iPaaS automation vs. integrated app automation: when do I use what?
More and more apps now have integrated automations that serve to integrate other apps. On the other hand, there are applications such as Zapier or Make that have also set themselves precisely this task: Linking and integrating apps on a lean platform. But where exactly is the difference? When is it better to use Make or Zapier, and when is it better to use the integrated automation of Airtable, for example?
Cloud automation is just taking off and more and more apps are following suit. There are more and more no-code workflow solutions. But finding the right one for your own company can be difficult. Two tools that have made a big name for themselves in the scene are Zapier and Make . On the iPaaS platform, countless apps and applications can be linked to create automatic workflows without any human interaction.
To help you navigate the world and terms of automation, we would like to clarify when Zapier and when it is better to use integrated automation. So, here we go
When integrated automation makes sense
Airtable (one of our favourite apps), Teams or Pipedrive are ideal examples of integrated automation. Other, external apps are connected and data is transferred automatically. Most of these options are also free of charge and easy to use. So a real alternative to Zapier or Make? Unfortunately not always. In our experience, the requirements of our customers often exceed the integrated automations of such apps.
Three aspects should be considered when deciding whether to use integrated automation or an automation platform such as Zapier or Make.
#1 Complexity of automation
Both Zapier and Make have countless functions and almost everything imaginable can be automated there. However, this also brings with it an increased complexity: logical processes have to be understood and learned. Users with little experience can easily feel overwhelmed.
Integrated automations, on the other hand, are often very simple and this is a great advantage: new users can quickly create automations themselves. Usually only in one or two steps. Even if automations only integrate within this app or only one other app, these functions are often sufficient.
So: the lower the complexity of the automation, the more likely it is to be integrated.
iPaaS platforms usually advertise their simplicity and, due to the low-code or no-code interfaces, (apparently) no programming knowledge is necessary. But appearances can be deceptive. Inexperienced users can already reach their limits when releasing an API key. This can lead to frustration instead of the promised simplification of work processes.
Also, the error codes, should something not be configured correctly, quickly become very complex and require endless searches on the support pages or video tutorials, which only cause more confusion. So: If your experience with Zapier or Make is limited, integrated automations can usually do the job satisfactorily.
#3 Your existing infrastructure
Maybe your entire infrastructure is built around one app and it is tightly interwoven with all the other apps. When one ecosystem overrides everything else, it is often very complicated to add external apps. If the automation of your desired tasks also works within this ecosystem without external providers, then the switch to an iPaaS platform does not have to be forced.
When iPaaS makes sense
Despite the previously mentioned arguments AGAINST Zapier or Make, there are of course scenarios that favour such a tool. Especially when a large project with high complexity and numerous processes is to be automated, both applications come into their own and can show their true strengths.
When you're at the very beginning of your automation journey, the mountain can often seem impossibly high. We always emphasise that automation is only as good as the processes behind it. The first step is usually to outline the process to be automated - often the first time ever. Experience has shown that this step already yields unexpected results: Inefficiencies are recognised or the process was underestimated in scope at the beginning. Instead of a planned 5-step process, a 10-step process with numerous branches and conditions suddenly emerges.
This complexity must then be mapped in a lean and efficient manner in Zapier or Make- and both platforms deliver exactly that. Almost all processes can be mapped using integrated functions and workarounds. Nevertheless, for particularly complex processes, we recommend seeking advice from experts. That's why we do what we do.
Not only on the support pages of Zapier and Make themselves, but also in the social media, huge, helpful communities have come together in the meantime. Inspiration, help, suggestions: Everything imaginable is available for free and can help you to realise your automations, even if you are a beginner. Because sooner or later you will surely face obstacles that someone before you has already mastered and published the instructions for.
You may have noticed that deciding whether to use integrated automation or an iPaaS platform is not so easy. If you need advice on this, we will be happy to help you in a free consultation. Together we will find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address. 02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.