GUIDES

Top Cyclr Alternatives

Scale your integration roadmap with the best embedded iPaaS solution.
Brian Yam
,
Head of Marketing
September 3, 2021
,
12
minutes to read
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Founded in 2013, Cyclr is the oldest embedded integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) on the market. As a result, Cyclr has had more time than any other company to develop an easier method for SaaS companies to expand their in-app integration offerings. However, their product visibly demonstrates that they have not made use of their first-mover’s advantage.

Nearly a decade later, numerous competitors to Cyclr have emerged with more sophisticated and modern approaches to the embedded integration platform space. If you’re trying to find the best Cyclr alternatives to help your business scale integrations quickly, this article is for you.

TL;DR

  • Cyclr offers 400+ in-built connectors and has the lowest price in the embedded iPaaS space 
  • The Cyclr product lack sextensibility, does not offload authentication, and come with a terrible and outdated user experience
  • Alternatives to Cyclr include Paragon, Workato Embedded, Tray Embedded, and Pandium
  • Paragon provides the best developer experience across ease of implementation, feature extensibility, a truly native end-user experience, and first class developer support
  • Tray Embedded offers more pre-built connectors than Cyclr, but is handcuffed by their core workflow automation product, which translates into a non-whitelabeled end-user UI, clunky developer experience, a distracted product roadmap, all while providing unscalable pricing
  • Workato Embedded is similar Tray Embedded but easier to implement and offers the most connectors on this list. However, their product is intentionally not white-labeled, not designed for developers, and they are also the most expensive solution on the market
  • Pandium’s product is focused on simplifying the process for submitting/reviewing integration partnership requests and marketing materials, and provide a few lack luster developer features for building the actual integrations

Cyclr’s strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths

Cyclr was built specifically for the embedded use case, unlike Workato Embed and Tray Embedded, which are 2 of the major Cyclr alternatives on this list. Notable Cyclr features that help its customers ship integrations more quickly include:

  • 400+ pre-built connectors to third-party apps
  • Low-code workflow building interface
  • Pre-built workflow actions that abstract away parts of the 3rd party API
  • The cheapest price in the market

While this is a sizable amount of connectors, it has taken them 9 years to get to this point due to being limited by the slow growth of their team, and the rest of the features have not been iterated upon to support the extensibility required by engineering teams today.

Unfortunately, that’s about it for their benefits.

Weaknesses

Lack of Extensibility

The 400 connectors Cyclr provides restricts users to each connector's built-in workflow actions—a massive problem. In other words, Cyclr’s connectors don’t support any complex, custom use cases.

The true value of an integration platform lies in finding the balance between abstracting away complexities while providing extensibility, which Cyclr has missed the mark on.

Additionally, for any API endpoint that they have not abstracted, you will need to submit a feature request that they may or may not develop in time, drastically increasing your time to market.

If you’re a startup that only wants to use simple integrations to start, Cyclr is a good solution for your use case. But, integrations often require companies to weave together multiple apps uniquely for the business model of the individual company building the integration ecosystem. So, Cyclr provides almost no value for this advanced use case. 

No managed authentication

An enormous pain point in building integrations in-house is having to build a new authentication system for managing your customers’ credentials and access/refresh tokens for every integration. While other platforms on this list provide managed authentication to ensure the integration stays up and running behind the scenes, Cyclr does not.

With Cyclr, you are required to own that major piece of developing every integration, as seen in their docs.

Lack of whitelabeling

Cyclr redirects your users to a Cyclr hosted URL for your customers to configure and authenticate their integrations.

This creates a terribly disjointed experience, and makes it apparent that there is a third party involved in handling their data.

Terrible developer documentation

Just a quick glance at their documentation should provide you insight that they are not focused at all on providing a seamless developer experience.

To summarize - if you’re simply looking for the cheapest embedded iPaaS solution on the market, Cyclr is worth considering, as they do provide some of the basic features required to build simple product integrations.

But if you’re looking for a solution that you can reliably bet your integration strategy on not only now, but for the rest of your product’s lifecycle, Cyclr is not the right solution for you. With minimal growth, a product that has marginally improved after 9 years, you do not want your customers to suffer from their product’s drawbacks.

Now, let’s get into the top 4 Cyclr alternatives.

Cyclr Alternative #1 - Paragon

When it comes to the developer and end-user (your consumers) experience, Paragon is the best embedded iPaaS on the market right now. It enables you to launch new integrations into the market in a matter of days.

Full disclosure: Although Paragon is our own product, we will present an unbiased analysis of why it is the best Prismatic substitute available today.

Superior end-user experience

Providing your customers a seamless configuration and integration experience is essential when developing native integrations. With integrations built on Paragon, your customers won't be aware that you're using a third-party integration platform.

Unlike Cyclr, which would take your customers to a Cyclr hosted URL for auth and configuration,  Paragon offers an easily embeddable, integration-specific JS modal.

And all it takes is a single call:

paragon.connect('salesforce');

To take it a step further however, Paragon also provides a headless implementation - this means any integration built on Paragon can leverage your own custom UI, making it fit seamlessly with any pre-built integrations you might already have.

Fully-managed authentication

Paragon provides fully managed authentication, and handles your customers’ refresh and access tokens for every integration, which alone will save you more time than Cyclr’s platform as a whole

All you need to do is generate a Paragon user token for each user. Then, allow our SDK to do the rest.

Additionally, it is very simple to map data between steps in a process. Instead of needing to include additional requests with each step as required by Prismatic's workflow builder, just reference prior steps and the data needed from those outputs in the appropriate fields.

Intuitive workflow builder

While Cyclr’s no-code interface was a good attempt, Paragon’s workflow builder is significantly easier to use, as it was thoughtfully designed to be both incredibly user-friendly and highly extensible for developers. Don’t believe us? Try it yourself for free by signing up.

Unlike Cyclr, within Paragon’s workflow builder, you will still be able to make requests to any 3rd party API endpoint. Therefore, you won't be constrained by the pre-defined abstractions that Paragon provides out of the box if you're developing a more complex use case.

Paragon also provides a set of components that make it simple to build any integration logic you need, such as custom functions that give you access to all JavaScript functions and npm packages.

Not only that, Paragon doesn’t require you to build a connector for your app before you can get started with integrations.

Best-in-class support

Paragon’s support is better than other embedded iPaaS providers by their most crucial support metric: how well real users rate the quality of the support they receive.

Don’t believe us? Check out the Paragon User Rating on G2.

With SLAs on response times and a dedicated Slack channel for the majority of plans, Paragon offers first-rate developer support for all customers.

And given that the team has helped over 100 B2B SaaS companies implement their integrations, you will also get subject matter expert support throughout the entire partnership.

Custom integration builder

After the series A in 2022, Paragon accelerated the development of its pre-built integration catalog, which will have more than 100 pre-built connectors by the end of 2022.

Even if there is an integration you don't see on the list, it can be built on SLA if you talk to the team because the integrations that are being added are largely driven by customer demand.

However, with thousands of new SaaS applications entering the market each year, no company can realistically build out every single integration immediately.

That’s where Paragon’s Custom Integration Builder comes in. 

Your team can build an integration with any application with an API in as little as 20 minutes by taking advantage of all the advantages of Paragon's workflow, end-user configuration, and authentication.

As a result, Paragon is guaranteed to be future-proof and capable of supporting any integration you may need down the line, assuming we hadn’t built it by then.

Conclusion: Cyclr vs. Paragon

While Cyclr is the cheaper option, its lack of extensibility, subpar user experience, and lack of product improvement makes it an undesirable solution. The last thing you want is to build out integrations on their platform in order to pay the cheaper price, only to have it not accommodate your use case down the line.

At that point, you’d have to rebuild those integrations in-house or come to Paragon and start all over.

Cyclr Alternative #2 - Tray Embedded

Tray Embedded is a new product offered by Tray, a workflow automation platform. Having found success leveraging robotic process automation technology (RPA) to speed up the creation of integrations, Tray decided to repackage their product to enter the embedded iPaaS market.

So, how does Tray Embedded compare to Cyclr and Paragon?

Advantages

Connector library

Tray provides more than 600 pre-built connectors, which is more than Cyclr. However, all of these connectors pre-date Tray Embedded, as they were built for Tray’s primary product.

Custom connector services

If the connector you need isn’t part of Tray’s catalog, you can request them to add it, but you’ll have to pay $3000 for the privilege.

However, this means you do not have the capability to easily build your own custom integrations on their platform, unlike with Paragon’s Custom Integration Builder.

No-code UI

Tray’s workflow builder is reasonably intuitive, especially compared to Cyclr. This is due to their workflow builder being intended for marketing and sales operations teams, which requires a no-code experience.

However, the benefits disappear as soon as you need to build an integration that is even slightly more complex.

Disadvantages

Not designed for developers nor the embedded use case

Unfortunately, the inherent limitation of being a ‘repackaged’ version of their core product quickly becomes apparent. In fact, we’ve talked to multiple companies who have recently churned (after their 1 year contract) to rebuild the integrations in-house.

We hypothesize that Tray is focused on their main product instead of the Embedded use case, so Tray Embedded is a lower development priority. But, again, this differs from Cyclr and Paragon, who focus on the embedded use case. 

Disjointed end-user experience

The authentication user experience is not whitelabeled with Tray Embedded. Whereas Paragon’s authentication process feels completely native, Tray authentication takes the user to a Tray URL by default.

This makes it apparent that your integrations are not built and managed by your own team, which will lead to a questionable experience for your customers.

Authentication workarounds

Authentication on Tray is a far more involved process than on Paragon, as they require you to manually link each user to a unique Tray integration account that is created for your customers. This is a result of the limitations of being tied down by their core product, where end-users are directly interacting with Tray.

However, this is still a step above Cyclr, which doesn’t provide any form of managed auth.

Steep scaling costs

Tray is significantly more expensive than Cyclr, or really any of the other platforms on this list, according to interviews with its customers (both current and churned).

In particular, while a per-integration fee is customary, it is their per end-user fee that drives up costs to an absurd level. Meaning you have to pay hundreds of dollars for every new customer that installs an integration. As your company grows its customer-base, this will eat into your bottom line.

Finally, due to the fact that Tray Embedded is a sales-driven product, they have a history of locking customers into a discount during the first year and forcibly raising prices significantly during renewal, making it impractical for many businesses to continue using their platform.

These costs aren’t sustainable for the average SaaS company and worsen the more you scale your integration roadmap. 

No on-premise deployment

Tray only offers a hosted cloud deployment of their platform; there is no option to deploy on your own servers.

This makes sense because businesses that use their core product knowingly do so in order to transfer data within their own tech stack. The embedded use case, however, presents a challenge because it adds a new stakeholder: your customers. If your customs require you to go through a stringent security review, you may need to involve Tray's team which will inevitably slow down and complicate the entire sales process.

Requires a connector for your app

Tray requires you to build a connector for your app before you start your integration journey. Whereas Cyclr builds this into the cost of their packages, Tray asks you to pay an additional fee during onboarding—not only is that expensive, it slows down how quickly you can go to market with your first integration.

Additionally, every time your API changes, you’ll need to have them update the Tray connector for your app - this further removes control away from your developers.

Overall, Tray Embedded is a viable solution if you only care about the number of pre-built connectors available, and it does provide a better overall user experience than Cyclr. However, Paragon is unquestionably the better option if you're looking for a dedicated embedded iPaaS solution that is easy to use and highly extensible for developers.

Cyclr Alternative #3 - Workato Embedded

You may have heard of Workato for their dominance in the workflow automation space. It is more comparable to Tray Embedded than Cyclr because both companies have repackaged their products for the embedded use case.

As a result, there are many similar workarounds with Tray around authentication and the end-user experience, so the main comparisons we will make will center on the current connectors and pricing.

Strengths

With more than 1200 pre-built connectors, Workato has the most extensive integration catalog of Cyclr alternatives in this article. 

Neutral

Like Cyclr and Paragon, Workato’s workflow builder is intuitive to use. However, Workato argues that it differentiates itself by providing more than 500,000 “recipes,” or automated workflows for the most common use cases. However these recipes are not relevant as you are defining a unique s

This is great if your integration use cases are the same as the average company. But from what we’ve seen at Paragon, each company’s integration ecosystem is unique. So if you want to build custom integrations at scale, the more cost-effective option is to use Paragon.

Weaknesses

Like Cyclr and most of the alternatives in this article, Workato doesn’t let you deploy on your premises. However, if you want to guard against the risk of third-party data loss or your iPaaS getting hacked, Paragon is the only iPaaS with on-prem deployment.

3rd Party Branded iFrame

Workato does not offer the option to white-label the experience at all, as it is a component of their growth strategy from the standpoint of brand recognition. Your customers will be able to clearly see from this that you are managing the integrations using a third-party platform.

Their only implementation method is via an iFrame as seen here with their customer, LivePerson.

If the purpose of embedding an iPaaS into your app is to give the user a seamless experience, Workato falls short of both Cyclr and Paragon in this area.

Pricing

The biggest blocker with Workato is their pricing scalability. Unlike Cyclr which still provides some economies of scale, Workato’s pricing scales linearly as you grow the number of customers you have or the task volume that gets executed through their platform.

While they do have a better product when compared to Cyclr, the inherent limitations of being handcuffed by their core workflow automation product coupled with their pricing makes them a hard solution to confidently choose.

Cyclr Alternative #4 - Pandium

Our last competitor to Cyclr is Pandium, which has an unusual take on the integration platform business model. Pandium brands itself as an integration marketplace-as-a-service, or iMaaS for short, and its target audience is partnership managers instead of developers. 

Partner and marketing features

The core of Pandium’s integration platform is what it calls its “Partner Portal.” The idea is that potential partners send you their app (together with marketing materials) if they want you to integrate with them. The Partner Portal makes discovering your app and initiating conversations around partnerships easier, although it doesn’t impact the technical quality of any built integrations. 

Connector limitations

Pandium offers only 200 pre-built connectors, half the number of connectors in Cyclr’s catalog. However, Pandium’s connectors don’t even provide built-in workflow actions (API abstractions). Essentially, their connectors only handle authentication, which Cyclr doesn’t provide, but comes at the expense of saving you time in understanding the 3rd party API. 

No workflow builder

If having an intuitive visual builder for implementing integration logic is a requirement, then Pandium is not the solution for you.

Marketplace UI

While they focus heavily on promoting their marketplace, Pandium’s software doesn’t provide a completely native integration experience. For example, if the iFrame that their embedded marketplace stops working, it will be very apparent to your customer that you’re using third-party integration software, as the following screenshot shows (real life example):

Note the awkward mention of pandium.io on Shipbob’s app from their iFrame.

However, their backend marketplace functionality is beneficial for partnerships and partner marketing teams to accept requests from 3rd party companies to be listed on their application as a partner integration, if that’s what you’re looking for.

All in all, Pandium is an excellent platform for managing new partners and listing them on your website. However, from an integration development standpoint, they are simply not a feasible option. Without a built-in workflow actions and a workflow builder, there is very little value i

Conclusion

We hope this gives you a clear picture on why if you’re a B2B SaaS company that plans on growing, Cyclr is not the embedded iPaaS that you want to rely on.

And while the number of connectors offered by Tray Embedded and Workato Embedded may be a strong selling point, the drawbacks of being a re-packaged version of their workflow automation product leads to a lot of infrastructure level limitations that result in a terrible developer experience.

Don’t believe us? Feel free to trial each of the platforms on this list - you’ll quickly see how Paragon provides a superior developer and end-user experience.

If you’re not a developer, book a demo with our team and we’ll walk you through how you can achieve your native integration use cases with our platform.

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