Published Jan 10, 2023

The integration maturity model

Understand your company’s maturity stage with our framework to create an integration roadmap and build integrations that drive growth.

The problem

Today’s SaaS apps are easy to set up and use, automating key processes at scale. When it comes to maximizing your company’s SaaS investment, though, a best-of-breed application approach is not enough. As each department adopts its own set of foundational and specialized apps, the number of data silos across your organization grows. This creates bottlenecks in business processes that span across multiple teams and applications.

In response, individuals may create spreadsheets, share data via email, or engage in other manual processes to move information along. These efforts not only drain resources, but they can lead to costly errors, a lack of visibility, slowdowns, and security issues for the entire organization.

The key component of any robust automation strategy is integration, but the specific integration approaches differ significantly for each enterprise based on these factors:

  • The pain being felt
  • What’s at stake
  • Where a company finds itself in its lifecycle

The integration maturity model

Having provided integrations for thousands of companies over the last decade, Celigo has identified certain integration trends based on a company’s development stage. The result is the following integration maturity model to help companies understand their own integration and operational readiness.


Stage 1:


Integration is an afterthought and decentralized

Mostly using vendor-built integrations

Cloud apps: Scattering of early-stage SaaS apps

Integration owners: Individuals/Departments

Manual processes abound at this early stage, but there might be a scattering of SaaS apps in the enterprise. Integrations are pain-point based and reactive, driven by individuals solving their own issues on an as-needed basis.


Stage 2:


Integrations resolve acute pain points

Limitations to vendor-built integrations begin to emerge

Cloud apps: 1+ foundational apps

Integration owners: Line of Business/ Departments

Developing companies start to adopt a few foundational SaaS apps. While there’s more attention paid to operational issues, integrations tend to be reactive. Gradually, limitations to this approach begin emerging.

There might be dozens of applications integrated via a hodgepodge of native integrations, multiple vendor-built or point-to-point integrations, and direct API integrations. It quickly becomes a maintenance and compliance nightmare.

This integration approach is intended to handle only specific use cases that were built out of the box for two specific applications. If business processes become more sophisticated and span multiple applications, this may require customizations that are largely unsupported.


Stage 3:


Integration recognized as an organizational issue, transitioning tooling to IT

Complex integration needs are pervasive

Cloud apps: 3+ foundational apps

Integration owners: IT/Ops

At this point, companies start centralizing their resources. IT and operations holistically build and own enterprise-wide integrations, collaborating with different teams to design automation solutions. Additional foundational SaaS apps have been implemented, and more specialized SaaS apps are regularly adopted. As a result, the need for integration has increased exponentially.

However, because processes are better defined, these companies can proactively identify operational issues and the requirements to address them. This is the point to consider or even adopt an integration platform, or iPaaS, for quickly building and maintaining integrations.


Stage 4:


Federated development with focus on business process automation

IT creates reusable integration assets

Cloud apps: 10+ apps running core business processes

Integration owners: Business Teams, IT/Ops

This is the stage that most companies should be striving for to find the right balance. Many companies at this stage have an iPaaS and have federated it for both IT and business users to build and maintain the integrations that suit their needs. With the help of an iPaaS, integration is seen as a strategic advantage to proactively get ahead and drive the business forward.


Stage 5:


Blueprint for automation and integration in place

Business teams are empowered, proactively improving their business processes

Cloud apps: 30+ apps supporting the enterprise

Integration owners: Entire Organization

Welcome to the Holy Grail of the Integration Maturity Model. Companies with an integration-first mentality have a blueprint for automation and integration in place, managing more than 30 apps that support the enterprise. Everyone in the company is empowered, proactively improving their business processes.


Integration roadmap

Chances are your company is feeling the pain of manual processes and lack of visibility that normally comes with the adoption of business apps at scale. It’s ok to be on the left side of the integration spectrum, as long as you understand where you stand, and what you and your company gains by proactively driving your integration strategy to the right.

Integration is a journey, and just like any successful trip, it’s beneficial to have an idea of where you’re going. To help your company prepare for its next stage, create an integration roadmap:

  1. Map out your business processes, including a list of all your SaaS applications.
  2. Identify slow, resource-intensive processes that would benefit from automation.
  3. Identify your critical data that must be 100% accurate and timely through integration.
  4. Calculate the return on investment for automation and integration.