Run digital processes autonomously, relieve team members, create scalable workflows and increase productivity at the same time? Yes, thanks to iPaaS. With Integration Platform as a Service, previously isolated tools are linked together, automatically exchange data and thus create lean, recurring and efficient processes.
The key to this is iPaaS solutions that deliver the right and important functions. But the iPaaS market is not only young, it is also still very fragmented. There are numerous software with a slightly different focus.
This is exactly why we have taken a look at some of the most important platforms and create an overview of them in our iPaaS comparison:
While not all of these solutions are 1:1 comparable, they have enough similarities to make a closer look worthwhile.
But let's start again: We first clarify what iPaaS is, its benefits and goals, and then take a detailed look at workato, tray.io, Make, n8n and Zapier. We have also briefly summarised the top features of each platform.
In our iPaaS comparison, we look at the usability, pricing and connectivity of each software. In this way, we try to work out similarities and differences.
What is iPaaS
iPaaS stands for "Integration Platform as a Service" and is the name of a platform that links other applications with each other, i.e. integrates them. In this way, local or cloud-based applications can exchange data automatically. IPaaS is therefore an important technology for the automation of digital processes.
So-called iPaaS solutions or iPaaS platforms let you create autonomously running processes, often without code and with high usability. The umbrella term is cloud integration.
iPaaS is thus a competitor technology to RPA - Robotic Process Automation - and in our eyes the more suitable of the two. IPaaS offers a central console for the administration, control and integration of cloud-based applications.
Goals of iPaaS
It has long been commonplace that many different applications are used in companies. There are different requirements for different activities. These are mapped by a variety of systems. For example, different programmes are used in marketing than in sales or in accounting.
These isolated solutions can lead to data silos on the one hand and susceptibility to errors on the other. Important information, such as master data, is needed in many places and must therefore be kept up to date in many places. This can easily lead to discrepancies or duplicates.
IPaaS solutions connect these used programmes with each other and thus enable communication between different systems.
In this way, entire processes can be automated from start to finish. This is because predefined triggers start the workflow at certain conditions and thus carry out recurring routine activities independently.
Disclaimer: In our iPaaS comparison, we only highlight details and try to emphasise special features. We have linked to more detailed comparisons and rewievs of some iPaaS solutions.
IPaaS comparison #1: workato
workato is one of the leaders in Gartner's Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service. This means that workato was rated as one of the best iPaaS technologies with a focus on enterprise.
In addition, workato places a lot of emphasis on compliance and security, which also suits the large and very large companies.
Usability of workato in comparison
One thing has to be said about workato: The interface and especially the dashboard are extremely clear and therefore very user-friendly. No other iPaaS solution in this comparison manages that.
In terms of structure, workato follows the familiar view: A trigger is selected at the beginning and gradually a workflow emerges that is very reminiscent of a flowchart:
In addition, workato offers numerous functions and filters that make this workflow extremely complex and thus also close to reality.
We don't want to say much more at this point, because the usability of workato is really top-notch. Newcomers quickly find their way around and the fact that a demo is almost unavoidable quickly provides an overview.
Connectivity of workato in iPaaS comparison
As of today, workato supports over 1,000 connectors and SaaS apps, databases, AI services and APIs. The connectivity is further extended through HTTP requests. In addition, you can easily create your own connectors through workato's SDK.
As already mentioned at the beginning, workato has a special feature: on-premise solutions are also supported. Since iPaaS strictly speaking focuses on cloud applications, no other iPaaS tool in this comparison offers this simplicity.
Pricing from workato
The difference between workato and the other iPaaS tools on this list is also clear in the pricing. Where others entice with clearly defined packages, there is no price tag on workato. For companies, the iPaaS tool offers "workato for your business", which is divided into "required" and "as needed".
Required starts with its own workspace, which includes Unlimited Apps, unlimited Connections and unlimited Users. This is a really good start.
On top of that, i.e. as needed, you can add your own recipes. These can be purchased individually or as a package of 10, 25, 50 or 100 recipes. Workato promises access to more than 400,000 recipes.
However, a price is not mentioned. We only know that workato has pricing strategies for SMEs and enterprise. However, we cannot give you an exact amount. However, a 30-day trial is available free of charge. You can use it to get a taste of the platform.
Top features workato:
Connecting Cloud, on-premise and Enterprise
High usability and clarity
Complexity and diverse support of processes and apps
IPaaS Comparison #2: Make
Next in the iPaaS comparison is Make. An iPaaS platform from the Czech Republic on its way to the top. Acquired by the unicorn Celonis in 2020, Make wants to conquer the cloud automation market. We ourselves use Make on a daily basis as an automation agency and can therefore provide the most insights into this tool.
Make has been around in the world of cloud automation for some time now and does it quite well. What makes Make special is that it can map very complex scenarios through countless functions and filters. Admittedly, these require some practice. But once you know the possibilities of Make, you will love it.
Usability of Make in iPaaS comparison
One hurdle you have to overcome first, however, is the Make interface. This is only mediocre in an iPaaS comparison. Although Make also offers a "dashboard", it hardly lives up to its name. There you can only see how many operations (i.e. individual steps within a process) you have used in the last month and how much data volume was transferred.
The processes themselves are created in a unique view: A modular interface in which each app, or process step, is represented as a circular icon and can be arranged as desired.
This view makes it very easy for you to see how the process runs and where which branches occur. Nevertheless: As a beginner, it is somewhat overwhelming to configure the individual apps. Especially the functions mentioned before are not self-explanatory. So you will hardly be able to avoid some videos and training material.
When it comes to usability, Make therefore receives deductions in our iPaaS comparison.
Connectivity of Make in comparison
Make offers a large number of apps, around 1,000 at the moment. In addition, numerous other applications can be connected through webhooks and HTTP requests.
As an experienced programmer, you can also develop your own apps in Make. Alternatively, as a certified Make partner, we are also able to develop apps for you in Make.
Pricing from Make
At Make, pricing is based on requirements. As is usual for most SaaS tools, there are different price packages. These are primarily based on the amount of operations you use. Operations are individual process steps. A three-step process therefore consumes 3 operations.
In addition, Make free version offers an excellent entry point. 1,000 operations are included and there is no limit to the number of applications. Translated, this means: you can go a long way with it.
In this iPaaS comparison, Make scores with its pricing. It's cheaper than workato, Zapier and n8n without sacrificing functionality and scope.
Top features Make
Best price-performance ratio
High complexity and extensive workflows can be mapped
Enormously scalable and flexible
iPaaS comparison #3: n8n
n8n is still a young star in the iPaaS sky. Founded in 2019, the Berlin-based start-up recently closed its first VC round and, with the funding behind it, is setting out to make the iPaaS market a little fairer. Because n8n is unique: fair-code licensed and open source. Thanks to the open source code, you are the only one in this iPaaS comparison who can host the tool yourself and therefore also develop it further.
If you have the highest data security requirements and want to decide where your data is stored, you can simply run n8n on your own servers. Best of all, it's completely free.
Also brand new is the n8n desktop app. This is free and allows you to build and run low-code workflows on your desktop. This is ideal to give you an insight into the iPaaS software.
The n8n interface is also very similar to a flowchart. You can see at first glance which apps are being used and how the data flows through the automation. It is also easy to flexibly exchange the individual modules.
If you want to use a template, you can import it very easily: Simply copy and paste it into the n8n editor via CTRL + V, as you are used to doing in other applications.
In addition, n8n offers a small but very important detail: Multi Triggering. You can have one and the same process triggered by different actions. And this feature is really powerful. With Make, for example, we have been waiting for this for a long time and usually have to use workarounds.
Connectivity from n8n
In our iPaaS comparison, n8n currently supports the fewest apps: just over 200. This may also be due to the fact that n8n is still one of the younger tools in this list. Nevertheless, the trend is strongly upwards. In addition, n8n itself says that new apps can be added by developers in a few hours via JSON or JS. This emphasises the open source idea.
Nevertheless, the bare figures do not speak for n8n, other tools are already further ahead here.
But n8n also offers HTTP requests. This makes it possible to connect to other applications. In addition, n8n encourages users to develop their own apps, so-called nodes.
Pricing from n8n
Hosted locally or in the desktop app, n8n is free. If you prefer the cloud version, the following picture emerges:
A clear and lean price table with three different packages. The workflow executions are decisive here. An execution is counted as soon as a workflow has run through. This is not to be confused with operations in Make. These refer to a single process step.
Another limitation is the number of active workflows. That's it, no more complicated distinctions. If you want to try out n8n in advance, you can do so with a 30-day trial version.
So N8n's pricing is no surprise but fair in our eyes. With 5,000 workflow executions per month, you can go a long way. What we miss, however, are small intermediate steps: Similar to Make, flexible add-ons could extend the packages. Start here with n8n.
Top features n8n
Only open source solution in our iPaaS comparison
Community Support offers quick solutions
Self-hosted in full free of charge
iPaaS comparison #4: tray.io
tray.io is also included in the Gartner Enterprise iPaaS comparison. There, the iPaaS tool is classified as a "Challenger". However, Gartner criticises the completeness of the vision. Tray.io itself says that the platform is valued by enterprises and fast-growing companies. We can definitely see this focus.
Usability of tray.io in iPaas comparison
For this iPaaS comparison, we clicked through the free trial of tray.io and were able to get a first impression of the platform. Admittedly, this is pretty good. Immediately upon registration, a distinction is made between the personal and organisational workspace. In addition, numerous other workspaces can be created and given the appropriate purpose. For example, the structure can be set up along the organisational structure.
In addition, you can expect some tutorials to introduce you to tray.io. This way you can not only acquire the necessary knowledge yourself, but also the training for team members is easier if tray.io is to be used by many people.
Overall, the design and interface are kept very simple and modern, which provides a lot of clarity and overview. In addition to your workflows, you can access a kind of dashboard via Analytics. However, we would like to see more impressions here.
If you create a new workflow, you can expect a modular interface with drag & drop function that allows you to move connectors, format data and design the workflow as you wish. Filters, branches and functions are of course included.
We are also impressed by the many additional helpers and modules: Crypto Helper, Data Mapper, Date & Time Helper, Encryption Helper, Logic Helper, Math Helper, PDF Helper, Randomizer, XML Helpers, ZIP Files, Text Helper and many more open up countless possibilities for formatting and using data.
However, there are deductions for the usability of tray.io in the intuitive configuration of the modules and connectors. As beginners, we feel that other iPaaS tools in this comparison, such as Zapier, take us by the hand more.
In short, tray.io supports over 500 applications and if a connector is not available, you can simply configure one of tray.io's universal API, database or file connectors. This sounds really simple. In practice, this is done through GraphQL APIs, SOAP APIs or via HTTP requests. In addition, as with all the other tools in this iPaaS comparison, you can also connect triggers via Webhook and thus also use those apps that are not yet supported by tray.io.
Tray.io offers an unlimited number of users and connectors in each price package. Unlike n8n or Make, however, these packages are not simply graded according to volume, but also offer different functionalities. For example, the cheapest package does not include the above-mentioned custom connectors, which are only available from the second package onwards.
Nevertheless, the number of workflows also plays a role. Because there are also limits per package. It is not clear exactly what these limits are. A note "Workflows priced by volume" and a hint in the FAQ are all.
The breakdown of the price packages shows how much value tray.io places on data security and compliance. The Professional package includes HIPAA compliance (a US decree that regulates that companies working with protected health information must implement physical, network and process security measures), legal audits, SAML 2.0 SSO, security audits or a customised service level agreement.
In general, the pricing again shows the focus on enterprise companies. It starts at $695 per month and is $2,450 in the most popular package. In this iPaaS comparison, tray.io is the most expensive tool, but unlimited users and connectors are a very relevant point for larger companies.
Top features tray.io
Strong focus on enterprise companies
Extensive data formatting and Pyhton and JS code extension
Clear and modern interface with helpful workspaces
iPaaS Comparison #5: Zapier
Zapier is something of a trailblazer for many of the previously mentioned tools in this iPaaS comparison. This is because Zapier has a huge outreach and has promoted the topic of cloud automation steadily over the last few years. So Zapier's thoughtful and impressive marketing is paying off. But competitors have long since emerged from the shadows, including Make and n8n. You can find an intensive comparison between Zapier and Makehere.
The US company focuses particularly on the sheer number of supported apps. Read more about this under Zapier connectivity. If you want to learn more about Zapier in detail or are looking for support, please contact us.
Usability of Zapier
Zapier focuses on simplicity. So it's really very easy to get familiar with the automation platform. You are guided through the process step by step and always know what to do. Zapier also offers test data. So you can always see which fields or information are being processed. This makes developing new Zaps really easy.
Zapier stands out somewhat in this iPaaS comparison. Zapier is the only tool that uses a linear process structure. Zapier calls these "zaps". Conditions or branches are also possible. But if you want to exchange a step later, you have to delete all the following steps first. Zapier lacks modularity here.
For us, Zapier is one of the tools that meets the requirements of no code or low code. It is so beginner-friendly that you can automate digital processes quickly and efficiently without any previous experience or programming knowledge.
Connectivity of Zapier in iPaaS comparison
We've already hinted at it: Zapier comes through the masses. More than 3,000 apps are now supported. Not so long ago, we remember 1,500 apps. So the growth is rapid. This is another reason why Zapier could be considered one of the best-known tools in this iPaaS comparison.
But of course Zapier also offers further integrations via HTTP requests and webhooks. In this way, apps that have not yet been supported can also be connected.
If you want to add an app, or perhaps your own app, to Zapier's platform, you can also do so via Zapier's developer platform. There you can add triggers and actions that will be launched.
There's not much more to say about Zapier's connectivity, because in this iPaaS comparison Zapier is the clear front-runner.
Pricing from Zapier
Zapier offers a free version, as do Make and n8n (if you host yourself). However, this free version is really narrow: you can only create a maximum of 5 zaps, i.e. processes, and on top of that these are only so-called "single-step zaps". These are processes with one trigger and one action. Nothing more.
The Free Version is therefore suitable for almost no one. The Starter version with 19.99 USD per month offers more functions, but we recommend the Professional version for 49 USD to most of our customers. For comparison: At Make, we usually recommend the Standard package for 29$, and at n8n you will probably get further with the Start package for 20€ than with Zapier's Starter package.
Another cost factor: if you reach your monthly limit of zaps, they have to be rebooked for 2 cents per zap. Depending on your needs, this can be really expensive. We find Make rebooking for 9 USD flat more user-friendly.
Top Features Zapier
Extremely beginner-friendly usability
By far the most supported apps
Pioneering the topic of cloud automation
Conclusion for the iPaaS comparison 2022
The tools presented cannot be compared 1:1. Zapier, Make and n8n focus (so far) particularly on individuals and small businesses that value a low price for the greatest possible benefit. Tray.io and workato push large companies and corporations, which is reflected not only in pricing but also in compliance and data protection.
However, our comparison also shows how fragmented the young market is. No tool can clearly stand out from the others or is the clear market leader. On the contrary, new players, such as n8n, are entering the market and creating even more competition. As a result, numerous tools can be compared with each other, but they are also more or less specialised.
In our daily work as an automation agency, however, we currently prefer to use Make. The price-performance ratio is right, it offers comprehensive functions to map even complex processes and meets most data protection and compliance requirements. Here you can start with Make for free and get an impression yourself.
Zapier is a bit more beginner-friendly, but in our eyes it reaches the limits of complex processes too quickly and quickly becomes expensive. In our view, Workato is a really mature iPaaS solution and probably the go-to tool especially for large and very large companies.
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.