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iPaaS vs SaaS: Know the Difference


Today, for every business process, there are a plethora of ‘as a service’ offerings. We see infrastructure as a service (IaaS), backend as a service (BaaS), software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and so on, with new services being introduced everyday.

Of these, SaaS apps (such as Gmail, Salesforce, Marketo) are widely used by organizations for their day-to-day operations. iPaaS, on the hand, is a newer technology that lets organizations integrate SaaS data and automate tasks. It is a technology that is gaining momentum and is likely to witness rapid growth, due to the rapid adoption of SaaS apps.

For organizations to implement an iPaaS strategy, it’s important to understand these two technologies, the purpose they serve, and the difference between the two.  

Gartner defines them as:

iPaaS: Integration Platform as a Service is a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows, connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.

SaaS: SaaS is a software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that are consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at anytime on a pay-for-use basis, or as a subscription based on use metrics.

After the definitions from the expert, let’s understand the difference between iPaaS and SaaS in layman’s terms: 

1. All iPaaS applications are a part of SaaS but the same is not applicable to SaaS as not all SaaS applications can be termed as iPaaS.

2. SaaS applications are individual services hosted entirely on cloud. iPaaS connects SaaS services for seamless flow of data between two or more applications.

3. While no part of SaaS application resides on-premises, iPaaS allows the user to integrate both, cloud-based and on-prem services. 

4. Google Apps, Dropbox, Box, and Salesforce are some examples of SaaS. These cloud services do not allow users to connect multiple apps, sources or data and hence cannot be categorized as iPaaS.

5. Intelligent iPaaS solutions such as Built.io allow enterprises to integrate data from disparate sources on one single interface. 

6. Both the solutions serve different purposes, hence are not interchangeable. You need to make the purchase decision based on your organization’s requirements. 

To sum it up, we can say that iPaaS and SaaS apps should be chosen depending on the enterprise’s requirement. Suppose the company is need of integration, it cannot simply register on Salesforce and Zendesk and expect the data to automatically sync. It will require an integration platform to sync these SaaS apps. 

If you are on the lookout for a reliable cloud integration partner, you can reach us at support-flow@built.io.

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