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The rise of SaaS and APIs increases the demand for integration platforms

BloggausCloud-based SaaS solutions have become so popular that according to Gartner, the number of third party APIs will triple by 2025. Simultaneously, the demand for integration platforms increases.

Previously information systems were located in companies’ data centers and data between systems was transferred as file transfers. Due to the rise of SaaS, APIs have become more common as they are a fluent way to provide interfaces for data transfer. Via a single API it is possible to provide information for the use of many different systems.

APIs alone are not enough, though, but custom code or an integration platform to support them is needed.

“A part of SaaS systems, such as Shopify, supports the APIs of other generally used systems. For example, Shopify supports directly a payment system, Stripe, by connecting to Stripe via its APIs. However, not all systems can support directly each others’ APIs, due to which an integration platform becomes critical sooner or later”, described Jarmo Ollikainen, Pre-Sales Architect at Frends.

Visualization and efficiency for API processes

Earlier in his career, Ollikainen has worked as an in-house API and Integration Architect. Altogether he has worked in software development since 1995. Ollikainen first came across Frends in a tender process.

“We were comparing various integration platforms. When I was introduced to Frends I immediately realized how many challenges it solves”, Ollikainen grins.

Frends is an integration platform that allows data transfer between different systems. Frends uses both traditional integration technologies and API technologies. As a hybrid platform, it can be used in any cloud or on-premise. A common practice is to combine both cloud and ground deployments together to create a hybrid environment, where both cloud and ground agents can communicate with one another seamlessly.

Ollikainen describes that visual integration platforms, such as Frends, allow the fluent cooperation between technical and non-technical people. It is easy to understand the data flow and processes – the transparency improves the decision-making process drastically.

“The latest trend is to move away from so-called black box solutions that only make sense to a few software developers. The visual Frends processes format the processing flows into an easily readable form that anyone can view and comment on.”

Visual API and integration processes are developed in Frends by chaining and configuring tasks, which means that data is processed and tasks are completed mainly without coding. The method can be compared to website development, in which pre-built elements allow anyone to create websites.

According to Ollikainen, API and SQL queries can be written in a few clicks with Frends. If necessary, custom tasks can be created in C#.

“From a developer’s point of view, it’s best that Frends makes the development more efficient. Simple processes can be executed in a heartbeat and even more complex ones do not take too much time. Due to visuality, processes are easier to maintain compared to traditional code.”

Ollikainen is delighted how the using, reusing, and efficient transferring of data is increasing as we speak.

The range of use cases for integration platforms has broadened from the electrical transmission to online stores and report automation. When an IT architecture is built on a solid base, the business development is more productive, less risky, and efficient – regardless of the industry.

“A modern integration platform allows transferring data timely where it is needed. In addition, it allows fast changes based on the business needs. Transparency between all processes helps to ensure that only the right decisions are made”, Ollikainen sums.
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