The traditional software-licensing model is fading away for modern startups as comprehensive and flexible SaaS solutions lure in tech-savvy entrepreneurs. Within this paradigm shift, there has grown a market for services to integrate and manage your cloud services, data, and their intercommunication.
How do your services communicate with one another?
You likely have numerous cloud solutions right now.
- Paying for a site analytics dashboard?
- Have a monthly bill for a retargeting service?
- Is your Ecommerce store running on a hosted platform?
- Paying for a hosted Helpdesk?
- Running email marketing campaigns through a service?
- Using Google Drive? Dropbox? Buffer?
- Posting on ANY social media?
The connections between your apps can get complex, and fast. From a business operations perspective, you need continuity across systems; it eliminates redundant data, ensures accuracy, and allows for a consistent workflow and management of your assets.
Wether you are looking for a better way to sync your social accounts or a the solution to a complex information architecture that spans multiple services, can benefit from an integration platform.
Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS)
Integration platforms are, you guessed it, another service that allow all of your SaaS solutions to communicate with one another by passing the information through the platform, which acts as a middleman.
These services make complex connections between applications possible where there was no connectivity before by reaching out to the individual APIs, gathering the information, and recoding it for use in the other service. Where such connections would have once required advanced coding or additional plugins, now you need only to allow your integration platform to have access to each cloud service.
Below you will find:
- An overview of each service
- Best features
- Things to consider
- Some useful links
Here is a quick run-down of 5 excellent Integration Platforms and how they can save your business time, effort, and money by automating everyday, as well as complex, cloud-based business tasks.
Pricing: Free - $59/month
An powerful cloud connection service, itDuzzit is quite capable of handling your back-end data syncing. Dedicated to complex business automation, you are capable of connecting 150+ services with each other. The service uses connectors to read from and write to dozens of popular cloud applications including the biggest names in CRM, invoicing, and project management.
You can also connect to email, text/SMS, and chat applications. Don’t see your apps in the list? The Duzzit editor has developer power that can be wielded by anyone even remotely technical. You can import XML, make external API calls, text or email to trigger, and much more; all with complex logic and mathematical functions built in.
- Built for customization
- Many pre-built app connectors
- Editor allows for complex, custom integration
Things to consider
Transaction limits can cause you some headaches if you don’t set up your Duzzits correctly. As the pricing is based on the quantity of inter-app syncs, you need to try to pack as much into each Duzzit call as possible.
For creating complex custom of Duzzits you may need to check out the knowledge base to figure out what fields to include and how to best integrate solutions. You may have a hard time understanding some of the custom functionality at first, but this should give you some idea of the powerful and complex tasks you can accomplish with this service.
For logic neophytes out there, IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. This statement forms the core “recipe” of the service, in which you insert your cloud apps, logic, and desired outputs. IFTTT (pronounced ‘gift’ without the ‘g’) is one of the more user-friendly options for automating your tasks.
While not as robust in it’s direct business integrations (CRMs, Helpdesks, etc), you will find that the service is excellent at handling basic file management, social, and productivity tasks with their 120+ channels.
- Interface & user experience is excellent
- Community-driven recipes and innovation
- Productivity, social media, and communication are key focus
Things to consider
Ironically, for a solution with logic and programming undertones, IFTTT is relatively light in the web language and custom development department. Built as an end-user task automation tool, IFTTT is powerful enough to make the connections between the consumer channels that you happen to use for business as well. However, for any complex back-end data transfers or customizing the API calls, the features are lacking.
IFTTT is working on premium accounts that would include custom channels, integrations, and an API, though it is still in the works (confirmed).
Pricing: Free - $99/month
Aiming to be a hub for connecting all of your Internet services, Zapier is a complete solution out of the box. With 300+ apps and services to connect, it is the largest pool of candidate services on this list. With categories ranging from Social, to CRM, to Email marketing, you can rest assured most facets of your business will be represented.
- Lots of useful pre-made Zaps from the community
- Developer section to create and integrate your own APIs / apps
- Robust documentation and knowledge base
Things to consider
Premium apps require a paid plan and creating your own integrations may require coding knowledge. With the free plan, you can create a maximum of 5 Zaps (but have unlimited drafts and inactive Zaps).
You get 100 inter-app data transfers per month on the Free plan and you may quickly feel like you don’t have a high enough quota. Don’t worry; you can get up to 900+ tasks/month free if you refer enough people and complete their onboarding tasks (create a Zap, Share a Zap, etc).
Pricing: $100 - $500/month
Two areas that Kevy excels in are simplicity and customization. One way that they address simplicity is through the plug-and-play nature of the platform. This also allows for customization between the 30+ business app integrations, as you can implement certain fields with just a few clicks and take advantage of 5 different syncing options.
Users are able to begin sharing data between their apps in less than 10 minutes without writing a single line of code. Kevy gives customers back their time – they don’t have to worry about their data because it is running constantly behind the scenes to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date data is reflected across both systems.
- Simple, point-and-click interface
- Precise control over sync frequency
- Custom Fields and list-based information transfers
Things to consider
Service is limited based on API calls, which they refer to as “Activities”. This is anytime that you update a record or make their service take an action to keep data synchronized. To help alleviate this, Kevy’s platform is highly customizable so that you don’t need to make tons of redundant calls to get the right information.
The system allows users to customize their integration without having to deal with back-end code. You do not have to change your data to fit their integrations; rather you can customize their integrations to fit your needs.
Kevy emphasizes the importance of testimonial. Here are a few customer stories that do a good job of sharing their individual Kevy stories:
5. We Wired Web
Pricing: $10 - $50/month
We Wired Web is another excellent solution for connecting your cloud accounts. Create simple integrations using their WYSIWYG editor and 90+ apps or dive in to their “newbie-friendly” graph editor to really customize your triggers and outputs as well as design integrations for almost any SaaS service you can think of.
This editor is powerful. If you have ever used a visual programming editor that uses wires to connect components, you will love this service. With it, you are able to take pre-built modules (community submitted and house-built) and add onto them or modify their parameters with ease. You can build some insanely complex integrations this way that can tackle multiple tasks at once.
- Wired task editor
- Multiple triggers for the same end result
- Unlimited transactions (no worrying about data amounts)
Things to consider
The primary things to pay attention to are:
- Limited active tasks based on plan
- Slower refresh time on automated tasks
- Time-outs on tasks (anything that takes longer than the timeout is shut down)
Also, while We Wired Web touts itself as being for anyone (no coding required) and the editor is fairly user-friendly, you still need to be a competent techie to navigate and understand the parameters. Additionally the service is in English only, so multinational companies may have difficulty and there is no mobile browser support.
Have you used any of these integration services? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below!
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