Integration, Automation

The next phase of iPaaS: The Secret Power of Smart Automation

Unlocking the Full Potential of iPaaS for Business Agility and Robust Security.

When Growth Challenges Overwhelm

Rapidly growing companies are always on the move, with every team’s focus firmly on developing and marketing products. With this intense focus on expansion, who has the time to manage the applications that make it all happen?

CTOs and other tech executives, who have the challenging task of managing a mix of platforms and SaaS systems, know this struggle all too well. Imagine dealing with an average of 140 unique applications and countless integration tools necessary to connect them. It’s a balancing act to control this sprawl, maintain security, and still keep pace with business demands.

This is where automation and iPaaS (integration platform as a service) come into the picture, serving as the backbone to integrate and orchestrate all other software solutions. While it sounds like a perfect solution, the real-world results are often less satisfying.

The Two Automation Camps

Most businesses today fall into one of two categories when it comes to automation: the ‘improvisers’ and the ‘controllers’.

Improvisers, often found in high-growth tech companies, are all about speed. They are content with temporary fixes, leaving the long-term fallout to be handled in the future. Controllers, on the other hand, are typically long-standing organisations that want to adopt new technologies but are hindered by outdated systems and slow IT processes.

In both scenarios, automation is seen as a series of compromises: speed against stability, agility against security, growth against sustainability. Both sides recognise the urgency to address these issues, but usually, it’s a case of too little, too late.

Automation is often framed as a power struggle between business units, who want flexibility and efficiency, and IT departments, who insist on security and control. Each approach has its pros and cons, but neither provides a complete solution. Let’s examine both sides more closely.


Navigating the ‘Free-for-All’

Business units operating in ‘Breaker’ mode prioritise speed and flexibility, allowing departments to select the tools they need. While this approach swiftly brings value, it can result in a costly and disjointed mix of solutions. This uncoordinated technology landscape can generate data security concerns, and paradoxically, stifle innovation by creating isolated silos of information and systems.

In short, the Breakers model may seem appealing in the short term, but it has serious long-term consequences. So, it’s crucial to strike a balance between moving fast and ensuring data security and compliance.


Upholding the ‘Under Lock and Key’

At the other end, the ‘Controllers’ place their trust in IT leaders to create rigorous technology processes. This traditional approach to iPaaS excels in areas such as data governance and regulatory compliance. However, it often requires extensive hand-coding, leading to a widening gap between business and IT. This model can slow down development, can be more expensive up front and result in long request queues with multiple rounds of back-and-forth before everyone is happy with the solution. It also makes it difficult to iterate and build because each change needs to go through the same checks and approvals.

The old way of doing things (manual work or custom builds) is time and resource-intensive. Just scoping can take two months. With Workato, you can build a recipe in about two weeks. The time to development is now cut down to ¼ of the time.”

Padmaja Dasari,
Head of Information Systems, Nextdoor

Rethinking iPaaS: Striking a Balance

Managing the growing sprawl of apps while ensuring security and business agility can be challenging. It often calls for a fresh look at the role of integration and automation. ‘Breakers’ may only see the need for automation when it’s too late, while ‘Controllers’ may not recognise the necessity for a modern approach until shadow IT is too widespread.

There’s a new alternative, though, one that combines the benefits of both: a user-friendly experience with stringent security and governance, yet retaining the scalability required. Automation has now evolved into its own discipline, offering business users the tools they need to manage their apps more effectively. The key is in developing a strategy that offers the best of both worlds.

Shaking Up Automation Rules

Traditional iPaaS approaches give ‘Breakers’ speed at the expense of a looming SaaS clean-up, while ‘Controllers’ keep a tight rein on programs, potentially stifling innovation. But here’s the catch: neither method is truly addressing the core issues. We need an automation approach that boosts innovation, enhances creativity, and cultivates shared knowledge. Guess what? Such a solution does exist.

The Digital Era We Live In

Gone are the days when sharing data meant passing a post-it note. The business world is increasingly digital, accelerated by the pandemic and the shift to remote and hybrid work. This means more SaaS solutions, more integrations, and inevitably, more automation.

Currently, IT and engineering lead in automation, accounting for nearly 40% of all automated processes. But other departments are catching up fast. Customer support, previously the least automated function, has tripled its automations within a year.

Workato Work Automation Index 2021

Embracing Automation: The Challenge

Despite a willingness to adopt automation, many companies still struggle to implement it effectively. Why so?

The Missing Ingredient: Creativity

By treating iPaaS as its own discipline, neither owned by IT nor business units, automation can unlock new potential for the company. But without this, opportunities for collaboration are lost, leading to frustration, friction, and silos.

Consider a typical mid-sized company. Every sale requires a complicated process involving multiple tools. The finance and sales teams understand the process, but they lack the technical knowledge to automate data flow through the systems.

Turning to IT could result in complex solutions beyond the team’s comprehension. The teams might get so frustrated they bypass IT altogether, but without the right technical knowledge, they resort to limited automation options, jeopardising data governance.

This scenario reduces the relationship to a mere exchange of needs and solutions, treating coworkers as if they belong to separate organisations, stifling collaboration and creativity.

Automation as a Catalyst for Innovation

Imagine equipping the same company with a modern enterprise automation platform. Now, the sales and finance teams can use intuitive tools to create simple automations for processes they traditionally handled manually.

With the basic flow established, IT can better understand their goals and quickly add any complex customisations that might be too technical for sales or finance. IT might even suggest improvements or alternative tools to streamline the sales logging process for everyone.

Too often, non-technical employees become de facto “customers” of IT, leading to an ‘us-vs-them’ mentality. However, an iPaaS solution that merges the business expertise of the LOB experts with the technological skills of IT can foster mutual learning and teamwork, shifting the focus to solving bigger, company-wide issues.

Rather than increasing the gap between IT and LOB, automation technology can serve as a bridge, promoting collaboration instead of merely volleying requests across the divide. This blending of diverse perspectives opens up a realm of possibilities, making the entire company more efficient and creative, better able to adapt to market changes, and perhaps even more capable of creating innovative, breakthrough products.

There was no risk involved with Workato. We are able to try a recipe, see that it works, and expand from there.

Navin Gopal,
Head of Information
Technology, Pharma Logistics

Workato: Ushering in a New Era of Enterprise Automation

By uniting IT and business users, we achieve an ideal blend: a deep understanding of the core challenges and context, coupled with tech experts ready to design the best solutions. Previous iPaaS technologies fell short, either being too complex for business users or too restrictive for IT users. Workato addresses this by creating a balanced iPaaS solution considering all stakeholders’ needs.

Workato provides an intuitive user experience that connects with all your apps and scales on a cloud architecture. This approach enables the emergence of a new domain expertise – automation. It allows the most knowledgeable about the company’s operations to share ideas with IT while learning from them. However, this only works if the iPaaS caters to both parties, a goal that Workato intentionally serves.

Workato’s human-friendly interface encourages everyone to explore new ways of enhancing business through automation, while maintaining total control and governance through IT and business systems.

Workato’s iPaaS solution pushes the boundaries of what’s possible:

  • Collaborative building: A low-code interface for business and powerful enough for IT to automate complex processes.
  • Fast adaptation: Maximize your existing technology, turning ideas into automation within hours, not days.
  • Universal application: Support your entire enterprise’s diverse automation needs.
  • Collaborative governance: Empower every team to automate safely with robust security and governance.

A Straightforward Path to Success with Workato

Workato makes it simple to implement integration-led automation to bolster experiences, processes, and teams. Use a straightforward visual interface to set triggers, line up actions, and establish basic logic flows.

For instance, you could automate a process to identify support tickets from disgruntled customers and instantly notify the account rep using your existing SaaS solutions.

Workato includes thousands of prebuilt connectors for everyday applications, including ERPs like NetSuite and Sage Intacct, Salesforce and other CRMs, IT platforms like Jira, HR tools such as Workday, and more. You can also create your own connectors using our easy-to-use SDK. As Workato adapts with your growing organisation, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

The true magic lies not just in linking software, but in harnessing innovative ideas from across the organisation that IT can easily implement. With Workato, you can uncover countless new opportunities to grow, innovate, and prove your strategic value to the entire business.

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About Digital Experience Labs

At Digital Experience Labs, we’re passionate about process and decision automation. We have a particular affinity for the lending and insurance sectors, recognizing their vast potential for innovation and the chance to thrill a new generation of digital-savvy consumers.

We’re excited to discuss your innovation strategies and share our insights on how no-code automation can contribute significantly to your plans. Let’s explore the future of automation together!


If you have a question, wish to leave a comment, or would like further information about how Digital Experience Labs can support your digital transformation journey.


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