At its core, Apio is an integrated platform as a service (iPaaS). To understand what this means and how using iPaaS will impact your business, we’ve created an overview for you. 

Monolithic Architecture vs. Microservices

Let’s start at the beginning, with monolithic architecture for ecommerce websites. Monolithic builds were defined by the concept that it is all in one and not interconnected blocks of code, which means that when one change is made, it affects the whole system. The clear benefit can be seen as these are simple to build, test and deploy, but in the long-run hard to maintain and adapt to the ever changing digital landscape.  

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In the past few years, there has been a shift in the industry from monolithic architecture to microservices. Microservices work with independent blocks of code that are decoupled from the main architecture and can be maintained and adjusted more easily, allowing for quick changes and flexibility. If we look at the example of ecommerce, microservices allow for innovation, but add complexity to an already intricate setup with each ecommerce store using multiple services for their tech stack, which all have to work together effectively.  

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What is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS)?

As defined by Gartner, Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organisations.

One example that was used to describe iPaaS is that of a contractor who is hired for a renovation and whilst the company picks out everything, the contractor takes charge of the underlying requirement. Arguably, this is one way of showcasing the strengths of an iPaaS, but it goes beyond that.  

So what does this have to do with Apio? Apio is middleware, which is software that lies between an operating system and the applications running on it. More importantly, it is an integration platform as a service or iPaaS. 

Think of it this way, Apio is the communication and translation layer of an ecommerce business. Using iPaaS allows for seamless and consistent workflows between the many different integrations that form a complex tech stack and the ecommerce platform. 

Apio works as the platform that helps other platforms or services communicate with each other in the form of integrations and data manipulations. In a sense, Apio is the central translation hub ensuring that all data sources “speak the same language” so you can leverage the same data across the board.

Apio and microservices

Let’s dive a bit further into Apio and how it works. Apio iPaaS will generate a static binary app for your choice of operating system, be it Linux, Windows or macOS. The app will run without any dependencies, self-containing any necessary configuration. 

The app will serve the defined interface declarations, connecting your systems. It will also connect to the dashboard server on a secure channel, this connection will be used for sending information that will be visible through Apio dashboard, and for over-the-air upgrades.

As the app is not resource-heavy, we normally run it on the server of (or close to) the ecommerce platform. This is especially beneficial when there is a need for direct database connection or in high-traffic setups.

Real time visibility for increased efficiency

Being able to integrate and build out everything in one place is great, but what happens if there is an error with an integration? Apio’s event log accounts for real time visibility so that means the business owner can immediately see where any problems have occurred and react immediately. That said, working with an iPaaS increases efficiency in solving errors more quickly and in connecting, building and maintaining integrations. Ecommerce businesses could do this in-house, but leveraging the capabilities of iPaaS does speed up the process and allow your IT team to focus on what really matters.

Use cases for iPaaS (a few examples)

  • Ecommerce Platform to Warehouse or ERP- Pulling data from any platform and pushing this data to the warehouse in any format required, i. e. API, file format, you name it. 
  • Data Manipulation - Use iPaaS to pull the relevant information from one source, change it as needed and send it to the desired destination in the desired format. For instance, if you want to calculate VAT on your ecommerce platform, but it doesn’t work, the data can be calculated in the iPaaS and then sent correctly to the ERP or other desired destination. The iPaaS can also help augment the data - pull it from multiple sources, consolidate or change it and send it to the desired destination. 
  • Automated Returns & Reconciliations - Use iPaaS to automate processes that can be very manual and time consuming. Information from one source like the payment gateway, storing the information in the ecommerce platform for your records and passing it on to your accounting system. 

That’s our overview to get you started. If you want to find out more about what Apio can do, feel free to watch our on-demand launch webinar.

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