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iPaaS vs API Management - Are they equally important for businesses?

Written by
Carla Hetherington
Published on
May 24, 2023

The Enterprise IT landscape has several tech alternatives, and there always seems to be more than one best choice. This is true when you compare iPaaS vs. API management. Although these technologies frequently clash, they work best when they shake hands! The arguments around which is the best are often irrelevant when not placed in context, as both have their advantages in specific use cases. Let’s get into it!

What is an iPaaS?

The iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is a next-gen cloud-based middleware that enables companies to connect any two or more systems, SaaS solutions, cloud applications, or data sources from one central hub. As such; it provides a range of tools and services for connecting, mapping, and transforming data between various applications and systems.

The best iPaaS platforms can connect the best of both worlds- on-premises apps/legacy systems and cloud apps within a single firm or between diverse businesses. Due to their multi-tenancy capabilities, user-friendliness, and unified viewpoint, iPaaS solutions dominate the integration world and are quickly replacing the legacy Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) architectures that were once critical to automate data flows.

Want to learn more about how the Alumio iPaaS works? Get a comprehensive overview with our "What is iPaaS" guide -> 

Why are APIs important?

In short, APIs hold the key to digital growth. An API-driven strategy is crucial in obtaining successful digitalization because it significantly reduces the need to develop complex connections between applications and eliminates the need to build new software solutions from scratch. In this regard, APIs help companies avoid having to reinvent the wheel by allowing them to quickly adapt and integrate a wide range of services and solutions to eliminate business roadblocks and achieve bigger goals.

According to Gartner, “APIs are now central to application architecture because they enable loosely coupled integrations, as well as being the data conduits behind mobile apps and many IoT devices.”

How does Alumio help simplify API integrations?

By allowing businesses to configure the APIs of any software or systems they wish to connect to on a user-friendly interface, Alumio makes it possible to create, monitor, modify, and manage software integrations to suit evolving business needs. To improve the security of APIs, Alumio also provides automated monitoring and logging that helps instantly detect API conflicts or integration errors in an IT landscape. This doesn’t just significantly lower the total cost of developing and managing integrations, but it exponentially speeds up how companies can connect with software to automate their business processes, significantly improving Time to Market (TTM).

What is API management?

APIs bind apps and services together like Lego blocks. With the rise of social media, proprietary applications, smart devices, cloud services, big data, IoT, and the brand-new API economy that unites business partners, managing the APIs has become essential. This is known as API management. Protocols such as SOAP, JSON, XML, or REST are wrapped in an API utilizing API Management to facilitate a secure connection point. Design, along with usability, is crucial to guaranteeing consistent and appropriately structured APIs.

What are the business outcomes of API management?

Leading businesses rely on developers and APIs to translate their data silos into revenue-generating assets. Some of them believe that providing free data access to partners and developers is the best way to drive adoption and innovation — ultimately turning the data into indirect revenue. Others argue that since data is already valuable in today's industry, the best course of action is to monetize it directly by charging for API access to data.

Apart from the several success stories linked to these approaches, a Boston University study recommends deploying APIs to speed up digital transactions. This, in turn, can increase the market value of data by double digits owing to profit boosts as platforms generate and trade more data.

iPaaS and API management- what happens when they join forces?

The cloud landscape is witnessing the iPaaS and the API management efforts converging into a shared framework for multi-cloud and hybrid integration (and management). This is fuelled by a significant limitation that API Management has- it puts the focus on publishing apps in isolation, while modern apps are usually an aggregation of multiple third-party services.

For instance, API developers can develop version-controlled APIs to uncover a cluster of REST or SOAP endpoints utilizing an API management solution. Subsequently, they can deploy the Alumio iPaaS to generate a WSDL (Web Service Description Language) for individually deployed SOAP APIs and a specification file for individually deployed REST APIs. In this way, API developers have the freedom to hook and deploy these APIs to an integration process.

Additionally, this single, integrated iPaaS & API Management method not only offers API developers a layer of abstraction but also minimizes the number (and types) of APIs needed for app integration throughout the cloud service environment. It is, therefore, easy to combine APIs from other services with the strength of a capable iPaaS with bespoke data transformation, data mapping capabilities, data normalization, and extensive monitoring and logging features.

Lastly, an added benefit is that a decoupled run-time architecture allows users to operate their APIs near the source of data/applications, which is quicker, easier, and significantly less expensive.

Conclusion

While API management focuses on publishing APIs over linking endpoints, an iPaaS is focused on merging apps with the required data mapping, transformation, and orchestration. In view of this, there is an undeniable added benefit when an organization invests in both iPaaS and API Management. Even if some people regard API management as a thing of the past compared to iPaaS, API management is still helpful for organizations that rely on APIs, whether locally or in the cloud. Thus, the bottom lines of the iPaas vs. API management debate is that replacing API management with iPaaS is not viable, but merging them can be beneficial.

According to experts, the iPaaS and API management markets are only now beginning to converge. Alumio is among the first to foster both capabilities, and it is steadily updating its platform to offer the best of both worlds.

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