SaaS Data Integration in 2024:Working, Benefits & Challenges

March 26, 2024
15 min read

SaaS or software-as-a-service applications are the top layer of the data stack for almost every data-driven organization. You might be using many of these applications to run business operations, like CRMs, marketing platforms, and databases. With all these operational systems in place, migrating data from one platform to another for different data management tasks becomes crucial. This is where SaaS data integration helps you handle your data for backups, analytics, and more. It is a holistic approach to integrating data from and to any application. 

In this article, you will learn about SaaS data integration in detail, including its overview, benefits, use cases, and more. So, let's get started!

What is SaaS Data Integration?

In many situations, information is moved from one data source to another. To do this, data is often manually transferred from one operational system to another, which can be complex and time-consuming. 

With SaaS data integration, you don't need to perform manual tasks. It synchronizes two or more applications to send data between each operational system. This can involve data sources like on-premise software, cloud applications, databases, and CRMs using application programming interfaces (API).

For instance, you have an online store through Shopify, and your accounting team uses Freshbooks. When a consumer purchases, that information must be transferred to an accounting software for bookkeeping. In this case, manually moving data for frequent purchases can be time-consuming. However, to streamline the data movement process through an automated process, you can connect Shopify and Freshbooks using SaaS data integration tools. 

How SaaS Data Integration Works? 

SaaS data integration works using APIs and requires very little to no programming. APIs ensure that SaaS applications exchange information using predefined rules and protocols that you apply. It authenticates applications to establish trust before authorizing any data transfer. After authorizing, you can configure APIs to exchange the data in any format you choose and update data in real-time or batch processing.

Typically, SaaS applications use pre-built triggers that activate when your users complete a specific action. For instance, if a user logs in to your platform, a trigger can communicate their data to your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Some come with these triggers, and for others, you have to configure them accordingly. 

What are the Approaches to SaaS Data Integration?

Here are the top 3 approaches to SaaS data integration:

Native Integration

Native integration is exactly as it sounds. It is simply when you and your team build and maintain data integration from SaaS applications. Native integrations enable you to avoid working with third-party apps, which is why they are used mostly when dealing with sensitive data. However, this process can be very time-consuming and resource-intensive, requiring a team of engineers to implement. 

Using an iPaaS

An iPaaS or integration platform as a service allows you to streamline the SaaS data integration by automating the process. You can connect applications with existing pre-built connectors or create custom ones using their SDKs. 

iPaaS applications can help you accelerate integration development and are far more efficient than native integrations. It also provides robust security measures, compliance certifications, and orchestration capabilities without additional effort. 

That said, this process still needs you to have some level of technical expertise to understand what's going on. 

Robotic Process Automation

RPA, or robotic process automation, is the integration with software that uses scripts or "bots" to mimic human tasks at the user interface level. The software takes care of all the repeatable and non-complex tasks for you so that you can focus more on building logic for integration. RPA is ideal when applications don't offer APIs for specific data you need to collect. However, building a bot can be very complex and not scalable, as a simple change in the application's UI can break a bot. 

Benefits of SaaS Data Integration

Below are the key benefits of SaaS data integration: 

Automate Processes

SaaS data integration automates most of your data management tasks. You can use different tools for data processing, transformation, orchestration, governance, and security and integrate data into those tools to automate every process. This allows you to ignore much manual work and focus more on better decision-making. 

Enhanced Data Quality

SaaS data integration eliminates issues like data silos by synchronizing data across different systems. It provides a centralized approach and a single source of truth for data management, enhancing data consistency, accuracy, and integrity. 

Data Democratization 

By connecting different SaaS applications, data can be accessible to everyone, not only the IT experts and technical team. It promotes the democratization of data and empowers employees to analyze and leverage their data in tools they use often. As more professionals use data in day-to-day work, the quality of business decisions and operations can increase exponentially. 

Streamlined Reporting

Using SaaS data integration, you can generate comprehensive reports that provide deep insights into different operational aspects of data management in an integrated manner. This optimizes the quality of reporting, which helps you monitor performance, identify trends, and make informed strategic decisions. 

Improve Customer Experience and Retention 

With SaaS data integration, you can enter more lucrative market segments. SaaS applications like integrated customer relationship management (CRM) systems allow you to centralize and analyze customer data. This enables you to understand your customers' needs better and provide tailored services, support, and recommendations to improve their experience. 

Challenges of SaaS Data Integration

Key challenges of SaaS data integration are mentioned below: 

Integration Complexity

Every SaaS application has diverse data schemas, APIs, and connectivity requirements, and technical expertise is needed to deal with them. Therefore, managing these integrations becomes more challenging, which can lead to performance issues and make SaaS data integration complex. 

Vendor Lock-in

If you rely on SaaS solutions, you may face vendor lock-in, which means you are only limited to the specific dependencies and features a solution possesses. This can constrain flexibility and hinder interoperability with other SaaS applications you want to work with. In addition, you might also face compatibility issues when integrating legacy systems with modern SaaS applications. 

Data Security and Compliance

Integrating sensitive data across different SaaS applications increases the risk of a data breach, unauthorized access, and regulatory non-compliance. You have to implement robust security measures, compliance frameworks, and encryption protocols, which can be challenging to perform manually. 

Resource Intensive

With SaaS data integration, you must consider middleware, ongoing maintenance, integration tools, and development efforts. This can be very time-consuming and resource-intensive as you require dedicated tools and a team of experts to synchronize data with other SaaS applications. 

The solution to all the challenges above is using an iPaaS application like Airbyte. This tool offers an intuitive UI that is easy to use, flexible, and budget-friendly. Let's learn about it in detail. 

Perform SaaS Data Integration Using Airbyte

If you want to use iPaaS or an integration platform as a service approach to perform SaaS data integration, you can use Airbyte. An iPaaS application like Airbyte can automate the whole process of data integration between SaaS applications. 


Airbyte is a data integration tool that connects different sources to destinations, such as data warehouses or analytical platforms. It offers the largest catalog of pre-built connectors, with over 350+, to automate the connection between operational systems of your choice. 

However, you still have flexibility. With its cutting-edge features like PyAirbyte, you can get all the necessary flexibility. PyAirbyte is a library that you can use to access all the Airbyte connectors with Python programming. It enables you to build custom data pipelines according to your use case. 

Key features of Airbyte include: 

  • Custom Connectors: If you still don't find connectors according to your specific use case in the extensive library of pre-built connectors, Airbyte allows you to create custom ones. With Airbyte's connector development kit, you can create custom connectors with a few clicks within minutes. 
  • Change Data Capture (CDC): Airbyte supports CDC for many common sources to record the changes to log files for replications. It can read these logs while keeping track of the current position within logs to track and record all the changes coming from sources. 
  • Compliance Certifications: Airbyte offers all the major compliance certifications you need to operate your business independently worldwide, including GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO 27001. 


The ultimate goal of a data-driven organization is to be a "connected enterprise," a fully integrated network of tools working together. To achieve this state, you need to perform SaaS data integration. 

Following this detailed guide to SaaS data integration, including how it works, its different approaches, benefits, and challenges, you can harness the full potential of SaaS data integration. 

However, to perform SaaS data integration efficiently, you should use Airbyte. It automates the whole integration process using a modern ELT approach and lets you connect your operational system with a few clicks. 

Over 40,000+ engineers use Airbyte to perform data replication. Join its vibrant community and sign up for Airbyte today!

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