The complexity and sheer volume of data produced by cloud applications, the internet of things (IoT), and other emerging areas of IT investment are causing organizations to look for an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that can help them connect disparate data sources and integrate modern solutions with existing applications.

According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service, released late March, “an iPaaS is typically used for cloud service integration (CSI) and application to application (A2A) integration scenarios. Increasingly, they are also being used for business to business (B2B) integration, mobile application integration (MAI), API publishing and Internet of Things (IoT) integration scenarios.”

SnapLogic, a provider of iPaaS on the Magic Quadrant leaderboard says that, “integration is at the heart of every successful social, mobile, analytics (big data), cloud, and the Internet of Things (SMACT) initiative.”

But don't just take their word for it. Investors are betting on growing demand for iPaaS with the recent IPO of MuleSoft, a leader in the market that went public in March when its shares jumped 44 percent over the offering price. Mulesoft competes with other players in the market including SnapLogic, and Jitterbit, as well as vendors including Dell Boomi, IBM, Oracle and others.

Increased awareness of iPaaS solutions through the MuleSoft IPO will help boost other companies in the broader space, according to Liasion Technologies CRO Rob Consoli. “We’re very happy for them,” Consoli said. “In general it’s great for the integration market.”

The iPaaS market is expected to reach $2.9 billion in 2021, which Consoli said is a fraction of the overall integration market, which stands at about $12 billion today.

Consoli said that Liasion Technologies takes iPaaS further through its data platform as a service (dPaaS), called Alloy Platform, by not only providing data integration but also data management to customers through a cloud-based platform.

“Mulesoft does a great job of solving the integration challenge which is getting access to various data sources but what have traditionally been two separate disciplines, integration and data management, Liaison has actually blended that together in a single platform,” Consoli said. “Not only can we get access to the data, we can cleanse the data, harmonize the data, apply data governance rules to the data and secure that data so that we can serve back to our customers the crown jewel. The crown jewel is clean data that they can leverage and use to drive their business.”

Liasion Technologies’ flagship cloud-based Alloy Platform combines integration and data management flow to help customers consolidate, cleanse and enrich data from any number of disparate sources, while growing a repository of data to identify new market opportunities, according to its website. Ovum said that the data platform as a service (dPaaS) extends “key attributes of integration PaaS (iPaaS) to the data layer and offers agility in responding to changes in business requirements.”

It’s an approach that has been resonating with the market, as Consoli said Liasion’s new contracts are up 221 percent from last year driven by interest in its Alloy platform, which the Atlanta-based company launched in 2015. In 2014, Accenture acquired a minority stake in Liasion to offer clients a “complete set of solutions for cloud integration and data management across many industries.”

Liasion currently has more than 7,400 customers, and many are in data-centric industries like life sciences and healthcare, supply chain, financial services and transportation and logistics.

“Where we see the market headed is custom blending of disparate data sources. Being able to integrate to various applications, even social media sites and IoT devices and so on, is providing companies an opportunity to innovate to custom blend data sources that were never really combined before,” he said.

“For one large pharmaceutical company we’re actually able to interrogate the entire Twitter Firehose API and look for unique drug names because their drug names are made up of different letters and characters…and to determine public sentiment, when those drug names are mentioned are the words happy or sad,” he said. “For that we can derive public sentiment about how people are talking about drugs in social media. We can overlay that with perhaps geographical data or patient data and then a large pharmaceutical company can decide if they need to do more advertising or training of doctors, etc.”

Custom blending can enable a whole range of data insights. Elsewhere, in the automotive sector, automakers can gain insight into customer sentiment about certain car dealerships.

“I think it’s a very exciting time,” Consoli said. “Big data, internet of things, structured and unstructured data; companies are really looking for the right platform that’s going to help them satisfy the needs of data integration.”