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.
What does Cloud Integration mean?
Integration means that data, applications or software do not stand alone, but are connected to other data, applications or software and thus integrated. The key word here is in particular the exchange of data, because this is the “currency” for all applications and tools.
The addition of cloud implies that we are talking about integration that transfers and integrates data and information into the cloud. Cloud technologies are currently the hot trend and can be seen everywhere. Cloud applications complement or replace previously used local datastores and data centers.
The advantage: Information stored in the cloud can be retrieved regardless of time or location, is always available in real time, thus enabling a high degree of collaboration and does not require complex installations or prerequisites of the used end devices.
Benefits of Cloud Integration
The benefits of cloud integration are closely related to the benefits of cloud applications themselves. This is because data and information that is integrated into the cloud
Is available in real time
Can be accessed from almost anywhere
Reduce potential sources of error by entering the same data multiple times
Require less installation and maintenance
Can optimize business processes
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:
- 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.
- 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.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Here the short version, again:
|Means both software, |
which is cloud-based,
as well as an entire
|Integrationplatform as a Service (iPaaS) |
provide a central console for
Management, control and
Integration of cloud-based
|BPA (Business Process Automation) is an |
extension of iPaaS.
IPaaS classically has
middleware. However, companies often need
this middleware in
order to use web
services or the
|SaaS tools are characterized by the fact that |
they are cloud-based and often work
via a subscription model with different
Packages which can be adapted individually
to the client’s requirements.
|IPaaS is a technology that achieves |
by linking applications
|Even though many iPaaS |
providers (such as Zapier or Integromat)
offer appropriate functions,
iPaaS itself does not have an application-based
|The advantage of a SaaS tool lies|
in particular in the fact that
no complex installations are
required on site, but the application is accessed
in the browser
|IPaaS is highly scalable |
in that it works with SaaS
tools that often allow
for easy upgrades and the processes mapped in
them run stably regardless of the
amount of data handed over
|The transition from iPaaS to BPA is fluid|
and both terms are often used for the
|SaaS Tools are available for almost all divisions: |
HR, ERP, Marketing, Accounting,
Communication and many more
|Processes are defined, mapped |
and thus also optimized
|In short, cloud BPA is |
an iPaaS, but with
the addition of a
visual interface and complex cloud-based middleware systems.
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.