No matter what industry you work in, SaaS products are almost certainly part of your tech stack. Today, businesses use more 130 SaaS applications on average to streamline their functions — an increase of 18% since 2021.
Merely having SaaS tools will take you only so far, though. To truly unlock these tools’ potential, you need to make sure they have a way to “speak” to one another. And that’s where SaaS integration comes in.
SaaS integration helps you build meaningful connections between different SaaS products, so they can exchange data and operate in a well-integrated workflow. This translates to greater efficiency in the ways you serve your customers — a non-negotiable as you expand your customer base and their expectations of you increase.
Let’s take a closer look at how SaaS integration works and how SaaS integration platforms can improve your work processes.
What is SaaS integration?
SaaS integration refers to the automatic transfer of data from one SaaS application to another. That is, an action taken in one application automatically triggers a corresponding action in the other, without any manual intervention needed.
As an example, let’s say you run an e-commerce store on Shopify, and you run your email marketing on Mailchimp. If the two applications are connected via SaaS integration, every time a customer places an order via the Shopify storefront, that action will trigger Mailchimp to send the customer an email confirming their order.
What is a SaaS integration platform?
A SaaS integration platform connects one SaaS product with another through an application programming interface (API). Also known as an integrated platform as a service (iPaaS), a SaaS integration platform lets you build low-code or no-code workflows to exchange data between the various on-prem and cloud SaaS applications your team uses. Essentially, it removes the need for a developer to set up a native integration, making getting started and driving results easier.
SaaS integration benefits
Over the past decade, SaaS integration platforms have been steadily gaining in popularity, and for good reason. Let’s talk about some of the key benefits of investing in one:
Breaks down silos
SaaS integration platforms connect previously disjointed SaaS apps, creating a unified workflow that helps everyone on the team stay in sync. From DevOps to customer support to accounting, any department that needs to be in the loop can stay in the loop without having to send back-and-forth emails or worry about things being done in duplicate. This facilitates better real-time collaboration and higher productivity.
Saves your team time
With a SaaS integration platform, your team no longer has to re-enter data across SaaS apps or search manually for data points. Everything is automatically synced and recorded, which leaves your team free to focus on the business-critical stuff.
Enables your team to use best-in-class tools
A SaaS integration platform opens up new possibilities in terms of the SaaS tools you can use. Most platforms have built-in SaaS integrations for a large number of apps across many functions, some of which you may not know about. After browsing the list of integrations, you might decide to add new tools or replace existing ones, further boosting your efficiency across the board.
So let’s say you’re using Airtable for project management and Shopify for e-commerce. You decide to go with Whalesync as your SaaS integration platform to connect the two and organize your product list better. But then, as you browse Whalesync’s list of connectors, you discover Notion. It’s a fantastic SaaS application for creating and organizing documents, and you decide to invest in it as your content marketing and blogging hub. Now you have an extra SaaS product to streamline your content function — and with Whalesync, you can set up SaaS integration between Airtable and Notion for easy data exchange.
SaaS integration challenges
Without a platform, data integration can present challenges. Here are some of the most common ones:
Requires expensive engineering time to build
Setting up the necessary SaaS integrations between different tools can take time and may require more expertise than your team members have. Plus, to link up certain types of on-prem apps and external B2B partners with your cloud SaaS tools, you may need a developer to set up a custom in-house integration. This can be extremely time-consuming, not to mention costly — and in the meantime, data integration backlogs could continue to build up.
Difficult to maintain as APIs change
SaaS software APIs are regularly updated to enhance security and expand the software’s capabilities. Which is great for the individual piece of software — but it could affect the interoperability of different SaaS products, especially those divided across cloud and on-prem environments, which could hamper your business’s overall software ecosystem.
Converting data into compatible formats can be difficult
Especially when you’re setting up SaaS integrations between on-prem and cloud applications, you’ll need to convert the data into a format that’s accepted by both kinds of environments. This takes up extra time, and there are data security risks and compliance mandates to keep in mind.
Best SaaS data integration platforms
Because of these challenges, a SaaS integration platform is your best bet for building a connected SaaS ecosystem. There are several platform options on the market — to help you pick, here’s our list of the top SaaS data integration platforms in 2023.
Our no-code data syncing tool makes it easier than ever to create a source of truth for all your SaaS tools. With just a few clicks, you can set up a bidirectional workflow between apps including Airtable, HubSpot, Webflow, and Postgres. It’s ideal for creating CRM internal tools, programmatic SEO pages, and no-code apps — and it makes cross-team collaboration a breeze. Pricing plans start at $29 per month with a two-week free trial.
Fivetran is an automated data movement platform or ETL (extract, transform, load) tool that helps you load and exchange data across a wide variety of sources and destinations. It offers a usage-based pricing model: you pay only for monthly active rows (MARs). It also has a free plan for low data volumes.
Paragon is a SaaS integration platform that offers seamless one-click integration between your SaaS tools. It offers pre-built connectors, and it works as an embedded iPaaS solution to ship native integrations seven times faster than if you were to build them in-house. There’s a free basic plan that gives you as many as three integrations, and you can reach out to them for quotes on their Pro and Enterprise plans.
Hevo lets you set up automated end-to-end data pipelines that connect data from more than 150 sources. Via its intuitive centralized platform, all your SaaS tools can work together without any manual maintenance needed. Hevo offers a free plan that gives you more than 50 selected connectors and supports as many as five users. Subsequent plans begin at $239 per month, and you can reach out to Hevo for a custom quote based on your needs.
Tray describes itself as “the only unified iPaaS to automate business processes and activate ecosystem integrations.” Its unique AI bot, Merlin, executes business processes using natural language instructions. And in addition to its low-code workflow builder, it has a code-building option that lets you set up your own SaaS integrations. Tray offers usage-based pricing for each of its three plans — you can schedule a call with them for a custom quote.
The power of integrating your SaaS applications
Integrating your SaaS tools improves your processes and workflows in many ways — including improving efficiency, saving money, and eliminating manual work (and the potential for human error). While potential challenges do exist, you can overcome them with the help of a trusted SaaS integration platform that lets you build your workflows your way.
At Whalesync, we’re proud to offer deep bidirectional syncs across the best-loved SaaS apps on the market. Get your teams on the same page and enjoy real-time collaboration like never before — all without writing a single line of code. Reach out to learn more about our SaaS data integration capabilities today.