The case for fixed integration costs
When you are responsible for your business's financial well-being and guidance, visibility and predictability are your best friends in an otherwise unstable world! And that applies to both the solution deliverables and the cost to the business.
First, let’s talk about cost. While having constant visibility of integration usage and cost tracking through the dashboards provided by all the leading cloud vendors is great, it comes with uncertainty and eats away at your CAPEX. Whereas if you choose Integration as a Service (IaaS), your monthly costs are fixed and fall neatly into your OPEX basket. The other option, of course, is Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).
So, what’s the difference between iPaaS and IaaS in terms of investment? With iPaaS, the vendor delivers an integration platform, not the integrations. With iPaaS, you are responsible for building and maintaining the integrations you need. So you obviously need to attract, hire and retain skilled resources and shoulder the financial burden of internal support when an integration fails or misbehaves. While many iPaaS vendors promise easy drag-and-drop API functionality which allows even non-technical staff to integrate any application, the simplicity of configuring and maintaining the code behind these APIs is often overstated – and hiring a ‘rescue team’ can send costs spiralling out of control.
By comparison, IaaS vendors provide and maintain your integrations as part of the service. There are no resource costs at your end, no in-house time and effort required to maintain or support integrations, and you can choose a pay-as-you-go or subscription model to suit your business. And as the integrations are right first time, there are no ongoing maintenance and ‘fix’ costs.
The second point to consider is deliverables. In other words, the accurate and timely reporting you rely on professionally to do your job. While integration for many in the business may be out of sight, out of mind, as CFO, it’s always front of mind.
In an article by Paul Ainsworth, an international CFO with experience at large multinationals, he sums it up perfectly: “Access to timely, accurate data is a key enabler to finance productivity and decision support. Automated reporting and analytics allow more time to be dedicated to forecasting and predictive analysis. Technology will play an increasingly important role for the CFO, but its effectiveness depends on the accuracy, availability, and consistency of data, and on robust, integrated technology infrastructure.”