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iPaaS vs SaaS: What are the Key Differences?

Written by
Carla Hetherington
Published on
April 23, 2023

Nowadays, businesses progressively turn to integration solutions to streamline operations and improve efficiency. Two cloud computing services leading the integration race are iPaaS (Integration Platforms as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). While they share some similarities, they are significantly different, and it is vital to know how in order to make the right choice. Let's get into it!

What is iPaaS?

An iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based integration platform. An iPaaS enables companies to connect two or more systems, SaaS solutions, cloud applications, or data sources from one central hub.

Being an API-driven solution, an iPaaS is either a no-code or low-code integration platform, and presents a web-based, user-friendly interface to create, monitor, and manage software or system integrations. While no-code iPaaS vendors are more citizen friendly, low-code iPaaS solutions like the Alumio iPaaS additionally offer more developer-friendly options to flexibly transform data and create custom integrations.

A comprehensive iPaaS solution includes the following:

  • Built-in components to minimize the effort of developing integrations by providing connectivity between prevalent SaaS apps and standard integration logic functions with zero or minimal coding.
  • A low-code integration approach that allows developers and non-developers to construct configurable integration workflows deployable to multiple customers.
  • A unified interface that different business teams can use to deliver an in-app integration experience.
  • Integration support tools that facilitate customer-facing teams to develop, deploy, supervise, and troubleshoot integrations without any involvement of the IT team.
  • A cloud infrastructure that drives integrations and mitigates scalability, compliance, and security concerns.

Want to learn more about what an iPaaS is, what it does, and why you need one? Click here!

What is SaaS?

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud computing model with applications hosted by a third-party provider that is available to customers via an internet browser. With SaaS, businesses can access software applications without installing and maintaining the software themselves. Instead, the provider manages the software's infrastructure, security, and maintenance, making it easy for businesses to focus on their core operations. Thus, for large enterprises, businesses, or individuals that want to avoid the hassle of investing in the infrastructure, platforms, IT teams, and on-premises software, SaaS is the best option.

Famous examples of SaaS include application service providers (ASPs) such as Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, etc., as well as enterprise services that deliver HR software, CRM tools, e-commerce systems, and IDEs (Integrated development environments).

Here are some benefits of SaaS solutions:

  • Enjoy accessing app data from anywhere thanks to cloud data, which users can use to retrieve information from any internet-connected device without losing data.
  • Pay exclusively for what you use since most SaaS solutions automatically scale up/down as per usage.
  • A multitenant architecture where all users and apps share a singular and shared infrastructure. Since SaaS clients use the same infrastructure and code base, vendors can innovate quickly.
  • Scalability and integration are the key advantages of SaaS offerings. Compared to traditional integration efforts, SaaS providers take care of server capacity planning and management.
  • Gain access to sophisticated systems such as ERP and CRM at affordable rates.

What is the difference between iPaaS and SaaS?

The main difference between iPaaS and SaaS is that SaaS provides users access to cloud-based software applications. In contrast, an iPaaS provides a platform for integrating different applications, services, and, for example, SaaS solutions. With SaaS, businesses can access the software directly, while an iPaaS is a middleware to connect and automate different systems.

How does this look in practice?

As previously mentioned, while SaaS applications are typically standalone products, an iPaaS is mainly used to connect multiple applications. For example, a business might use Salesforce as its CRM and SAP as its ERP, which are standalone SaaS products. However, to ensure the optimal automation of workflows and data synchronization between the two products, the business might use an iPaaS platform like Alumio, especially if the business intends on growing and adding more systems to the mix!

Want to experience how Alumio helps businesses integrate systems? Check out our marketplace and discover all the different systems you can connect to!


SaaS provides businesses with direct access to cloud-based software applications, while iPaaS provides a platform for integrating different applications and services. Both iPaaS and SaaS offer significant benefits and can help businesses improve their operations and efficiency. While iPaaS and SaaS are both cloud-based services and share similarities, they do not serve the same purpose, and so businesses must carefully consider their needs before deciding which service is right for them.

Want to learn more about integrating cloud apps and managing SaaS apps through a unified platform? Get in touch with one of our specialists and receive a free demo!

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