Clouds, iPaaS, Citizen Integrator and Why India’s Outsourcing Is Losing Money

New opportunities for integration strategies have come to light for IT-architects, Directors of integration, and CIOs. Let’s discuss the tools that are built upon Clouds that could improve your business competitiveness.

Александр Бындю
Александр Бындю · 1 марта 2017
IT-архитектор · Эксперт в Agile и Lean · Основатель компании Byndyusoft

Business people don’t want to pay for integration anymore. Integration can eat up to 50% of a project’s budget because you must pay for developing reliable infrastructure, programming of API’s adapters, as well as spend time and money on the teams coordination. After the project is released, you’ll find that APIs suddenly change on all integration points. It means you’ll have to invest money in integration tasks infinitely.

One of my clients, whom I developed new microservices architecture for, asked us to develop integration through iPaaS instead of buying an outsourcing company as he did before. He is an owner and CEO of a big retail company, and he didn’t want to pay for labor integration anymore.

Citizen Integrator

Business desires fully automated magic integration. Imagine that an ordinary accountant, a financial manager, or other non-IT employees can integrate software that they need into the company’s IT ecosystem all by themselves. It means that business users (not IT) can integrate almost everything through the user interface without programming. Is it possible? Not 100% but almost.

Gartner calls such people Citizen Integrators (read more about it in the report Embrace the Citizen Integrator Approach to Improve Business Users’ Productivity and Agility).

I found very similar terms Citizen Developer and Low-Code Development Platforms in the Forrester’s report Low-Code Development Platforms, Q2 2016.

Gartner said something interesting that IT-architects and CIOs should take into account:

In 2017 at least 65 percent of new integration flows will be developed outside the control of IT departments in larger organizations.

Sounds great, especially for the company’s owners because now they know how to save money on integration. At the same time, it sounds really bad for companies who can offer only low-skilled engineers for monotonous, dull integration issues.

I’ll explain integration tools in three categories: pre-built integration, iPaaS-solutions and Pervasive integration. Each of the instruments, or their combination, could move your integration tasks to a citizen integrator.

Simple Integration and Pipeline

The simplest and cheapest way to integrate some popular SaaS-products is Zapier. If you work in a small or middle-sized company, I bet that your common tools are Gmail, Google Docs, Trello, MailChimp, Slack or some other popular SaaS-product. With Zapier you can integrate products and even create a pipeline with a chain of actions.

Solutions simular to Zapier offer:

  1. Up-to-date, ready-to-use and tested adapters for a product’s API
  2. User Interface with mouse-only management.
  3. An engine for creating pipelines which perform with API’s input-output data and actions.
  4. A reliable infrastructure for integration points and data streams.

A citizen integrator should only drag and drop appropriate services into the integration pipeline and connect services by clicking a mouse without the need for a line of code.


Zapier can’t provide the necessary level of service for a big company that has more complicated tasks. Generally, there is a lot of custom software in a company’s infrastructure. As an IT architect you’ll have to use not only existing adapters provided by an integration platform, you’ll need to create your own API adapters as well. In this case consider iPaaS platforms.

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a cloud service that provides a platform to support application, data and process integration projects, usually involving a combination of cloud-based applications and data sources, APIs and on-premises systems.

image source: Why You Need Integration as a Platform (iPaaS)

You’ll find top players in the Gartner’s report Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service, Worldwide. My favorite products are MuleSoft and SnapLogic. See the diagram below:

The reasons why I recommend using iPaaS for your IT architecture:

  1. Adapters already created and always up to date. You don’t need to invest money in adapters for changeable APIs (any API)
  2. Reliable infrastructure. You don’t care about backups, SLA for your own servers, reserved hardware, etc.
  3. Citizen integrators can connect any software and create pipelines by themselves. You no longer need developers or outsourcing companies for such tasks.
  4. Manage all integration points in one place.
  5. Visualization of all data streams in one place. You’ll see pipelines, detailed actions, transformations and other elements just using your web browser.

I think these enough reasons to take iPaaS into account during your next IT architecture meeting.

Pervasive Integration

There is one more integration task. Sometimes you need to retrieve data from difference sources as you work with one homogeneous source. Read more about Pervasive Integration strategy in the Gartner’s report CIO Call to Action: Shake Up Your Integration Strategy to Enable Digital Transformation.

image source:

How a Pervasive Integration solution can add business value:

  1. Adapters for the popular databases and APIs already created and always up to date.
  2. Reliable infrastructure
  3. Utilizes data virtualization
  4. Significantly reduce the time to retrieve, extract, transform and load data
  5. Allows users to integrate NoSQL data stores with relational data stores and yet be able to query in SQL
  6. Continually updating the data structures that have already been created using machine learning capabilities.

See the list of providers in the Gartner’s report Cool Vendors in Pervasive Integration, 2016.

Actually, you can and you will mix iPaaS with Pervasive Integration solutions.

Why India’s Outsourcing Is Loosing Money

While robots replace low-skilled labor, the world has started to live the Player Piano scenario — an anti-utopia about total automation. There were a lot of people who did nothing because they were replaced by robots and machines.

Let’s discover the links between Player Piano and the current situation in the world. The Wall Street Journal published the article India’s Outsourcing Firms Change Direction as ‘Cloud’ Moves In on July 12, 2015. Here appropriate quotes:

David Smoley, AstraZeneca’s technology chief, said he expects to cut in half the $750 million the drug maker used to spend annually on outsourcing over the next two years. He said the number of people working on information technology also would drop by 50%.

Traditional service providers have one technician for 200 servers, compared to one person for 10,000 cloud servers.

Wipro is planning to slim down its 158,000 workforce and is scrambling to retrain its software engineers so they can do more sophisticated cloud-related coding. Mr. Kurien estimates that around 40% of his employees don’t have the skills they need for cloud computing.

The value of outsourcing deals signed in 2014 shrank 17% to $120.4 billion from $145.5 billion a year earlier, according to consulting company KPMG LLC.

Indian companies are losing business to firms that have led the way into the cloud.

…typically send a team of 100 employees to write, install and provide support for clients’ accounting software. Wipro now does such projects with eight people.

Look’s like cloud infrastructure demands from 15 to 50 times few people for maintenance and support. Sounds pretty impressive to me. To be more objective, not only India’s outsourcing but any IT companies that offer automation and integration will be affected by Clouds and new integration approaches.


As an IT-architect I’m thinking about:

  1. Use new integration approaches for my clients, create applications on the iPaaS and Pervasive Integration.
  2. I would add new tools to the list that was described in the article Useful Tools for Managing Complexity of Microservice Architecture. These tools could be useful for microservice architecture as well.
  3. If I develop a SaaS-solution, I will publish an API into as many as possible iPaaS platforms.

Forewarned is forearmed! I hope you’ll use this article at your next meeting to discuss how you can use new integration solutions for improving your business competitiveness.