Is marketing technology entering a post-platform era? - Chief Marketing Technologist | The MarTech Digest |
iPaaS (integration-platform-as-a-service) and similar kinds of integration services were built from the ground up to be hubs. You plug all your marketing applications (particularly SaaS products) into the iPaaS service — most of which have hundreds of application connectors ready for you to pick from a simple menu — and then it handles piping data between them via their APIs.

Most iPaaS solutions initially focused on making it easy to integrate all your different marketing cloud services. They were the Data Plumbing layer in the above diagram. Many then added Data Parsing/Routing Logic that gave their users — “citizen integrators” — the flexibility to create more intelligent, multi-step recipes for reacting to events from any one connected product and triggering actions in response through other connected products.

The reason I call iPaaS solutions “virtual platforms” is because as long as they focus only on the Data Integration layer, they don’t serve as a System of Record for the data that passes through them, and they don’t provide Marketing Execution or Marketing Intelligence.

Indeed, this is exactly what customer data platforms (CDPs) have done. Many of them have an iPaaS-like background or capabilities, but they also serve as a System of Record, storing and even normalizing the data that passes through its engine. Several have now started to implement their own built-in Marketing Execution and Marketing Intelligence capabilities too — while still making it very easy for marketers to plug in alternate execution and intelligence services.