and other business information. Automations in this category are often performed by iPaaS products like Mulesoft and Boomi. 

Process automation (Business users)

There are two different approaches to process automation: RPA tools like UIPath and Automation Anywhere that are UI-oriented and built to accommodate legacy systems; and API-oriented iSaaS tools like and that can automate cloud applications.

Enterprise automation (Business and IT users): 

Systems in this category support end-to-end automation across the enterprise, built on a strong foundation of iPaaS.

Companies often face an impossible choice when selecting an automation tool. Ease of use and limited scope? Or perhaps one with powerful capabilities that’s only focused on one part of your business? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose.

One of the key reasons we chose to partner with and recommend Workato, was that their founding vision was to create an enterprise automation platform that would be versatile and flexible, an intuitive platform built for business users and IT professionals alike.

Enterprise automation and the three pillars of an effective iPaaS strategy

The problem with so many automation products is that they’re not aligned with companies’ digital transformation strategies. When you choose an iPaaS with the right foundation, it becomes much easier to solve major problems that prevent you from achieving your business goals. 

Workato is built on the following three pillars: foster innovation, govern collaboratively, and organization-wide extensibility. Here’s why they matter to your iPaaS strategy:

1. Foster innovation

Challenge: There’s often a chasm between the problems business users want to overcome and IT’s understanding of those problems. If IT has sole responsibility for creating automations that address these challenges, they’ll usually come up short. They don’t work with those systems everyday, which means their understanding of those problems will always be imperfect.

How Workato fosters innovation: Workato democratizes enterprise automation with a human-language UI that anyone can understand, as well as thousands of pre-built automation recipes so your team can get started quickly. In fact, 77% of Workato’s 11,000 customers go live with their first automation in one week, and over 80% of new integrations built in the last year were cloned from existing recipes, significantly cutting down on the time-to-value of enterprise integration projects.

2. Govern collaboratively

Challenge: CTOs often lack an overall view of all the automations their company is running. When this happens, strengthening your team’s data security turns into a constant game of catch-up. Not only do you lack a holistic view of your team’s automations, but you have little way of knowing how they might affect your systems over time.

How Workato strengthens collaboration without tradeoffs: Workato lets you catch your breath and plan for the future. Fine-tune access to the platform based on roles within your organization. Easily see which automations are in development, which ones have been passed to QA, and which ones are live. 

3. Organization-wide extensibility

Challenge: The potential value of automation is undeniable. But when every department uses their own siloed integration tools, what you get is Frankenstein’s monster. Many automation tools don’t work well together, which means digital transformation is disjointed, security is iffy, and reporting on automations across the organization can devolve into guesswork.

How Workato scales with your digital transformation strategy: We built Workato to remove all the limits holding back your teams, systems, and data as our platform is designed for every user in your company and can solve any automation problem you can dream of. 

At Digital Experience Labs, we live and breathe process automation and architecture. As specialists in no-code automation and digital transformation, we’ve partnered with Workato to help organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand redefine their process automation.

Get in contact today to book a free Workato Demo and see how iPaaS automation can transform and simplify your business.

Ready to learn more about enterprise automation?

Schedule a demo with a member of our team to uncover all the ways you can leverage the Workato platform.

Find out more about our integration platform technology partner.
Digital Experience Labs

Ready to learn more about enterprise automation?

Schedule a demo with a member of our team to uncover all the ways you can leverage the Workato platform.

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