Liaison is no stranger to Gartner Magic Quadrants. Over our 15+ years as a global leader in integration and data management, we’ve been named to many including Integration Brokerage, Integration Service Providers, Managed File Transfer, and Product Information Management to name a few. And every time we’re invited to participate in a quadrant—let alone chosen for final inclusion—we’re always very appreciative of the hard work that the Gartner technology research company puts into these annual reports.
But this year’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service was one quadrant I didn’t want us to be in, even though it generated quite a bit of buzz. Why not?It’s not because our integration platform can’t do what iPaaS platforms can; it’s because our platform can do so much more.
Like iPaaS, our cloud integration platform features increased flexibility to help enterprises integrate ever-growing numbers of cloud applications and data sources. But that’s where the similarity ends and, not coincidentally, where the exciting stuff begins. For example, one of the major differentiators that sets us apart from iPaaS vendors is our delivery method: we deliver integration as fully managed services whereas iPaaS touts an ‘easy’ do-it-yourself approach to integration.
This shift, while it may seem small at its surface, is really quite revolutionary. By moving the burden of day-to-day integration development and maintenance from the enterprise to Liaison, we’re able to solve problems that iPaaS can’t, including:
- IT resource scarcity
- End-to-end compliance & risk management
- Self-service access to quality, harmonized data
In my opinion, these are the real problems facing businesses. And iPaaS misses the mark by focusing strictly on ‘productivity’ tools and hosting. This amounts to working on the wrong problems because the ever-growing complexity of data and end-to-end compliance/risk management will always outstrip an enterprise’s ability to keep pace. In fact, although some iPaaS vendors provide a measure of technology modernization, they also perpetuate the same do-it-yourself integration model (i.e. ESB, EAI, ETL, etc.) that is failing them today.
What businesses really need is a fundamentally new model, one that frees their resources to focus on the end goal of integration: extracting insights from data while delivering integrated data to the point of decision or the point of analysis transparently.
dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service) is an integration model named for its ability to provide PaaS functionality at the data layer. In other words, rather than providing self-service tools to facilitate integration, dPaaS provides self-service tools to facilitate the analysis of data after it’s been integrated, aggregated, and cleansed. A basic goal of dPaaS is to provide visibility into data movement without encumbering users with the particulars of the integration mechanics. Put another way, when you want to know what time it is, dPaaS does not require you to understand how the watch works before you can tell the time; iPaaS, on the other hand is a toolkit to build the watch. We firmly believe dPaaS amounts to working on the right business problems.
I don’t expect Liaison to be the only dPaaS provider for long. The concept is gaining traction as more and more businesses (and vendors) realize that an entirely new approach to integration is long overdue. In fact, other vendors have begun using terms like ‘Digital Business’ to highlight the benefits of a dPaaS approach to liberating data and freeing users from the burden of data integration. Perhaps this time next year I’ll even be blogging about how Liaison was featured in the brand new dPaaS wave, quadrant, etc…
Until then, we’re happy to sit this one out.
By Bob Renner, Liaison Technologies Chief Executive Officer