A major challenge with the explosion of cloud-based applications is syncing similar data consistently across a number of online tools. For example, you may be using a marketing automation tool like ActiveCampaign, a sales funnel management tool like PipeDrive, a customer experience tool like ZenDesk and an accounting tool like Quickbooks Online. Creating and managing data throughout all of these systems manually would be almost impossible. It’s no wonder that online synchronization tools are popping up all over the place to help businesses face this challenge. We expect to see this trend continue for the foreseeable future, as well as more and more online Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers supporting these types of integration utilities. Below are just a few we are watching:

Zapier.com

Zapier is a very cool cloud-based app with probably the most available application integrations (500+). Users create “zaps” that can be initiated by a trigger from any of the available integrated applications. These triggers then perform the actions that a user defines. For example, a post on your blog can trigger an action to share that post to all of your social media outlets. Or create a new Insightly (CRM) Opportunity when a new deal is created in PipeLine (sales funnel tool). There are tons of predefined “zaps” available, or create your own, based on your specific needs. Pricing for Zapier ranges from free to $125/month.

IFTTT

If This, Then That (IFTTT) is another cool automation tool that can help synchronize information between two systems, and performs actions based on a similar trigger/action approach. IFTTT uses the naming convention “If” (trigger), “Then” (action), and has a repository of combinations called recipes. IFTTT looks to be well-suited for a number of personal productivity tasks. For example, connect to your home automation systems to perform tasks such as, if the sun sets, then house lights turn on; or if the weather calls for rain tomorrow, then notify via email in the morning. They also have a concept called “Do” buttons that allow you to engage with countless systems via a simple button click on a mobile app — like trigger a fake call to your phone to get out of an awkward situation. IFTTT is a free service for now.

Flowxo

Flowxo is similar to Zapier and IFTTT, but with one big difference. Flowxo allows you to create multi-step workflows and put filters in place to add logic to the process. The list of available integrations is a bit shorter than the options above, but the addition of workflows is a very powerful concept. And with prices ranging from free to $99/month for the pro version, it is definitely worth a try.

PieSync

PieSync is an online app specifically built to manage two-way syncing between SaaS applications. They currently have a short list of available connections, but the platform is better suited for data synchronization than the previous tools on this list. If you are using the supported applications, or the ones in their development pipeline, it might be a good tool to evaluate. PieSync is currently priced from $5/month for one user, to $149/month for the unlimited premium plan.

itDuzzit

itDuzzit has a good number of applications available for integration (over 150), an easy interface, and a good number of features. But one of the more powerful components is the Duzzit editor. The editor allows you to perform advanced integrations through a drag-and-drop interface. These advanced integrations can include complex rule conditions (if-then logic), looping, text and data manipulation, math and date functions, and data structure formatting (XML and JSON). The advanced editor allows you to perform actions that far exceed the capabilities of the other tools on the list. The pricing is also quite solid, ranging from free, to $59/month for the premium version.

Cloudwork

Cloudwork is slightly different than the applications listed above. Basically, it is a repository of online applications containing information on the different tools that can be integrated. If you are looking to connect a couple of tools, or if you are in the process of selecting tools to work with, it might be worth choosing the ones that can natively sync with each other. Cloudwork is a free website to help you determine just that.

All of the tools above provide countless ways for businesses to better integrate their business and personal applications to each other, and sync data. But keep in mind, if you decide to take the plunge into workflow automation and data syncing, be sure to properly define and map out all of the systems and workflows you will be deploying prior to touching your live data. Automations are great, but they are also very dangerous if implemented haphazardly. Take the time to plan accordingly — you’ll be a lot happier if you do.