No-code data integration platforms help system administrators and users set up integrations easily, even if they have zero API or coding skills.
Very few integration platforms are truly no-code, though: most of them are low-code or code-based. At ZigiWave, we’ve set on a mission to make integration software as simple and easy as possible, which is why we created ZigiOps, a powerful no-code data integration platform.
Additionally, many companies decide to build their own homegrown integrations, which might seem like a good idea at first, but usually ends up being much more expensive and complicated than expected.
So, what is a no-code integration platform exactly?
How can it help you facilitate cooperation between different business units and teams?
What are the limitations of the different kinds of platforms?
How can you choose the right integration vendor for your use case?
What is a no-code integration platform?
No-code integration platforms allow system administrators, ITSM, ITOM, and DevOps team members, as well as end users to connect all the enterprise software tools they’re using, simply by navigating the platform’s UI. This way, they can set up a seamless end-to-end data exchange with much less effort than using a code-based platform.
Otherwise said, no-code platforms allow you to set up, customize and scale integrations between apps with zero API or coding knowledge.
ZigiOps, our data integration platform, is fully no-code: any user can set it up and customize it via its UI.
Low-code platforms require some coding/API knowledge to use, and you also need to do preliminary research, although they remain relatively simple to set up. Code-based platforms require the knowledge and expertise of experienced developers.
What are the advantages of using a no-code integration platform like ZigiOps?
No-code integration platforms have several advantages over low-code or code-based platforms, which are mostly related to their simplicity of use, reliability, and scalability. In this section, we’ll discuss the advantages of ZigiOps, as this is the product we’ve built and are constantly working on improving; we cannot vouch for other integration platforms.
Let’s look into them.
All users can set up integrations easily, regardless of their technical background
Setting up an integration with a no-code data integration platform like ZigiOps can be really quick and intuitive, and you don’t need any experience with coding or with APIs.
For simple use cases, you can just use one of our available templates and customize it. If your use case is more complex, then you can build an integration from scratch, using the different data mapping and configuration options you have.
Our consultants are also available to advise you on the best approach to use to tackle complex integration challenges.
You don’t need to worry about system upgrades
Whenever you need to upgrade one of the software tools you’re using, you don’t need to worry about their compatibility with the integration platform, or to do any further research.
We support the newest version of each system, as soon as it’s released. We’re staying in close contact with the development and support teams of our vendors, and we’re notified of any upgrades before they’re released.
We also make our integrations backward-compatible, whenever possible, meaning that you can integrate older versions of your software, too, if you need this for your specific use case.
Troubleshooting is simplified
Currently, the platform checks the data that’s integrated. If the integration was not successful, the system will notify you of this, and give you a detailed error message, which you can use to troubleshoot your integration or get in touch with one of our experts. (In the future, the system will suggest the right remediation action to troubleshoot your integration.)
For code-based integration platforms, troubleshooting can be complicated and require a joint effort from both your developers and the platform’s support team, which can be a lengthy process.
You can invest resources and efforts into other initiatives
If you develop a data integration internally or use a code-based integration platform, you’ll need to allocate a sizeable budget and person-hours to this. Code-based platforms aren’t necessarily simple to use, meaning that you’ll have to task someone with setting up, deploying, and troubleshooting integrations. (What if that person leaves the company, or is simply on a 2-week holiday?)
Additionally, low-code or code-based integrations, even if they might sometimes seem cheaper at first, might turn out to be more expensive than no-code integrations, once you factor in all features and add-ons you might need to cover your use case. Either way, you need to analyze costs carefully and see what the platform provides, in terms of functionalities and support.
If you’re using ZigiOps, you’re simply paying for your annual subscription: no hidden costs or last-minute surprises there. This way, you can free up development resources to invest in other initiatives, and use your budget and the availability of your teams better.
Integrations are easy to configure and highly scalable
With ZigiOps, you get templates for common industry problems or use cases. If your use case is covered by one of our templates, you can set up your integration in minutes, simply by navigating the UI and following the setup flow.
In case you need to configure a more complex integration, it’s still quite easy to do so, and you don’t need any coding knowledge. You do need to spend some time defining your exact use case and configuring the platform accordingly, but, again, everything is intuitive.
Time to market is significantly shorter
With a no-code platform, the time to market for your products, services, or embedded integrations is significantly shortened: you simply need to set up and deploy your integration, without spending days or weeks researching it and writing code. This allows you to be much more versatile and adaptable to new challenges, and shorten production cycles significantly.
You don’t need to assign API experts to the project
We believe integrations should simply serve their end goal–connect software tools–and not transform into complex projects on their own. For this reason, we’ve built a platform that runs seamlessly in your environment, and for which you don’t need API experts or developers to run.
If your requirements change, modifications are also very easy: any user can modify the integration’s configuration. In a few hours, you can change your use case, play with the system, set up a new integration, and so on. With a code-based platform or a homegrown integration, this process can take anywhere from days to weeks. With a no-code platform, you need much less research and time, which allows you to do changes easily, and be flexible.
No-code integrations vs. homegrown integrations vs. low-code or code-based integrations
Let’s now look at the available alternatives to no-code integrations, or the integration solutions that no-code platforms are most often compared against.
No-code integrations vs. homegrown integrations
Homegrown integrations might seem like a good idea at first, until they aren’t. We’ve explored the topic in detail in our article on the topic, ZigiOps vs. internal development.
In short, an integration platform comes with a high level of security, stability, and maturity, and at a predictable cost. Internally developed integrations can take months to deploy, and will not be nearly as flexible and scalable: whenever your requirements change or the systems you’re using get updated, you’d need to reinvest time and efforts to do research and update the code.
No-code integrations vs. low-code and code-based integrations
No-code and low-code platforms can be somewhat similar, but they still provide different functionalities and are designed differently. Let’s look at 3 defining criteria:
- Users: No-code platforms can be used by any end user; low-code or code-based
platforms can only be used by developers, software engineers, or people in similar roles, who
need to understand the platform’s constraints and adapt to it.
- Integration architecture: The end user defines the parameters of the
integration by using the platform’s available configuration mappings. Low-code and code-based
integration platforms’ architecture depends on the user’s coding skills.
- User interface: No-code platforms use a UI layer that simplifies
configuration and deployment, while low-code or code-based platforms present additional coding
Vendors of low-code integration platforms try to simplify the necessary code and use simple programming language. Even if the integration platform you’re using is low-code, though, you still need a tech person to operate it, do the necessary API research, and design the integration. This is even more true for code-based integrations, where your team will need to plan and design the integration.
We have a smart algorithm that chooses the best APIs to use for each specific system, based on use cases. For low-code integrations, a person needs to do that, which requires lots of effort and time. It might be more efficient in some instances, but this is rarely the case (and our algorithm is getting better each day).
One of the advantages of code-based platforms is that they can integrate new systems that don’t come with the platform, or be more flexible. Sometimes, this can be a good option for big organizations who are using hundreds of tools they need to integrate; nevertheless, it’s very resource-intensive, and you might need to assign a whole team to it. It often makes more sense to request a new integration from your vendor and have them develop it, instead of using up your own resources. Many of our integrations were developed at the request of our customers, so we have years of experience with this.
Low-code or code-based platforms can roll out connectors faster, too, because some of the research and coding will be done by the client, but, as a result, the effort for them will be much bigger.
Can a no-code data integration platform provide sufficient security?
Security is a key element to consider when choosing the right integration platform for your business, and one of the first things our customers ask us about. Let’s see how no-code and code-based platforms fare in terms of security.
Once you inject code into a system, any smart hacker can find vulnerabilities and exploit them. Otherwise said, custom code is a vulnerability in and of itself, and for that reason, it comes with a greater security risk: according to HelpNetSecurity, custom code accounts for 93% of system vulnerabilities. Before adding custom code, always assess the security risk it might pose, and how you’ll mitigate it.
No-code platforms, on the other hand, allow users to modify their integrations without compromising their stability, functionality, or security.
We use encryption and SSL certificates to guarantee the security of our platform. Besides that, we check the best practices for each system we’re integrating, and we consult with the support and development team of the vendor, to define what is the safest way to use their APIs and secure the API endpoints. We also undergo additional security assessments by our technology partners.
What about stability & performance?
In regards to stability and performance, the risk is higher whenever you’re using code. Custom code creates additional complexity and could cause performance issues and other problems.
In fact, every time you write code, you could have performance bugs. For example, you could have infinite loops, and if you don’t close the loop, some cases might not be handled properly.
No-code platforms allow for more testing for many customers, which guarantees better performance and stability. And we all know how crucial high availability is for businesses nowadays.
Is a no-code integration platform the right choice for you?
No-code integration platforms help businesses automate their workflows and streamline cross-team collaboration without the need to hire an integration expert or invest team resources into researching their integrations and writing the code.
It’s important to note, however, that very few vendors manage to provide a no-code integration solution to their customers. In fact, no other integration vendor is fully no-code; some create integration use cases, but they’re static & inflexible. So, when choosing the right data integration platform for your business, keep this in mind.
Before you begin, you first need to configure the Primary ZigiOps server on which your integrations are running, and activate the license for each instance.