The Hidden Limitations of Low-Code and No-Code Embedded iPaaS Solutions

Explore the hidden drawbacks of low-code and no-code iPaaS solutions, including restricted flexibility and vendor lock-in risks.
Written by
Elizabeth Garcia, Product Marketing Manager
Published on
March 1, 2024

When it comes to building user-facing integrations between two SaaS systems, it's not just about writing code that defines how data will be shared. It's also about applying product management principles to the entire process

This includes assessing whether the method of data transfer and the design of the integration infrastructure can scale to meet business needs and customer demands.

Integrations that involve data exchange between APIs bring several challenges when it comes to design, implementation, and management. This is made harder for engineers when they encounter outdated documentation, manual work, and the need for specialized expertise.

Low-code and no-code embedded integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) emerged as early solutions to this problem. They promised to simplify the integration process with drag and drop workflow builders and quick setup times. 

However, beneath their convenience lies two significant limitations that can hinder innovation and operational flexibility.

This article highlights the hidden pitfalls of traditional low-code and no-code embedded iPaaS solutions and presents an alternative that prioritizes a code-first approach to the embedded iPaaS space.

But First, Understanding API Connectors

Before diving into the limitations of traditional low-code and no-code embedded iPaaS solutions, it's important to grasp the role of API connectors in facilitating integrations for these systems. This understanding sets the stage for exploring how these connectors shape the capabilities, limitations, and flexibility of embedded iPaaS platforms.

API vs. API Connectors

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable communication between different software systems, allowing one system to request data and digital assets from another. Embedded iPaaS solutions often provide connectors, or API connectors, to facilitate communication between APIs, simplifying the integration process and reducing the workload for developers.

What do API Connectors Offered by Most Embedded iPaaS Include?

Pre-built connectors offered by low-code or no-code embedded iPaaS tools typically handle authentication and provide predefined actions and endpoints. These actions are presented visually within a workflow builder tool, allowing users to create integrations.

Example of embedded iPaaS workflow builder 

These predefined actions mostly facilitate what are called CRUD operations (create, read, update, delete), which, at a high level, define how data will be interacted with, organized, and maintained for an integration.  

Now let's dive into the two major limitations of traditional low-code and no-code embedded iPaaS solutions:

Limitation #1: Limited Flexibility with API Interactions

Traditional embedded iPaaS solutions simplify API interactions by standardizing data and presenting it in visual blocks. However, this approach limits SaaS companies to a predefined set of functionalities, hindering their ability to customize integrations to meet unique needs. 

Relying on the low-code or no-code tool's ability to quickly meet new functionality requirements becomes a bottleneck, hindering innovation.

Additionally, changes to integrations must adhere to the platform's predefined actions and connectors, limiting flexibility and agility.

Why Does This Matter for B2B SaaS Businesses?

As the number of applications and use cases grows, traditional embedded iPaaS solutions struggle to accommodate evolving integration requirements, causing bottlenecks for B2B SaaS companies. 

Relying on low-code or no-code embedded iPaaS systems to develop or update functionality within their workflow builders can be less than ideal. This reliance can hold companies back from being agile and responsive.

Also, the lack of visibility into raw API requests and responses makes debugging challenging, impacting the integration's reliability and performance.

Limitation #2: Vendor Lock-In Risks

Integrations built with pre-built connectors of embedded iPaaS tools are 100% reliant on  the platform, risking vendor lock-in. If a company stops using the iPaaS, the integration becomes useless. This restricts a company's ability to switch vendors and could lead to losing access to crucial integration logic and code.

An Alternative Approach to Low-Code & No-Code Embedded iPaaS

Enter Pandium, a code-first embedded iPaaS solution that offers B2B SaaS flexibility, customization, and direct API access. It also provides the infrastructure needed for seamless integration deployment and management. 

Pandium acts as a facilitator rather than an intermediary in the integration process. It empowers developers to quickly build, iterate, and deploy integrations at scale, providing a middle ground between in-house development and low-code or no-code iPaaS solutions.

Access the Full Functionality of an API 

While Pandium also offers connectors, its connectors don’t include predefined workflows and actions, and it doesn’t use a visual builder. Their connectors facilitate authentication between APIs and offer developers access to API Clients that support them with seamless API interactions. 

Pandium also provides developers with resources and code scaffolding to streamline the local development of integration business logic, simplifying and accelerating the process. Meanwhile, the Integration Hub takes care of the necessary infrastructure to efficiently launch and manage integrations at scale.

Local Integration Development = No Vendor Lock-In 

Pandium facilitates integration development by connecting to developers' repositories of choice. Developers are supported by Pandium’s Integration Development Kit to quickly code the business logic for their chosen integration. 

Once an integration is built or updated locally and pushed to the repository, Pandium’s system handles the rest.

Choosing Embedded iPaaS Solutions Wisely

When selecting an embedded iPaaS solution, it's essential to align the choice with strategic goals and integration needs. While low-code or no-code iPaaS may be great for simpler use cases, Pandium becomes a compelling choice for companies looking for a combination of innovation, flexibility, and speed. 

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