There are at least 11 more integration tools like Mulesoft, but they are not all the same. Therefore, we will highlight the differences between the system integration tools available in this article. To get you quickly up to speed with this new trend.
Here's a clickable list of all 12 integration tools.
The difference between MarTech tools and System Integration tools
Let’s get the basics straight. Your company uses marketing technology software, each covering different “jobs to be done” in marketing, such as lead management, sales automation, Digital Asset Management, workflow management, dashboarding and the like.
The challenge is that all those tools are concerned with different snippets of customer data or collaboration, and they are used by different teams. The various tools and teams come in contact with each other, every minute, throughout the year.
This is where system integration tools come into play. They enable you to gain an overview of the disparate customer data sitting in multiple isolated platforms and tools. They also allow for building automated workflows that better serve collaboration in teams, and they’ll let you manage your entire customer experience better. When you get it right, system integration tools will certainly give you a competitive advantage.
The sooner you start integrating, the better it is for the customer experience. We present to you 12 system integration tools, so you do not have to try them all out yourself.
Two game-changing MarTech integrator triggers
Before we get in to the pros and cons of the 12 integrators, you might want to learn why this integration trend has become inescapable. Two triggers sparked the birth of integration tools in the MarTech landscape.
There is an ongoing trend that fuels this the need for integration: the number of MarTech tools is exploding. From 150 in 2011, to almost 7,000 in 2018. Look at your company. Count the number of tools. 75% of over 700 marketers estimated in a recent research that their teams work with some 2-10 tools. We’ve analyzed the MarTech stackie award submissions this year, and the data showed us that number is in fact much larger. In 2017, on average 25.2 tools make up a MarTech stack. In 2018 that number increased quite drastically to 32.4 tools.
Another trend that triggers the increased popularity of integration tools is specialization. The new SaaS tools do not seek to become the next marketing enterprise platform. “Au contraire”. They seek a niche and make sure they bring a supreme user experience to a specific B2B tasks like budgeting, dashboarding, task management, lead nurturing, social, etc. The MarTech Supergraphic shows over 40 tool categories.
Two routes towards MarTech Nirvana
The B2C-like intuitiveness of the new MarTech tools is solving one huge problem software suites have been battling with: poor adoption. The focus of enterprise software suites has mainly been at one end of the stick: create the much needed integrated view on the company and customer data. Implementing the enterprise platform would automatically break down the silos, was the common believe. The integrated view was the need of the manager, who had to report to the board.
Almost as an act of defiance, the new MarTech tools started from the other end of the stick, the need of the teams. In the end, the teams are the ones using the tools on a daily basis. They focus on ease of use and superior customer experiences. They are feeling the frustrations caused by the manager’s top-down approach. It is the teams who really drove the MarTech wave, fueled and empowered by the agile wave.
The new kid on the block, the "low risk, low price" business model
At breakneck speed the user-friendliness of B2B tools is approaching that of B2C tools and apps on your smartphone. The new SaaS tools come with ‘low risk, low price’ models. It allows teams to purchase and use their own tools. It bypassed the “not-invented here” syndrome that Enterprise suites face. Consequently, we see rapid adoption of the new tools across different teams of the same organization.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to run into competing tools in different teams of the same organization. Say Trello is used in Corporate Marketing, while Rally runs in the Product team and Asana works best for the Customer Service department. Adoption is high, but it comes with a price: data is not shared, much to the dismay of the managers.
New MarTech tools solved the problem of adoption, but another problem has been created: disparate data. We still have the silos problem, right? Well, that is where system integration tools come in. And they bring the same B2C-like experience to the table as the new MarTech tools. In fact, it is so easy (they have to be!) to work with these system integration tools that no onboarding is required. Sometimes it is just as simple as “drag and drop” to connect data and tools.
Does this disqualify the Software Suites? Not at all. They have been busy too. The suites created their own native integrations, often referred to as App Clouds, like the one of Salesforce AppExchange (2005), SAP HANA App Center (2012) and Oracle Cloud Platform (2016). They created platforms to build, deploy, integrate and extend applications in the cloud.
The two routes are not mutually exclusive. We see hybrids too. Some SaaS tools offering native integrations too, in addition to their System Integrator integration. Just look for the words ‘integrations’, ‘connections’ or ‘connectors’ on their websites and you will find impressive app libraries, like the ones of Hubspot, Trello, Slack to name a few. Vice versa, we see Salesforce acquiring Mulesoft.
The MarTech Disruption, the Power Shift, and Democratizing MarTech
What does this all mean for the users? A huge power shift is on its way. The ease of use enables marketers to become ‘system integrators’ themselves, without having to know how to code like a developer. As the CEO of IFTTT puts it:
The fact that marketers now have got developer superpowers, results in the shift of power from IT, to marketing technologists, to everyone. That is a quite fundamental and hard to underestimate development in MarTech. The ‘Marketing’ side of MarTech swallows the 'Technology' side.No surprise it was a big topic at the last MarTech conference.
“People who are not experts in a particular discipline — such as data analysis, data science, software development, systems integration, etc. — but who are able to wield a new generation of tools to accomplish tasks in those disciplines as if they were experts.”
How does democratized MarTech look like? Here are some example templates from the 12 tool integrators we are about to feature. The possibilities are infinite...
12 System integration tools in one list
As daily practitioners in this system integration trend, we present to you 12 tools from which you can handpick your favorites, to start integrating your MarTech stack. Power to you, the user! Check out our list below and try out one or two integrators.
Experience how quickly you can show results to your manager and team by replacing that painstaking spreadsheet copy and paste job, by a real time integration! Ready to impress your manager with a slick cross-silo report or workflow? Go for it!
The results you can get from just one hour of fiddling with integration tools are amazing. We strongly urge you to do so. Check out the list and watch an introduction video. Explore the tools below and start stacking and hacking. Don’t worry, they are all very user friendly. Most offer examples and templates for you to copy. Just to get you started and inspired.
The principles are always the same. At minimum, you’ll need two tools you already have an login account for. The integration tools will ask you to connect only once. The connection process is nothing more than clicking “Allow”, and your tool will be ready to exchange particular data with other connected tools over the integration tool. Here are some random examples of how to connect your tool to the integration tool.
Note for the advanced user: If you want to start building custom APIs, start at number 10, Azuqua, and beyond. API management capabilities cover the API lifecycle, enabling organizations to create, publish, and manage APIs on-premises or in the cloud.
For each integration tool, we listed when the company was founded, where it’s located, number of employees, the name of the integration entity, price, library to date, and a description.
Description: For consumer. Of all the system integrators, IFTTT has the most focus on services that help consumers. IFTTT offers a very easy 6-step Wizard that helps you to connect the apps you want to connect. If you quickly want to get an idea of how easy system integrators work, try this one. IFTTT offers a wide variety of consumer solutions like apps for turning off the light and baby apps. Some example apps.
Automatically save Facebook images to your Google Drive.
Automatically receive an alert if someone follows you on Twitter.
Description: For business. Zapier helps with both integrating customer data and collaborative workflows. Zapier is the most widely used tool to use when automating company workflows. The Multi-Step Zap is a truly powerful (paid) feature. In the startup scene, expert users use it to create MVPs. We have built 18-step zaps that perform seamlessly. The wizards help you through the process. You can also you tailor a template from the huge zap Library to date. The Task History shows you the status of your zap and what to fix, immediately. Collaborating in teams on the same zaps is also a paid feature.
Description: Integromat allows for simple drag and drop integrations, as well as more sophisticated tree-like fork and filters. The wizard is easy to use and is very intuitive. The wizard literally takes you through each and every step and detail. The statistics help you track the usage at every step of your integrations.
Description: Focused on web developers and small and medium businesses. OneSaas offers a very easy 5 step wizard to create integrations between two tools. You can run reports on the integrations and see the data.
Description: Focus on Marketing, Sales, E-commerce and Internal Processes. Put your business|on autopilot, is their slogan. Automate offers a very easy to use wizard to connect two apps. Multi steps are available. Forks are not offered as an option.
Description: Microsoft Flow is tightly integrated with MS Office365 and MS SharePoint, but not limited to MS apps only. You can easily create a Flow containing non-Microsoft tools like Dropbox with Drive. Flow offers an easy step-by-step wizard, which helps you in case your Flow goes off the rails. Microsoft Flow allows for Multi-step Flows. Great statistics to track how your Flow is doing over time. You also can work in teams. Like IFTTT, Microsoft Flow comes also with a Mobile app on your cell phone.
Description: Blendr allows you to connect customer data and process it. It also allows for predictive segmentation and product recommendations, since it included services like Amazon Machine Learning. The Blendr wizard enables you to start from scratch, but you can also use templates geared toward data synchronization, data enrichment, compliance (GDPR), big data and BI and advertising. Some technical knowledge comes in handy.
Description: For business. Both Customer data and workflows. Tray.io is a powerful tool with a lot of possibilities. In some areas you can use code, which might make it more complex. You can add your team members' accounts to a Tray team with a shared subscription and shared billing.
Description: For business. Azuqua supports with with both integrating customer data and team workflows. It is a very powerful tool due to its sophisticated workflows and data flows. Azuqua allows for multi step Flo’s with fine grained actions and filters. You can also build custom API connectors.
Description: The Free Trial allows you to explore the Design Center. With MuleSoft you to build and deploy own APIs. We would say that if you are a marketer who works closely with the IT team, please use this platform. MuleSoft covers Financial services, Government, Healthcare, Higher education, Insurance, Manufacturing, Media, Retail and Telecommunications.If you use this platform, the world is yours, in theory, but you really need to immerse yourself. Connecting tools to MuleSoft requires some elaborate authentication approvals. You can build and manage custom built APIs with MuleSoft.