Embedded iPaaS (integration platform-as-a-service) solutions, also known as embedded integration platforms, enable B2B SaaS companies to ship and maintain the native integrations their customers need significantly faster.
The reality is, every B2B SaaS company gets consistent requests for integrations from their prospects or existing customers. However, the challenge lies in prioritizing and allocating development resources towards these integrations, as product and engineering teams should be focused on building unique product features.
This aims to solve the challenge of an increasingly fragmented SaaS ecosystem which is apparent more than ever in today’s environment. As hundreds of new, siloed tools come to market every year, the switching costs for customers to transition from one platform to the next are lower than ever before when apps are not well integrated into the rest of their customers’ workflows.
Embedded iPaaS solutions streamline the process of building these integrations and minimize the resources required, by offloading the complexities of interacting with 3rd party app APIs and dealing with your customers' authentication, leaving you to focus on simply defining the integration logic.
However, before we get into more details about the different features and capabilities of embedded iPaaS solutions and how your team may benefit from using one, we need to take a step back and cover the overarching iPaaS category.
What is iPaaS
You may have heard the term iPaaS (integration platform-as-a-service) more frequently in recent years. These solutions generally serve as building blocks and connectors for developers to build internal workflow automations and internal tooling that requires connectivity between various APIs, and remove the complexities of building and maintaining integrations with messy or incomplete API documentation.
This has been a game changer for fast growing companies, as they have recognized the need to focus their engineering efforts and resources on differentiating through building unique product features in this increasingly competitive landscape.
As such, it is only logical that companies try to offload engineering resources wherever they can across other workstreams by using these iPaaS solutions, which has led to the success of platforms such as Mulesoft, Workato, and even Zapier.
However, the large demand for these iPaaS solutions also emphasize a much larger issue - the fragmentation of the SaaS ecosystem and internal technology stacks. This is precisely where embedded iPaaS solutions come in.
What is Embedded iPaaS?
Embedded iPaaS solutions focus on simplifying the process of building customer-facing, embedded integrations. Contrary to regular iPaaS, which serve the end-users of these SaaS apps and help them build their own custom internal integration solutions, embedded iPaaS platforms tackle the fragmentation issue at the application level, by making it easy for the SaaS apps to natively integrate with other apps.
With embedded integrations, end-users would not need to configure or build any workflows/integrations on their own - it would simply come out of the box for them as soon as they authenticate via SSO for the various integrated apps.
Here are 2 common examples of embedded integration workflows:
Traditionally, companies have had to build these integrations in-house from the ground up. This requires navigating complex and messy API documentation, and generally takes 4-6 weeks of engineering resources per integration, per workflow. Even after launch, maintaining and patching these integrations becomes a consistent burden that development teams need to allocate valuable resources and time towards.
In addition to that, as your team grows and the resources in charge of building new integrations changes, you will inevitably need to deal with inconsistencies in business logic across different integrations, which can be difficult to reconcile.
For a full in-depth guide that covers the benefits and tradeoffs of building embedded/native integrations in-house vs. leveraging an embedded iPaaS, you can check out our Build vs. Buy: Native Integrations Guide here.
What are the features of embedded iPaaS solutions?
Primarily, all embedded iPaaS solutions aim to solve the issue of resource allocation and accelerate the deployment of integration roadmaps. This is done through abstracting away the most complex aspects of building these integrations, and while not all platforms come with the same comprehensive set of functionalities, many offer:
- Fully managed authentication for every integration (including token refresh)
- Out of the box end-user interface for configuring integrations
- Error handling and auto-retry
- A visual integration logic builder that comes with API abstractions for pre-built integrations
- Configured and standardized in-app event triggers
- Logging and monitoring tools
- A support/user management dashboard
By having all these tools out of the box, your team will be able to focus almost entirely on designing the integration logic to enable the use case you want to provide, instead of all the infrastructure and maintenance work that would otherwise require signficant engineering investment.
Not only that, leveraging an embedded iPaaS will allow you to easily scale across multiple app integrations, as the use cases are often very similar across 3rd party apps in the same product category (ie. Pardot/Marketo for marketing automation, Slack/Microsoft Teams for chat, and Salesforce/Hubspot for CRM).
This not only increases your team’s ability to ship integrations much faster, it also ensures that the business logic between your various integrations stays consistent and allows any update to your app’s API to instantly be reflected and compatible with all your integrations.
What to look for when picking an embedded iPaaS solution
Beyond the basic capabilities mentioned above however, there are clear distinctions between the top embedded iPaaS solutions in the market and the rest.
When picking a solution for your team, you need to make sure to consider the following criteria:
1. Is this tool extensible enough for your developers to use?
2. Will it accommodate deeper and more complex integration use cases, aka providing access to all API endpoints on the 3rd party API?
3. Does it enable you to provide a seamless end-user experience for your customers, if any?
4. Is the embedded iPaaS' team equipped to support your team when building deeper integration workflows?
5. How does the platform store your customers’ data - is it secure and/or do they offer on-premise deployment?
While most embedded iPaaS solutions share the same stated benefits and value propositions, these details are what truly differentiate providers that will set you and your team up for success from those that cannot.
We have designed Paragon from the ground up to address these practical considerations and ensure the best integration experience for not only your development/product teams, but also your customers. As developers ourselves, we recognized the need to build a platform that enables the same level of flexibility as building in-house, while eliminating 90% of the unnecessary complexities without compromising on user experience and security.
If you’d like to see how Paragon can help your team scale your integration roadmap so you can acquire and retain more customers as a result, book a quick demo with us today!
If your prospects or existing customers are asking for native integrations with their other SaaS apps, consider leveraging an embedded iPaaS solution. This will allow your team to be laser focused on shipping core, unique product features without backlogging your integration roadmap, which will have an outsized impact on both customer acquisition and retention. Just make sure to ask the questions outlined earlier when you are evaluating the solutions in the market, so that you pick the right platform for your team. If you have any questions or would like to chat about your integration roadmap, feel free to send us a message through our chat on the bottom right of the page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
For more details, check out our guide on the top embedded iPaaS solutions in the market.