The software jungle is dense, and the number of providers is high. There are also numerous options for keeping, the interface management up to date with the help of external providers. But which system suits whom? In the new Handelskraft series of articles, we provide you with valuable tips and concrete selection criteria and present three providers of modern integration solutions in more detail.
Let’s start today with eight criteria for the right system selection. In the coming weeks, we will present you with a short portrait of the most important providers and who they are suitable for, including our partners Magic Software, MuleSoft and SAP.
Integration Middleware And Best-Of-Breed Approach
The question of choosing an integration middleware must be answered individually. This raises the question of how the system landscape or the digital platform is structured. A fundamental distinction is made between the best-of-breed and best-of-suite approaches when structuring. Best-of-Suite offers customers components from a single source, from the same software provider.
Best-of-Breed includes a heterogeneous system landscape in which the best possible product can always be considered within the IT system architecture, and these products work together through interfaces. The best-of-breed approach is much more common due to grown structures and makes sense from a strategic point of view because it makes it possible to use uncompromisingly suitable software solutions. The most critical selection criteria at a glance:
Integration Middleware: Selection Criteria
Criterion 1: Business & Visions
The first significant set of criteria is the reputation and the vision of the provider as a company. Experience and references, market presence, progressiveness and future security, and innovativeness are included within this evaluation criterion. The question of which partner network the provider has also played a role.
In this way, companies can be classified in terms of their long-term nature and credibility. It is essential to focus on the DACH region regarding market presence and partner network. The references allow conclusions about which provider is suitable for which industry. It is also necessary to assess how a solution provider reacts to customer requirements and incorporates them into the product and service design.
Criterion 2: Diversity Of Applicability And Range Of Functions
Another important evaluation criterion is the question of applicability. Here the providers are examined for the scalability of the solution and the variety of use cases and system architectures supported by the providers.
The training effort involved is also a sub-criterion. The following functions were also mandatory to be evaluated: the exchange of messages between application features for format validation and the provision and composition of new services through the aggregation of existing APIs.
Criterion 3: Support & Service
For iPaaS solutions to be used successfully, the support service must be exemplary. In addition to the quality and accessibility of the technical support, the question of available documentation and the evaluation of the training and certification offers are also relevant.
Criterion 4: Pricing
If an iPaaS solution is introduced in a company, this has economic effects. Most analysts highlight – rightly so – cost savings. In such cost analyses, the operating costs to be expected are calculated using a fictitious company over three years and compared with the pricing model of the solution provider.
The analysts calculate a return-on-investment value (ROI), a crucial decision-making feature for choosing the right iPaaS solution. In the on-site selection process with a concrete use case in mind and the expected company-related ROI, factors such as the flexibility of the subscription and the costs to be expected within the first three years are even more critical.
Criterion 5: Connectivity
When selecting an iPaaS solution, it must be clarified whether it provides suitable connectors for the company’s system landscape – a highly individual question. Nevertheless, this criterion can be determined more precisely based on the number of data and application connectors provided and insights into their adaptability.
Criterion 6: Integration Flow
The criteria can be distinguished but not hermetically separated from one another. The essential functionalities outlined in the second criterion also play a role in measuring the integration flow. How do the provided features for data mapping and data transformation perform? Which integration flow development and management functions does which software offer?
Criterion 7: API Management
To cover a wide range of integration needs in heterogeneous system landscapes, it can make sense to combine the use of iPaaS and API management. API management includes delivering and managing various interfaces and their security and control. Not all of the evaluated solutions have API management in their portfolio.
If so, one of the core requirements is to provide ready-made APIs, have an API gateway and an administration portal, and keep all of this up to date. To ensure high reusability, it is essential to have an overview of all APIs, to know their functionality and to be able to deactivate them if necessary.
Criterion 8: Ease Of Use
End customers and developers are users who benefit from good usability. Therefore, another criterion is which integration personas are supported by the providers and how usability positively helps developer productivity in the development process and a typical deployment.