The embedded iPaaS approach of Paragon can be helpful to build product integrations. But not all integrations are suitable for it. In this article we present 4 popular alternatives to Paragon.
July 27, 2023
Embedded iPaaS are promising at first glance: They appear to give you a great trade-off between control over the integrations and abstracting away API specific differences.
The pre-built authentication, integrations infrastructure, and workflow steps take care of many of the difficulties of working with external APIs. At the same time, you retain full flexibility over how integrations work and the data they exchange.
Even better, the low-code/no-code aspect of embedded iPaaS promises to democratize integration creation and maintenance. Not just engineers, but anybody on the product team can now build, maintain and change them.
In reality, embedded iPaas don’t always deliver on these promises.
Despite low-code/no-code, (almost) all integrations still need to be written by engineers A key value proposition of Paragon is that anybody can write an integration, not just engineers. In reality, we see this rarely works. You still need to have deep knowledge of the data model (both your own and the external API), consider edge cases, and feel comfortable with API requests. Usually this is something only engineers have in the company.
No-code/low-code is a bad development experience For developers, writing code in a UI is not as nice an experience as writing it in an IDE. The workflow logic in the UI is also not connected to your code and deployment process, so it needs to be separately managed and deployed. We see developers often like the pre-built parts of embedded iPaaS, but don’t like the low-code/no-code aspect of it.
Workflow steps only cover a small part of the supported APIs A lot of the value of Paragon is in the pre-built workflow steps, which abstract away parts of the API. But because Paragon has to pre-build each, they only cover a small fraction of the API’s endpoints. If your use case is not covered by the pre-built steps you have to write custom API requests from scratch in Paragon. This is something only developers can do, and for them the UI is not a great development experience.
After understanding these shortcomings of Paragon, let's take a look at the most popular alternatives to Paragon.
Paragon Alternative 1: Nango
Nango is an open-source platform for product integrations. Similar to Paragon it provides pre-built authentication, integration infrastructure and building blocks for 100+ APIs. It gives you full control over the integration logic and data model.
But there are three major differences to Paragon:
Nango is built by engineers, for engineers: Integrations are defined in code, live in your repo (where they are version controlled) and can be deployed from your CI/CD with a CLI.
Nango has pre-built integration templates: E.g. sync contacts from Salesforce or post notifications to Slack. This lets you get started fast and only customize and extend integrations when you need to.
Nango’s catalog of supported APIs and templates expands every week, thanks to the 500+ developers in its community: Anybody can contribute new APIs and integration templates. These are then available for everybody who uses Nango, making Nango the fastest growing and most up to date product integrations platform.
The drawback is that without a no-code/low-code interface it is difficult for non-engineers to change and build integrations.
When to Choose Nango Instead of Paragon?
Nango might be a better solution for you if:
Your engineering team is looking to build with code, instead of a drag & drop UI.
You need to continuously synchronize data with the external APIs (e.g. contacts from Salesforce)
You want end-to-end type safety for all your integrations
You do not want to be constrained by an external provider in the APIs and integrations you can build in the future
Key Figures on Nango
Number of supported APIs: 100+
Number and examples of supported API categories: 25, including Accounting, CRM, HRIS, Ticketing, etc.
Customization options: 100+ pre-configured APIs, with the flexibility to create your own integrations quickly and without having to wait on Nango
Pricing: Generous free tier with usage-based pricing. Also, startups can get special plans or discounts based on their use cases.
Paragon Alternative 2: Embedded Tray.io
Like Paragon, Tray Embedded is also an embedded iPaaS offering. It is a version of the automation giant Tray.io, that allows you to build integrations into your app.
Tray provides you with a set of pre-built steps that you can use to build your own business logic and workflows. This comes in very handy when creating custom, one-off integrations for your enterprise users. As a result of this, Tray does not support the "unified data model" concept that some other tools on this list offer.
When to Choose Tray.io Instead of Paragon?
Tray can be a great alternative to Paragon in the following situations:
You are looking to build a lot of one-off, bespoke integrations for individual customers.
You are looking to customize the integration for individual customers and change how they work with your product.
Key Figures on Tray.io
Number of supported APIs: ~110
Number and examples of supported API categories: 9, including Customer Success, Marketing, HR, etc.
Customization options: Limited. You are restricted to the steps and APIs developed by Tray. Generic steps to “make any API request” exist.
Pricing: Need to get a demo and contact the sales team
Paragon Alternative 3: Merge.dev
Merge is a unified API, which means it abstracts away several similar APIs (e.g. CRMs) into a single API. This has the advantage that you can get several integrations with a single API interface. But also limits what you can access from these APIs to just the most common features and data: Unified APIs can only give you the lowest common denominator of the APIs they abstract away.
Unlike Paragon, Merge does not have a low-code or no-code interface and requires your engineering team to write integrations. It supports several different categories of unified APIs and has a similar API coverage overall to Paragon.
Merge.dev may be a better solution compared to Paragon if:
You are only looking for a fixed set of integrations (that are offered by Merge)
You want your engineering team to build all integrations
You only need a limited amount of data for your integrations and no API specific features
Key Figures on Merge.dev
Number of supported APIs: ~180
Number and examples of supported API categories: 9, including ATS, Accounting, CRM, etc.
Customization options: None. The Merge team decides which unified APIs to add, and users do not have a direct say over which APIs are supported.
Pricing: Offers a free tier with limited access. You need to contact their sales team for a customized pricing plan according to your requirements.
Paragon Alternative 4: Apideck
Apideck is another unified API vendor that offers integrations across a large number of API categories. However, instead of enriching their categories with multiple APIs, they choose to cover a wide range of categories. At the time of writing, each of these categories only have 2-5 APIs in them.
Apideck does not support extending integrations by the users, so you are still dependent on the set of APIs that they offer. Apideck also lacks advanced features, such as custom field mappings per user.
Instead, Apideck allows you to integrate a built-in integrations catalog into your product website easily, which most other vendors do not offer.
When to Choose Apideck Instead of Paragon?
You might prefer Apideck over Paragon in the following cases:
You need to cover API integrations across a wide range of categories
Apart from the integrations, you also need a ready-to-use portal to display supported integrations on your app's website
Key Figures on Apideck
Number of supported APIs: ~120
Number and examples of supported API categories: 22, including Calendar, File Storage, HRIS, Payroll, POS, etc. Although, only 9 unified APIs are available and other categories offer limited support.
Customization options: None. The Apideck team has listed integrations and categories that they are considering, and users can vote on them.
Pricing: Offers a free tier with around 5k calls a month, and the next plan is priced at $249 for 50k calls a month for a single category only.
Product integrations are an important part of most modern B2B SaaS apps.
Choosing the right vendor to build your integrations is an important business decision. The right vendor should accelerate your product's time to market, let you build the integrations your customers need, and thus help you increase revenue.
We hope this overview of four popular Paragon alternatives has been useful to you.
If you are still unsure which approach is the best for you, check the Nango Slack community for support and recommendations. It currently has more than 800 developers and product managers building integrations for B2B SaaS products.
See you there!
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Co-Founder & CEO
Originally an engineer himself Robin has worked on product integrations for 6+ years.
Today he is a co-founder at Nango.