Operations teams often spend valuable development time on data migration, grappling with new tools or dealing with software vendors. Low-code integration platforms eliminate or streamline these tasks — for more effective digital enablement within organizations.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how low-code API integration platforms can help your operations team achieve better efficiency. We’ll also share our picks for the five best low-code and no-code integration platforms.
What Is a Low-Code Integration Platform?
A growing business implements software across marketing, sales, analytics, data management, and so on to automate manual processes. As you gather data, these apps become an integral part of your team’s daily work — but they typically function in silos.
You can further automate your operations by allowing these apps to share or sync data via SaaS integration platforms or data automation tools. This removes the need to manually update data or manually create data migration workflows. In addition, it gives you new ways to view your data, so you can analyze it and gain new insights.
Using a visual approach, low-code and no-code API integration platforms allow you to connect multiple applications, so you can do more with your existing software and available data.
Why use low-code data integration platforms
- Get more from your current software: Optimize workflows and storage by visualizing the data flowing between the various software products you use.
- Enable team members to do more: Allow non-technical team members, business users, and business owners to use existing apps to perform or automate more tasks.
- Work with more flexibility: Compared with no-code integration tools, low-code platforms give professional developers more customization and control options.
- Prototype more quickly: Low-code integrations provide agility, as they reduce development time and allow teams to test software use cases, analyze new data sources, and experiment with operational workflows.
- Increase accessibility: Low-code data integration tools make working with data and APIs accessible for non-technical workers, allowing for DIY setup and troubleshooting.
Low-code integration vs. low-code development platforms
Low-code development platforms provide a visual environment in which to build and launch web or mobile apps. Their drag-and-drop functionality lets you publish apps in less time and at a lower cost than traditional application development methods.
For example, you can use an app builder such as Bubble, Webflow, Google AppSheet, or Softr to launch commercial web applications or internal tools without code.
Low-code integration tools help you connect, and share data between, existing software without requiring that you manually work on APIs or learn new programming languages. They remove the need to build apps or integrations — allowing you to connect two or more software tools simply by visually designing the workflow.
For example, you can use Whalesync, Hightouch, Zapier, or Make to connect apps and automate tasks.
When to choose low-code integration and low-code development
Choose low-code development to test a custom development concept or custom workflow logic that your business aims to implement. It’s ideal for making standalone commercial applications or custom internal tools at a low cost.
But with low-code integration, you can avoid having to learn how to use low-code or no-code development tools and APIs altogether. It’s great for automating manual tasks or syncing data in real time without the need for software development or purchasing additional business apps. Non-technical end users don’t have to learn new tools to do their work.
Also, low-code and no-code development tools tend to make migration difficult. But with low-code integration, your business is not restricted to a single software tool. Migrating to other apps or simply designing new sync or automation workflows is easy.
Types of Low-Code Integration Tools
There are three types of low-code integration tools to choose from; the right type for you depends on your requirements:
ETL (extract, transform, load)
ETL (extract, transform, load) tools consolidate data from various sources in a central repository, where it is cleaned, organized, and made ready for storage, analytics, and machine learning. This makes the data actionable and ready to meet specific business intelligence needs.
ETL facilitates one-way data movement by connecting apps to a target destination or data warehouse. It requires the expertise of developers and data analysts to implement.
For example, with ETL tools like Fivetran or Hightouch, marketing teams can merge CRM data with customer feedback from social media platforms to analyze consumer behavior.
Data synchronization tools facilitate real-time data sharing among multiple applications, enabling the creation of new workflows, apps, and collaborative efforts while ensuring data accuracy.
These tools facilitate two-way data movement between apps. What’s especially great is that they are accessible to people who don’t know how to code. With data synchronization tools, you don’t need to learn how to work with custom APIs.
For example, adding a data sync tool like Whalesync to your tech stack would allow your RevOps team to build internal tools that connect deal notes in Notion or Airtable with your HubSpot or Affinity CRM platform.
Automation tools provide a visual interface for sharing data by defining workflows that trigger actions based on specified events.
Automation facilitates one-way data movement for specific use cases or processes. Since it doesn’t require any knowledge of code or APIs, non-technical professionals can use low-code and no-code automation for various process management tasks.
For example, using an automation tool like Zapier or Make, you can automate sending data from a lead-generation form (such as one created with Typeform, Google Forms, or Jotform) to the email platform of your choice (such as Mailchimp or Loops).
Low-Code Integration Use Cases
Three primary use cases demonstrate how to implement low-code integration platforms:
Data warehousing is the consolidation and structuring of raw data from multiple sources in order to perform many business intelligence tasks, such as making reports, visualization, data analysis, and querying. Low-code integration tools make it easy to capture raw data and share it to your choice of data warehouse or analytics software — without coding or working with complex APIs.
Low-code and no-code integrations enable data warehousing as follows:
- Consolidation: They obtain siloed data from various software tools that may have complex integration procedures.
- Data accuracy: They ensure data accuracy and consistency by replacing manual and error-prone data integration methods.
- Providing a single source of truth: They automate the data flow from software and make the data accessible to organizations, including non-technical staff.
Low-code integration platforms remove the need to build custom software for internal organizational workflows. They provide the necessary visualization dashboard for automating repetitive tasks and optimizing a company’s internal processes.
Situations where you might use low-code integration platforms to build internal tools include:
- Building wikis: Use data integration tools to consolidate information in real-time to build and update employee wikis or project briefs.
- Syncing support tickets: Use data sync tools to capture customer support ticket information from chatbots and pass the data to your support ticketing platform or assign the ticket to a relevant team.
- Documentation: Create a document management system to create, update, approve, or manage various company-related documents.
Low-code integration platforms help you activate captured data by making it more readily available for analysis, storage, apps, or workflows. This can allow you to make strategic business decisions in real time.
Typical workflow examples for using low-code integration for data activation include:
- Work order alerts: Set up real-time work order alerts for a field service management business by capturing work order data. Instantly assign the job to the relevant field service technician.
- Dynamic pricing: E-commerce platforms can use real-time market data to dynamically update their product pricing without purchasing any specialized plugins or software.
- Real-time visibility: Provide customers with real-time updates about product shipments, or allow team members to track project progress remotely.
5 Best Low Code Integration Platforms in 2023
We have curated this list of the five best low-code integration platforms to get started with in your business:
Whalesync is a data synchronization tool that connects apps and enables two-way syncing between them. It’s a perfect tool if you’re looking to implement workflows that require real-time data syncing or if your workflows frequently need data updating.
For example, you can enable cross-team collaboration and alignment by syncing data for the tools that the teams frequently use.
Type: Data synchronization platform
- Multi-reference fields: You can add rich text, images, formulas, bar codes, and much more.
- Sync logs: Whalesync instantly syncs data in a few seconds, enabling real-time use cases. You can track sync logs for any tests or troubleshooting. If the data fails to sync, Whalesync will show an error message and alert your team, without disrupting error-free syncs.
- Connectors: Whalesync constantly updates the software apps it supports across e-commerce, databases, project management, CRM, spreadsheets, and much more.
Pricing: The Project plan with 1,000 records starts at $29 per month and scales up as record count increases. The Startup plan, which starts at $79 per month, is great for building internal tools.
Hightouch is a no-code data-activation platform powered by reverse ETL. It helps non-technical team members — such as executives, or sales, marketing, or customer support staff — to leverage customer data for better business decisions and outcomes.
- Collect data: Data collection on the client side and server side with enterprise level security.
- Prepare data: Customer 360 toolkits to enrich, clean, and organize data so that it can be sent to the data warehouse.
- Activate data: You can synchronize data to your chosen SaaS tools using SQL without using CSVs or APIs. Hightouch can also help provide personalization and real-time experiences to customers from your data warehouse.
Type: ETL platform
Pricing: Includes a free trial with limited features. The basic plan starts at $350 per month and includes a 30-day free trial.
Hevo is a data pipeline platform that helps you integrate data from multiple sources into a data warehouse for further analysis, without using any code. It can automate workflows, from combining data to taking action from the insights drawn by its analysis.
Type: ETL platform
- Data security: Provides secure connection options like VPN, SSH, and reverse SSH, along with end-to-end encryption.
- Fault alerts: Hevo promises no data loss, 99.9% uptime, and system alerts in case of errors.
- Data compliance: Hevo is HIPAA, SOC 2, GDPR, and CCPA-compliant data pipeline software.
Pricing: The free plan includes one million events and 50 connectors. The basic plan starts at $239 per month for five million events and 150 connectors.
Prequel is an integration platform as a service that helps your brand launch data syncing as a feature for your customers. It enables you to sell data warehouse exporting as a service, thus improving your revenue and increasing offers for enterprise upselling.
Type: native ETL solution
- Import or sync: Prequel can work on data from your customer’s data warehouse or sync data to your customer’s data warehouse.
- Supports self-hosting: Prequel allows deploying effectively via Terraform, hosting behind your VPN and VPC.
- Data compliance: Prequel is SOC 2 Type II compliant and certified. It also provides full encryption and doesn’t store data on its servers.
Pricing: Book a demo to learn more about their pricing tiers.
Type: ETL platform
Dattado is a data integration tool that connects data from cloud-based apps to dashboards, data lakes, and data warehouses, to perform ETL or reverse ETL operations. The platform adheres to data compliance standards worldwide, encompassing ISO 27001, LGPD for Brazil, GDPR for Europe, POPIA for South Africa, and HIPAA and CCPA for the United States.
- Headless data integration: Allows you to build your own data products using the Dataddo API.
- Data to dashboards: Allows you to sync data from multiple sources to dashboard apps like Data Studio, Microsoft Power Apps, and Tableau.
- Data storage: Allows storing historical data without a warehouse via its embedded SmartCache storage. It also allows data backups and migration.
Pricing: The free plan includes three data flows. Other plans’ prices are based on your business use case and scale: Data to Dashboards and Data Anywhere plans start at $129 per month. Paid plans include a 14-day free trial.
How to Use Low-Code Integration in Your Business
It’s wise to determine the feasibility of low-code integration solutions for your business use case before jumping to traditional development, a low-code platform, or a no-code platform. Use mind mapping to plan and design your workflows and data flows within them, as this will help you choose the right type of low-code API integration platform.
For your two-way data synchronization needs, Whalesync provides a simple user interface for syncing apps with a few steps — all without code.