How to Keep Your SaaS Tools in Sync

    The problem

    In the modern world, businesses of all sizes rely on software to carry out their day-to-day work. Things like customer management, enterprise processes, billing or marketing are all handled by the apps. And web-based business software as a service (SaaS) is as accessible and low-cost as it has never been. For this reason, companies take advantage of as many tools as possible to boost their productivity and revenue.

    Sometimes a company can use multiple business tools to cover different aspects of their business. Or in other cases, they might switch from a tool they used before to a new or better one. In both cases, it might be quite hard to make sure your data is synced or migrated automatically and consistently. So unless you're willing to spend hours to transfer data manually, you have to be equipped with tools that help you perform all the routine work that comes up.

    That's where integration, synchronization and migration platforms come to play. They leverage APIs that SaaS tools provide to help you perform your tasks quickly and effectively.

    Migration of existing data

    In most cases, data migration is needed in the following situations:

    • You just now start using a SaaS and would like to fill it up with your existing data (in whatever format it is)
    • You switch between tools and would like to migrate all the data from one to another. For instance, if you switch your CRM from Salesforce to Freshsales, you want to be able to migrate as much data as possible and to keep it as consistent as possible to continue your work seamlessly.
    • You need real-time sync of two business apps, but before that, you need to migrate existing data between sources.

    The key to migration is to make sure all the data is fully transferred, saved and consistent. This might be tricky in cases when there are dependencies between entries, and you have to ensure the data is migrated in the right order while preserving all references.

    One-way real-time sync

    One-way sync ensures that any new or changed data in one place is instantly mirrored and updated in another. A proper synchronization ensures that no data is duplicated or incorrectly overwritten. Real-time factor enables data to be updated instantly or near-instantly, depending on the capabilities of the corresponding APIs.

    In the case of one-way sync, one app is considered the primary data source and directly influences data in another. If you update data in the other source, it might lead to inconsistent results, or lead to the latest data being overwritten. To ensure that doesn't happen, you might consider to have two-way syncing instead of one-way.

    Two-way synchronization

    Two-way sync is similar to one-way, except that updates from both apps need to be reflected in the other one. It is the best way to keep similar data sources fully synced and avoid any data inconsistencies.

    At first glance, a two-way sync might look the same as having two one-way syncs. Unfortunately, it's often much trickier, as some unexpected corner cases may occur. You need to make sure that no data is duplicated, no newer data is overwritten by older data, and the syncing is not stuck in an infinite loop of updates.

    The bottom line is: two-way sync is quite tricky to get done right, and you need to be careful and mindful while developing it.

    Automation vs syncing

    Task automation is also used to avoid some routine work many people do. But there's a difference between task automation and one-way sync. Task automation is more process-driven, while the sync is data-driven. The difference can be explained by providing some of the most popular uses cases. For task automation, those could be:

    • When a new order is placed, send an email to the customer with the order details.
    • When an email is received, upload attachments to Dropbox.
    • When a customer signs up, add a contact to your CRM.

    And for one-way sync, they could be:

    • When a meeting is created, updated or cancelled in an Office 365 calendar, reflect the availability change in Google Calendar accordingly.
    • When a contact is created or updated in CRM, make sure it's up-to-date in the email marketing service (e.g. Mailchimp).
    • When a product list is updated in the company ERP, updated it accordingly in the CRM.

    So you can see that task automation is mostly about 'when something happens in one place, do something else in another place', and syncing is more about 'make sure that data in one place is always reflected and up to date in another place'.

    Some of the most popular task automation tools are:

    What SyncPenguin provides

    SyncPenguin is a universal two- and one-way syncing solution. Our SaaS provides both individual and corporate customers with a simple interface to:

    • Create automatic synchronizations between variety of supported apps and services.
    • Adjust field mappings, add rules and further customizations through a no-code interface to ensure the syncing works according to your needs.
    • An interface to manage, monitor, and troubleshoot your synchronizations.

    Get started now, or contact us if you'd like to learn more.