5 benefits of an embedded iPaaS (and where it falls short)

Once you decide to outsource your product integrations, you’ll likely evaluate a few different categories of integration solutions. 

One of these categories is likely an embedded integration platform as a service (iPaaS), which allows you and/or your clients to develop and maintain integrations within your product.

We’ll help you decide whether an embedded iPaaS is the right solution for building product integrations at your organization by sharing its benefits—along with its drawbacks.

Provides application connectors to accelerate integration development

The process of building each integration from scratch can be intimidating, especially when you have several integrations that need to get built.

To fast track your development efforts, you can leverage an embedded iPaaS provider’s pre-built application connectors.

The connectors provided by each vendor differ in terms of coverage (i.e. the specific connectors a vendor offers) and functionality (i.e. the specific data you’re able to access and sync). That said, they generally cover the most commonly-used apps in specific categories, like CRM, HRIS, ATS, etc.

A screenshot of Workato's HR application connectors
Workato’s Embedded iPaaS offers pre-built connectors for a number of HRIS solutions

Related: A guide to 3rd-party integrations

Lets you deliver integrations in several ways

Embedded iPaaS solutions provide flexible deployment options that cater to different organizations’ needs. 

If you have technically-savvy clients that have specific requirements, or just simply want more control over how their integrations perform, you can let them develop and implement the integrations themselves within your application.

If, on the other hand, you want to abstract away the complexity of your integrations, or you don’t want your clients to spend time building integrations, you can build them yourself and bake them into your application. 

In many cases, you also have the option of crediting the embedded iPaaS vendor with your integrations, or removing any mention of them (i.e. whitelabeling your integrations) to make it seem like your team built the integrations natively.

Offers enterprise-grade security features

Many embedded iPaaS solutions cater to the enterprise by offering advanced security and governance features and controls. This includes providing enterprise key management, masking sensitive data, providing role-based access control, and hosting data in region-specific data centers. Moreover, embedded iPaaS solutions often complete SOC 2 Type 2 audits on a regular cadence and comply with GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA. 

All of this to say, embedded iPaaS solutions likely take all the security measures your clients would expect and want.

Related: What is an embedded workflow? Here's what you need to know

Shares performance insights

As you or your clients build integrations with an embedded iPaaS, you’ll need to track how they’re used over time to assess customer health and to spot issues on time.

An embedded iPaaS vendor can help by providing analytics capabilities on their integrations; while it depends on the vendor, many let you see the extent to which specific integrations and automations get used by certain accounts. 

A screenshot of Tray Analytics
Tray Analytics allows you to track the number of tasks consumed from a connector at specific time intervals

Choose from a variety of established vendors 

As you comb through the list of vendors in the space, you’ll find that many have been around for a while and have hundreds, if not thousands, of clients. This includes the likes of Workato, Tray.io, Boomi. 

This should give you all the more confidence that the embedded iPaaS solution you choose will stay in business for as long as you need their integrations. 

Drawbacks of embedded iPaaS

Embedded iPaaS solutions also come with notable drawbacks. 

Requires engineering resources

The platform requires technical expertise to use; in many cases, this means being able to read and write code in specific languages. As a result, your engineers will have to play a leading role in building and maintaining the integrations, which is likely the scenario you were looking to avoid when outsourcing your product integrations. 

Prevents you from scaling quickly

Embedded iPaaS solutions force you to build one integration at a time. Considering that you’re likely receiving requests to support dozens of integrations, this can prevent you from moving at the pace your customer-facing employees, prospects, and clients expect and need.

Lacks the capabilities needed to track and resolve issues on time

Integrations can fail for a number of reasons, from bad API keys to missing permissions. 

Embedded iPaaS solutions generally fail to provide details on a specific integration issue, forcing your engineers to get involved and investigate the root cause of every single incident. In addition, once the issue is identified, your team needs to communicate the steps for resolving it back to the customer, which can take your team longer than the customer wants.

Related: The pros and cons of embedded integration solutions

An alternative approach: unified APIs

A unified API is a single, aggregated API that lets you offer multiple integrations in a given software category (e.g. CRM). This neatly addresses embedded iPaaS’ drawback of integrating with applications through a piecemeal approach.

A visual illustration of a unified API solution

Merge stands out from other unified API solutions by offering hundreds of integrations across several unified APIs, including CRM, HRIS, ATS, marketing automation, file storage, and accounting; Integrations Management, which helps your customer-facing team members uncover issues and communicate them back to clients quickly and with ease; comprehensive common models that let clients access and sync all of the data they care about—and much, much more.

Learn more about Merge by scheduling a demo with one of our integration experts.