No Code is an approach that wants to make it possible for everyone, regardless of whether they have programming skills or not, to develop digital apps, websites, processes or integrations quickly and easily. The trend is on everyone's lips right now and for almost every requirement there is (not only) a suitable tool that wants to help users make developments come true.
One scene that has successfully joined this trend for some time is the cloud automation scene. No Code Automation tools have been around for a few years now and more and more are coming out with better and better features. Not sure what cloud automation means? Or getting confused with the terms? We explain here what Cloud Automation, iPaaS and BPA actually are and how they are related.
This post is not so much about explaining the technology behind it, but about 4 tools in themselves: Airtable, Make, Zapier and Power Automate. All 4 No Code Automation platforms have different advantages and features, which we would like to introduce and compare. Let's start with Airtable.
Airtable should not be missing from this list. This may come as a surprise to some, as Airtable is actually a business software that combines databases and spreadsheets. The tool impresses with its ease of use, flexible functions and views and last but not least, and that is why we are listing it here, with its extensive integrations. Wondering what exactly Airtable is? Read it here.
Clearly, the primary function of Airtable is to set up tables and create relational databases. The tool can even be used as a backend for websites and thus be used as a CMS. But with the integrated automation functions, many more requirements for your data can be fulfilled. For example, an event in Airtable, GSuite, Microsoft365 or other apps can be linked to a subsequent action via a trigger. All this without a single line of code. In our eyes, this is a highly underestimated no-code automation tool.
Make vis an iPaaS tool(wondering what iPaaS is? This way) that connects your favourite cloud apps through an intuitive and modular interface. The goal is to create an automated workflow without (much) code that takes care of small tasks for you. Make enables much more complex integrations than Airtable, for example. With hundreds of supported apps, webhooks or HTTP requests, the no-code automation tool gets more out of your data without any programming knowledge.
We love Make for the countless functions, the simple process structure that still allows for complex scenarios and the stability of the resulting automations. With the free version, you can also try out the tool and find scenarios from the Make templates that suit you, your requirements and the apps you use. With our affiliate link, you also get your first month in the Basic package for free.
Zapier is truly no surprise among these no-code automation tools. The American iPaaS software knows how to market and is now well known in the scene. If you're looking for a tool that provides an easy entry into the world of cloud automation and integrates smaller workflows quickly and easily without requiring complex code, Zapier is your choice.
Zapier can connect your apps and integrate data to create a more systematic, linear workflow and help you get more organised. Zapier has a huge number of supported apps (now over 3000) and is easy to use without many barriers to entry. Plus, there's a huge selection of pre-built templates that connect your preferred apps.
Zapier is a great entry-level no-code automation tool that lets you automate small workflows in no time.
Power Automate is the No Code Automation tool by and for Microsoft. Best of all, the tool is included in your Office365 licence (perhaps without you even knowing it). Power Automate delivers what it promises: getting more out of the Microsoft Cloud without a piece of code. Of course, the Microsoft environment is also supported by the previously presented tools, but Power Automate offers even more functions. So the tool is an optimal choice if you move (almost) exclusively in the Microsoft world and already have a 365 licence anyway.
Of course, the whole No Code trend thrives on making development accessible to more people, no matter what their background. We love this approach and hope to see much more happening in the scene. Nevertheless, for complex and comprehensive integrations, we recommend code experience sooner or later.
In our experience, this is recommended at the latest when an unknown error message is thrown up in Zapier or Make. No-code automation tools are wonderful for a start, but if more people than just yourself are to benefit from the integrations, it is worth contacting professionals. We are happy to support you in uncovering potentials, illuminating possibilities and implementing automation.
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.
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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.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
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.