Cloud technologies and applications have long since moved beyond trend status and are supplementing or replacing previously used local data storage and data centers. But even in the cloud age, numerous costly and time-consuming, repetitive processes run through the daily life of every company. One way of reducing such processes and saving time and money in the process is offered by cloud integration - the automation of processes. That's why iPaaS Training gets more and more important.
Cloud Integration is something few iPaaS vendors have on the training docket
Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) offerings provide the intuitive tools to automate workflows between applications without complex API programming. In this increasingly complex IT environment, it is becoming more and more important for employees not only to know the right and important tools, but also to be able to use them.
With cloud integration against application silos
Writing custom integrations to automate business processes can be quite expensive, time-consuming and error-prone. Moreover, this approach often leads to silos when each team uses a different tool to automate its own processes without knowing that the solution could help other departments in the company.
The best way to automate is to implement a cloud integration solution (e.g. Zapier or Make) that enables smooth B2B data exchange, automates common processes, reduces IT complexity and minimizes overhead throughout the process.
iPaaS for application-specific workflow automation
An iPaaS solution provides capabilities that allow users to implement data, application, API and process integration projects that span any combination of cloud and on-premise endpoints.
Typically, an iPaaS platform makes use of pre-built connectors, business rules, middleware, utilities and transformations that facilitate the creation and management of integration workflows/processes and connect multiple endpoints to work together.
iPaaS solutions can automate organizational and application-specific workflows to make business processes simpler and more efficient.
Drag & drop to automation
Workflow automation allows the customer to coordinate the flow of data between any number of applications, using logic and transformations to configure the data so that it is not just transferred from one application to another, but is automatically transformed into the correct structure or format so that the receiving application knows what to do with the data and makes it usable when it is received.
This can range from standardizing date formats to more robust transformations such as converting data types into usable formats. In other words, the ETL (extract, transform, load) process, previously performed in standalone products, becomes part of a broader integration ecosystem. Using visual user interfaces for drag-and-drop workflow creation, even non-technical employees can create automations without having to write a single line of code.
Console for control and integration of cloud-based applications
Wemakefuture defines iPaaS as a centralized console for managing, controlling and integrating cloud-based applications that accelerates company automation by integrating existing tools and increases data volume by leveraging external sources.
Companies use these tools to scale performance requirements, add product functionality, structure application integrations and automate processes. Features or data can be added or removed quickly, reducing downtime and development time.
Many iPaaS Providers - Little iPaaS Training
It's no surprise, then, that there are now a number of iPaaS platforms that help organizations migrate data, create, deploy and manage complex integrations, and automate complex sequences of workflows.
But as great as the benefits of the solutions offered are, the iPaaS training and product education offered by vendors is modest.
1. Microsoft Power Automate
Power Automate is a cloud-based system that creates automated workflows to simplify and manage business processes more effectively.
Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) focuses on Office365 apps and enables even complex automation without code. In addition, this workflow management tool includes ready-to-use templates that allow users to start automating common business processes right away, as well as recommendations on which apps can be linked and for what purpose.
For Power Automation users, Microsoft offers modules and learning paths on Power Automation, from general process automation to creating a business process flow in Power Automate to "Automating Business Process with Power Automate." With the release of the free Power Automate Desktop, Microsoft is making RPA possible for everyone.
2. Make (formerly Integromat)
Make is a tool that allows companies to automate manual processes without the need for code. Instead of using code, Make has transformed APIs into simple blocks that can be connected via drag and drop for the purpose of setting up integration and automations. Make calls these blocks "modules" and the visual connections between them "scenarios".
With Make applications can also be linked together in a simple interface and thus entire processes can be created. Via the JSON or HTTP / SOAP modules, a link to other web services can be established and automations can be realized. Make calls itself the "glue of the Internet" and helps its customers to connect apps and services.
Integromat's Help Center offers a Knowledge Base with tutorials and webinar recordings on a wide variety of topics and 12 Youtube videos on specific application areas.
n8n is an extensible workflow automation tool. With a fair-code distribution model, n8n provides visible source code for self-hosting and allows you to add your own custom functions, logic, and apps to automate repetitive tasks. n8n's node-based approach makes the solution highly versatile and allows organizations to connect anything to anything. Going beyond simple integrations, n8n allows organizations to create multi-level workflows that combine both third-party APIs and their own internal tools to create easy-to-use automations.
For support, n8n offers its customers tutorials in the form of blogposts, videos and community tutorials (how to use) and some documents on Quickstart, Key Components and Create Your First Workflow.
Kissflow is a unified digital workplace platform. The No Code platform is designed to help companies discover, create, modify, use business applications and automate business processes as a cloud-based forms automation solution.
Kissflow integrates with Google Apps and other cloud-based applications such as WebHooks and Zapier End Point using integration APIs.
Kissflow supports human resources (HR) process management, including employee onboarding, timesheet management, leave request approval, and invoice approval workflow, and provides workflow processes for purchase requisitions. However, customers are only offered extensive online documentation of its software.
Automate.io has a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface that requires no programming knowledge. The core function is the integration of cloud applications. Automate.io calls the resulting workflows "bots". Each bot has a trigger app and at least one action app.
The Trigger App defines when workflow automation should start. The Action app defines what should happen automatically in the workflow. Automate.io lets you connect HubSpot to other apps like Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Intercom, Salesforce, and favorite collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Asana, Podio, and set up automation that always keeps contact changes in sync. Automate.io connects favorite web apps and automates everyday tasks.
Automate.io does not offer any training services other than a few blog posts on automation.
Zapier scores high on ease of use, offering users a simple solution for creating workflow automations between applications. To do this, Zapier provides simple, clickable tools and more than 2,000 out-of-the-box integrations that allow organizations to link simple workflows together without in-depth programming knowledge to create fully automated workflows. Zapier calls these automated workflows "Zaps."
In its Help Center, customers can find various documents on how to use the software solution and a Get Started video. Zapier does not offer any further iPaaS training or webinars.
AppSheet provides a no-code application software development platform that allows users to build mobile, tablet and web applications using data sources such as Google Drive, DropBox, Office 365 and other cloud-based spreadsheet and database platforms. The platform can be used for a wide range of business applications, including project management, customer relationship management, field inspections and personalized reports.
Apart from a video and a "How to create an App" guide, the customer will not find any other training or educational materials at AppSheet.
Conclusion on iPaaS Training Offers
Each company uses up to 40 apps on average. With iPaaS, despite application diversity, a collaborative and integrated technical ecosystem can be created with clean and reliable data in each app. Innovative cloud integration improves agility and fluidity of data transfer and facilitates workflow automation. And with the growing trend of using multiple cloud applications, the future of iPaaS will be even more business process automation (BPA) driven than before, as the cloud offers tremendous potential for growth and scale to any business, and iPaaS seamlessly enables efficient cross-enterprise automation.
But to ensure stringent workflow automation in the cloud, employees as business users should be able to build and manage integrations and automations themselves under the guidance of the IT department. However, they won't find the skills they need to do this in sufficient numbers among iPaaS providers. This is where Automation Academies such as Bots & People step into the breach, also providing deep insight into workflow automation tools and their application in the context of cloud integration as part of their iPaaS training offering.
If you want to learn more about this topic, we highly recommend the blog of Wemakefuture.
This article is part of a three-part series intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the most important continuing education opportunities in Process Automation: Find Part 1, Part 2 & Part 4 here.