light behind the cloud
Cloud Computing PHOTO: eberhard grossgasteiger

Amazon Web Services launched a new integration service this week called Amazon AppFlow, designed to make it easier for marketers to transfer data between AWS services and other SaaS applications. 

AppFlow makes it possible to create these integrations without the need for writing custom code, a process which can at times take months to complete, due to data cleansing requirements and more. Companies with few developers on staff may resort to creating manual inputs and exports of data, which introduces and increases the risk of human error into advanced data and machine learning models as well as opens up the potential for data leaks.

Getting Started With AppFlow

Business users can add integration details in the AppFlow console. Each integration is called a flow. Users select a data source and a corresponding destination for the data — essentially a flow endpoint.


Users then can select the data triggers for the integration, be it a regularly scheduled data sync, a one-time data transfer or a specified event in a campaign.  AppFlow allows bi-directional movement. The choice of source and destination can be either an AWS service or an outside application.

The user then maps the data from the source to the destination — think of this as match columns of data and column label, and you get the general idea.


The flow is then activated.

AppFlow encrypts data at rest and in motion through AWS or customer-managed encryption keys, as well as giving the option to use AWS PrivateLink for applications with existing integrations to strengthen the security of the data. The service requires no up front fee for AWS customers to use, rather charging by the number of flows processed and the volume of data.

Related Article: Is Low-Code Technology Right for You?

AppFlow Is a Sign of a Broader Market Trend

AppFlow represents a broader trend in the marketplace of making advanced analytics more accessible to business users through familiar solutions. Many open source solutions allow data to be imported through programming, while platforms like Tableau and Google Data Studio allow data integration without requiring programming.   

With its mapping feature for data sources and destination, AppFlow aligns with the no- or low-code approach to data integration the latter two platforms share. Moreover, the ability to map data sources in AppFlow makes it easier to trace data without being overly focused on technical details. Data models can be built more quickly, while the mapping can support privacy compliance concerns.

The source and destination choices are currently limited to 14 sources and four destinations. Google Analytics, Salesforce, Slack and Zendesk are among the choices. Martin Beeby, Amazon principal advocate, noted in the AWS announcement for AppFlow that Amazon will “add hundreds more [sources] as the service develops." AppFlow has been rolled out on a limited basis, with more regions to follow.