Cloud Integration

Cloud Integration

Cloud integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA... Phew, it's hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently frequently (and increasingly) used in the context of automation and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear demarcation and distinction. We have already written blogposts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we will nevertheless briefly mention them again here to clarify the difference.

But let's start with cloud integration, because that is the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blogpost.

What Does Cloud Integration Mean?

Integration means that data, applications or software do not stand alone, but are connected with other data, applications or software and thus integrated. The keyword 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 an integration that transfers and integrates data and information in the cloud. Cloud technologies are currently the hot trend and can be seen everywhere. Cloud applications complement or replace the previously widespread local data storage and data centers.  

The advantage: information stored in the cloud can be accessed regardless of time and place, is always available in real time, thus enabling a high degree of collaboration and does not require any complex installations or requirements of the end devices used.

Advantages of Cloud Integration

The benefits of cloud integration are closely related to the benefits of cloud applications themselves. Because data and information that are integrated in the cloud,  

Are available in real time

Can be accessed from almost anywhere

Reduce potential sources of error due to multiple entry of the same data

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 dealt with here is the data of a major client. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is needed in numerous but completely different processes in the company: On the one hand, for correct invoicing in the accounting department. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the major customer are also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example when employees travel to a sales meeting on site.  

Now the customer informs you that the address of the company has changed following a move. This information reaches you by e-mail. There are now two options:

  1. The email is forwarded to all departments concerned, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing.... Everyone opens their respective program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and changes the customer's data already stored there. This means that in several applications different people do exactly the same thing: change an address.
  1. But there is also an alternative: by connecting your applications, i.e. integrating them, the customer's email, or rather the information it contains about the change of address, is automatically forwarded to all the applications concerned: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration recognizes a trigger, namely a change of address, and thus automatically starts the process.

What sounds unimpressive for a single process gains impact when such a process happens several times a day or week. This is because there is a large amount 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.  

However, cloud integration does not just happen. There are now a large number of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually enable us to link the relevant cloud applications used with each other on a central platform and to define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data is to be transferred and what happens with it.  

iPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC - Who Can Still Keep Track of Them All?

To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used synonymously.  

We have drawn a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.

We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.

Here again is the short version:


Means both a software that is cloud-based, but also an entire business model

SaaS tools are characterized by the fact that they are cloud-based and can often be individually adapted to requirements via a subscription model with different packages

The advantage of a SaaS tool lies in particular in the fact that there are no complex on-site installations, but the applications can be used in the browser.

SaaS tools are available for almost all business areas: Project management, HR, ERP, marketing, accounting, task management, communication and many more.


Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) provide a central console to manage, control and integrate cloud-based applications.

IPaaS is a technology that can realize Cloud Integration by linking applications

IPaaS is highly scalable in that, on the one hand, it works with SaaS tools that often allow for easy upgrading and the processes mapped in them run stably regardless of the amount of data transferred

Processes are defined, mapped and thus also optimized


BPA (Business Process Automation) is an extension of iPaaS. IPaaS classically has no message-based middleware. However, companies often need this middleware in order to use web services or the JSON format (JavaScript Object Notation) in processes.

Even though many iPaaS providers (such as Zapier or Make) now offer corresponding functions, iPaaS does not have any application-based middleware per se.

The transition from iPaaS to BPA is fluid and both terms are often used for the same thing

In short, cloud BPA is an iPaaS, but with the addition of a visual interface and complex cloud-based middleware systems.

Cloud Integration Cannot Work without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA

Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and also requires them. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by the corresponding technologies.

However, all concepts share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. They are also often cheaper to implement and maintain, as changing requirements are easy to implement.

As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. In doing so, we draw on a wide range of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking, actually BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.

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