The latest Magic Quadrant for Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) was released by Gartner in Q1 2016, and it made for interesting reading – at least for those in the integration space. Here's why...
One of the main assumptions made by the report is that companies will select iPaaS over other integration tools for new integration projects by 2019. I’d argue that this view is somewhat conservative, particularly in landscapes where there is not an existing integration tool to be utilised.
We’ve seen a large shift in focus from software to cloud-based services over the past few years, with one of the key results being that integration demands are now greater than they have ever been. As such, I would suggest that where there is not an incumbent tool, or a viable incumbent in place, then iPaaS is already the defacto choice for new integration projects. Especially those which involve cloud services or hybrid landscapes.
API management and data quality
Within Gartner’s current definition of what an iPaaS should provide, there are some notable features that are considered optional. In particular, API Management and Data Quality. My view is that these features are increasingly essential with the role that iPaaS is beginning to take within the integration landscape. Being able to expose and manage APIs is a key component of delivering a ‘Digital Enterprise’, ensuring that functionality and services can be exposed to third parties and customers securely - with sufficient control to manage service levels.
Likewise data quality plays a key part in ensuring that the data exchanged in ever-more interconnected landscapes meets key criteria, thereby preventing issues downstream before they occur – this can range from simple business rules to data validation of addresses against commercial verification services. It should be noted that Gartner acknowledge that these features may well become more relevant as the market evolves, my argument is that these are the features that customers are asking for today.
iPaaS vendor comparison
While not a direct challenge, one of the most notable aspects of the report was the sheer number of iPaaS vendors listed in the quadrant – with 17 making the cut, one more than in 2015 and the number of leaders rising from three to five. The iPaaS market is certainly becoming more crowded over time, and this is posing a serious challenge for companies looking to make a strategic decision in this area.
It is more important than ever to invest time in understanding what you need from an iPaaS platform before embarking on a selection process.
As AgilityWorks is a Dell Boomi integration partner, it's not surprising that we have a specific interest in Gartner’s view on the platform. So it is pleasing to see recognition of Dell Boomi, as a proven platform and the positive rating of its usability and technical quality by its customers. Its strong growth in terms of customers and throughput is recognised by Gartner.
However, some of the concerns raised by Gartner around Dell Boomi's geographical presence, particularly in Europe, seem a little outdated. Certainly, 18 months ago there was little customer engagement in EMEA, however this has changed dramatically from what we're seeing – and there is a sustained focus on growing this market.
Also the concern around API Management is something I’ve touched on before (see roadmap blog), and while Dell Boomi may not currently have an offering as comprehensive as more dedicated API Management tools – it is well ahead of the majority of iPaaS tools. I see this position strengthening in the coming months.
As always the release of a new Magic Quadrant by Gartner is of great interest, as it shows not only where Gartner views the market to be – but also where the various tools are in relation to each other. You can access the report here.