Summer is in full swing but be sure to download this episode of Must Contain for poolside reading, it’s got all the makings of a great summer listen. Kristin and Kristin catch up with David Kreitter to talk iPaaS. This gem of an acronym (Integration Platform as a Service) has been around for ages but David offers an updated take on it as the tools move from IT only to Operations. Find out more on how you can tap into the capabilities of iPaaS without technical expertise (it’s more than middleware now), and what an iPaaS tool can do for your organization.
Summer fun keeping you busy? Skip to 19:39 for the three things you need to know about iPaaS.
A reminder that we have an open call for guests. Submit your buzzword using this form or type the link into your browser – https://bit.ly/must-contain-pitch. We can’t wait to hear what topics you want to break down with us in Season 2.
Hosted by Kristin Anne Carideo(KAC) and Kristin Crowe (OGK)
Theme Song: (00:01)
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:36)
Hi, I’m Kristin Crowe.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:38)
And I’m Kristin Carideo.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:39)
And this is Must Contain the podcast from Etumos where we help explain the how of marketing. Although we can’t always explain the why.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:48)
Join us every two weeks as we break down marketing and corporate topics and discuss what they really mean.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:53)
And if you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to like follow or subscribe in all your favorite podcast platforms. Welcome back to another episode of Must Contain. Today, our topic is a class of platform that I think a lot of MOPs people have some knowledge of but maybe aren’t entirely sure how to use.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:11)
Yeah, we’re talking about iPaaS today, a piece of the class of software formerly or maybe currently, but somewhat dismissively known as middleware and an integration tool type that should be more widely known and used in the maps world. At least that’s what I think.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:29)
And I think Kristin, today’s guest would definitely agree with you. And our guest today is David Kreitter. Welcome David, can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself?
David Kreitter: (01:39)
My name is David Kreitter, I have been working in sort of the automation space marketing automation and marketing demand gen for what, 12, 13 years now. And I’ve worked with marketing and sales ops teams at companies of all different sizes more recently spent a couple of years at Workato, which is one of the platforms of interest for our talk today. I was heading up the marketing ops team there.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:12)
Awesome. Well, we have a lot to cover, I think, because there’s a lot that we can dive into with iPaaS but let’s just jump right in. What does that stand for? We’ve used the term a couple of times already. What does it stand for and can you define iPaaS for us?
David Kreitter: (02:30)
Yes, so iPaaS Stands for Integration Platform as a Service. So it’s sort of a play off of SaaS software as a service. What it actually means has changed a little bit over time. Some of the older tools in this space, such as like Boomi and MuleSoft, were maybe purely focused on integration, and they’re pretty technical, right? Hard for non developers to use and I think some of the the newer guard like Workato and even things like like Zapier, Syncari or what have you are sort of changing the game a little bit and making these tools into more almost like automation tools rather than just they’re not purely integration tools anymore. They’re like integration and automation. So, you know, I think they’ve sort of earned their the title of automation tools in recent years.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:27)
Thank you, David. So we’ve kind of talked a lot about like what it is and used the word integration, and we’ve talked like middleware and you might not assume that’s marketing ops. So why is this something marketing operations should know about and not something that should say stay say, like in the realm of developers and engineers and other more technical air quotes since you can’t see me, folks?
David Kreitter: (03:53)
Yeah, that’s a good it’s a fair question. I would say. I’ll mention a few points on this. So one like the type of stuff that I as a marketing ops person and I think a lot of my fellow marketing ops friends and connections, I want to be able to do this work myself like I can do this work myself. Why should this have to be left to IT or engineering or a developer? You know, like I can do this stuff myself. I want to do it myself. And it makes things go more quickly at my business. I think that’s a pretty simple reason. But a couple of other points I’d layer on there are that marketing ops people are great at automation, right? Like we have a long history with marketing automation tools and a lot of these tools – It’s really the same fundamental thought process, right? Your marketing ops folks have developed strong ability to think about things in a certain way, right? Like streamlining processes and automating as much as possible. And that skill that market operations has honed over the last several years, decade, that is really valuable in these iPaaS tools as well. When you think about like most marketing operations, folks are probably working on a team where you have your marketing automation tool and a CRM and they’re integrated. Right? And the reason that you integrate those two tools is because the sum of the two, the sum of those two tools when they’re integrated is like greater than the two tools individually. Right? So by bringing these iPaaS tools into your tech stack as a marketing ops person, you can build more of those sort of like one plus one equals four situations where you’re now able to get creative. You can you can kind of automate across your entire tech stack and integrate your entire tech stack. You can maybe keep the same number of apps in your stack, but get a lot more value from them because they’re using them in new and innovative way.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (05:53)
And so how does it work? I’m a MOPs person and you know, what you just said really resonated with me. Like the one plus one equals four kind of idea of like multiplying the effectiveness of my tech stack how easy is that going to be for me to figure out a tool like this, especially in that new class of tools we talked about Workato and Syncari, that kind of thing, or am I going to need to learn more developer engineering skills?
David Kreitter: (06:20)
Yeah, I think it comes naturally for a lot of marketing ops folks, right? Like a lot of these preexisting, marketing automation tools have the concept of like triggers and actions, right? So it’s already sort of embedded in our brains, like creating things with triggers and actions, automated workflows. And that’s exactly how, you know, at least Workato works, is there is a trigger and then a series of actions that occur. The difference is that now instead of just automating workflows within your marketing automation tool, you can trigger and take actions across any app anywhere in your tech stack. As long as there’s an API for it and you own the app.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (07:01)
Easy to start. Fairly familiar. There’s no limitations. You can use any tool as long as it’s got API. So I’m sure folks are like super cool. I could do all those things, but like, what can I actually do? You’ve been around the block with automation tools. You’ve been in Ops a lot. You work directly for Workato David. So what are some actual real life applications you’ve seen of iPaaS in a marketing operations context?
David Kreitter: (07:27)
And so we had a customer who was using these. I think they were actually using the program member custom fields to capture UTM values right? Like UTM Campaign Source Medium, and they wanted all these data values to flow into custom fields on the Salesforce campaign member object and that’s actually part they were actually doing this already when they came to us, they had figured out a solution. They were using a webhook and they had injected some Apex script or something into the webhook so that when it lands in Salesforce, it somehow triggered the data values to flow over.
But it was just not very scalable. They needed a better way to do it. And so this customer used Marketo APIs and Salesforce APIs and Workato as the iPaaS tool. Basically, listen for every 5 minutes it would go pick up all the new program members that have been created in Marketo, including their program number Custom Field Values for the UTMs source medium. And it would then go find the corresponding campaigns on the Salesforce side and add the members to those campaigns, including the custom fields, which are something the native integration can’t do. So that’s one customer example, a personal example of how I have used iPaaS while at Workato is we had our academy, right? I think it’s called. Yeah, Academy.Workato.com.
You can go there to like, you know, try the product out, like learn about the product and all that. And so we had all these people coming here to learn about the product and get certified. The problem was that they were just kind of siloed, right? The data was just sitting there in the LMS. And so we used Workato to go and grab not only all the people who were taking the certification on courses, but we, we set it up in such a way that any time a new course was published on the LMS, our automation through Workato would go and clone the appropriate program template in Marketo for a new education course. It would clone the program clone it into the proper campaign folder, populate I don’t remember, and it might have populated some tokens, but it activated both smart campaigns within the program.
And so essentially anytime there was a new course in the LMS that would automatically create a new program in Marketo, to capture anybody who was engaging with that course or certification and also set their acquisition program and whatnot. And Workato sort of maintained a look up table then as well. So as the actual activity data flowed in, right, like Workato would sort of pair the course ID in the LMS, it’d say, Oh, it was for this course, so I need to add it to this program and Marketo and trigger both of these or one of these two smart campaigns within that program. For this person to run through. So it was a zero maintenance solution to just automatically keep our LMS and Marketo market marketing automation system in sync with regard to courses and activities.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (10:37)
And did that save time or what was the business gain there?
David Kreitter: (10:41)
Yeah, I think if I look at it from like, like this wasn’t really like a selfish problem for me to solve, right? I’m so selfless but if I look at it from a business perspective, it’s like, OK, we have this academy, you know, this automation institute we have a good amount of activity going on on it. But like, I can’t connect that to any revenue. Like, yeah, we’re seeing some activity, so that seems good. But like, I want to be able to connect that to revenue and say, hey, we actually, you know, for every 100 registrants here, we generate one new customer. And, you know, in an average deal size of X and we generate three upsells on an average deal of that or we influence three upsells. Right? And none of that was possible because none of the engagement data was getting into our marketing automation tool or our CRM. And therefore we couldn’t do revenue attribution reporting. So we were unable and we were hiring on this team. Right. Just because it was a gut thing. We were like, OK, this team is probably doing good stuff, you know? So we were hiring on it, but it’s nice to really be able to show the impact that this education team was having on the business when it comes to revenue and that that’s the business problem involved.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:56)
What kind of businesses should be thinking about implementing iPaaS as a part of their stack based on what you all of those cool things that you just told us?
David Kreitter: (12:04)
I honestly feel that like almost down to the point where like even if you’re like a mom and pop coffee shop, there’s stuff that you want to automate, right? You’re like you’re probably using QuickBooks for your taxes or what have you, right? So I mean, who doesn’t want on who who should be automating stuff? So that’s sort of how that question is to me. And it’s like everybody, everybody business, every business should be automating and using these tools and some big ones that really come to mind. I mean, tech, I guess we kind of love each other, right? So like SaaS companies and like people in the tech world tend to I think adopt these these tools more quickly. Shipping and logistics is another another big one. So there’s the question of which companies should be adopting these tools. And then I think there’s also the question of which team should be using these tools. And like I said, I think pretty much every company should be automating stuff, right? It’s who doesn’t want to automate stuff. But when it comes to teams, I think as these iPaaS tools are getting easier and easier to use, the operations teams across the business should be thinking about it. Right? Whether you’re in HR Ops, finance ops, sales ops, customer success ops, marketing ops, the operations teams are the ones who should be the biggest customers out of everyone. And I think it still has a role to play there. Right? It sort of central to all these ops teams and a lot of organizations. But like at a high level like ops teams overall should be sort of the biggest customers of these tools.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:39)
Given that generally iPaaS or middleware is about filling the gaps that maybe a multitude of platforms aren’t filling. So you’ve got a bunch of different technologies in your stack and they’re all doing a couple of different things, but nothing is actually quite flowing the way that you want are iPaaS solutions like a short term fix or like the long term objective and why? Like is it the gateway to something else more permanent and like, you know, long term or can companies get infinitely advanced with them.
David Kreitter: (14:18)
Yeah, this is a good question. I have I have to think back to when I first started using Marketo, I felt like the possibilities were limitless. But some of the other cust- the market, I guess in general and some of the product or product marketing teams at Marketo didn’t sort of see some of the or help us realize, like the full potential of what the tool could do in that case. Right? I mean, maybe I was just dreaming in the first place, but sometimes I think I look at a tool and I’m like, There’s so much possibility here, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t get fully realized. So I have to keep that in mind.
As you ask this question I’d say that for these iPaaS tools, you can get infinitely advanced and the possibilities are sort of in the same way endless with these but I just have to check myself on really like how big will the market let them get and all that. But it states it’s definitely around for the long term, right? Like these tools are not going anywhere. This is not a fad. Right? And there’s definitely some quick fixes you can make with these tools and even just one off automations that you would have to write Python to do otherwise. Like there’s some really cool, quick things you can do with them that are not going to be long term value to your business. But the tools themselves are going to be delivering projects that run, you know, every few seconds, every 5 minutes, and they’re going to be running for the next decade in your business. So they’re not going anywhere soon.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (15:44)
Cool. Well, I am sold. I want one. One, iPaaS please. Of course, you know, as we all know, as MOPs folks justifying the purchase of a new platform can sometimes be really difficult. And from what you’re saying, perhaps the ROI on these tools isn’t as straightforward as like I mean, it might be as straightforward as this is. The solution is going to help me push more leads to sales, more efficiently, better quality, more quickly, because I’ll be able to run this particular automation. But it doesn’t seem as straightforward in justifying, you know, ROI on this platform to me. So how can I how can I justify this to my boss? How can I get this as a part of my tech stack if I am going to make a business case for it?
David Kreitter: (16:34)
Yeah, it’s a good question. When I first joined Workato I was actually in a pre sales capacity, which was really interesting getting to work so closely with AEs on deals. And I was selling to marketers like marketing ops folks like my friends, you guys so one of the things that I learned, I had never been in a sales role, but it was just sort of interesting. I learned about like there’s different, you know, different versions of this. Like, one thing I heard was this acronym spiced. So in order to sell something first figure out like what the situation is, right? Which you already know if you’re working somewhere, you kind of know what the situation is, at your work and what’s the current pain that you’re experiencing as part of your process.
Like maybe you’re uploading CSVs manually once per quarter instead of having it being done automatically every 5 minutes, whatever the pain is. Like find the pain and really identify the pain. And that kind of becomes like the primary platform on which you will sell is like, look how much this sucks. And then and then you build up. You build on the pain, right? You build it like you say, OK, how does this impact the business? Right? By like by doing this one manual CSV upload once per quarter. That means our data in the database is on average 90 is like 45 days out of date or something. Right? So and if our data is 45 days out of date and it could be updating every day, like maybe you would ultimately lose revenue because that your marketing is done more poorly. So you, you can’t campaign as effectively and you actually end up losing revenue as part of this. Right?
Get some sort of estimate on the impact that you can actually quantify, whether it’s the number of hours that this is taking you or number of dollars that this is costing the business. And either churn customers or missed opportunities like upsell or bring new customers on right hours, dollars, customer experiences. And another is another one, I think you can argue, right? So you got to find this situation. What’s the pain you’re experiencing? How does that impact the business at the highest level? Right. Really play that out to the highest level of impact on the business. And then in spice, the ‘CE’ is for Critical Event. Like, you know, if we continue to operate this way, for the- forever, at some point this big problem will arise. Right. Like, I guess that could be the business going out of business or whatever. Right. You want to try to keep it reasonable but like try to figure out if we do nothing, what happens, right? And when does that happen? And versus if we do something, this problem goes away right? So that’s sort of the general selling format that I’m trying to use myself now that I’m back in marketing ops when I want to sell something.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (19:28)
With that, we’ve now learned what iPaaS is, how to use it, who needs it, how to get one. So I think we’ll talk about our key takeaways :
First – iPaaS is a technology that most MOPs teams that work with any kind of complexity should be aware of and explore to augment the out-of-the-box capabilities of their tech stack. It’s a new form of what was once called middleware that is accessible to more than just your IT or business systems teams.
Second – this kind of tech isn’t something to be afraid of if you’re not air quotes technical, if you can operate Marketo Smart Campaigns, you can probably operate an iPaaS technology like Workato or Tray.io or others. It’s built on a similar if then logic, but allows you to use more than one platform in your flows.
Third – when evaluating whether or not you need an iPaaS solution, you need to take into consideration the value of your time and how much time your resources will save by automating a process that’s currently manual time is not free, and that’s an important thing to remember when making a case for these solutions.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (20:33)
And that’s it for this episode of Must Contain. We’ll be back in two weeks with another great MOPs topic, and a joke.
Kristin Crowe(OGK): (20:38)
And a joke.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (20:39)
This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus and Lindsay Walter. It was edited by Kristin Crowe, theme music by Rusty Hall. Special thanks to David Kreitter. And that’s it for Must Contain. I’m Kristin Crowe and we’ll see you in two weeks.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (21:05)
Hey Containers, it’s Kristin Crowe again, one quick thing before you go. MOPsCON 2022 is happening this September 20th and 21st. We’d love to see you at this event made by and for MOPs professionals. So head over to mopscon.com/register to get your ticket, and as a bonus, Kristin and I will be hosting a live episode of Must Contain. We can’t wait to see you!