Tools for cloud automation are being offered by more and more companies, including Microsoft: Power Automate is the iPaaS tool for Office365 but also many other applications. But the young market is already highly competitive and so there are of course even more tools that can be considered as Power Automate alternatives. But recognising the differences and identifying the best tool for yourself can be difficult. The websites of the providers usually only make vague marketing claims that hardly give a glimpse behind the facade. We present 3 tools as Power Automate alternatives that we know and use from our practice as an automation agency. So in addition to the well-known information, we can give you valuable insides from the application of the tools. Let's go
Before we start with the Power Automate alternatives, let's have a short intro to Power Automate itself: What is it and why should alternatives be considered at all?
What is Power Automate?
Power Automate is the cloud automation tool from Microsoft and accordingly specialised in the Office365 environment. The tool used to be called Microsoft Flow, but was recently renamed "Power Automate". All Microsoft applications, but also many others, such as Twitter, GSuite or YouTube, can be intuitively automated in the cloud. What sounds somewhat limiting at first, however, is exactly the opposite:
A large number of employees in companies work mainly and on a daily basis with Microsoft Office products. This is exactly why this tool is so powerful and attractive for a wide range of companies and industries. The focus of Power Automate is on simple usability and the independent creation of workflows by the employees themselves.
Nevertheless, highly complex automations without code are possible with conditions such as "For-Each", "Do-While" or "If-then-else". This is because Power Automate makes it possible to create personal automations for each:n individual:n user:in. This creates a customised automation experience and should make it easier to adapt to one's own processes.
This strategy is also reflected in Power Automate's pricing: for the image of the pricing page is different from that of the competition:
With Power Automate, you do not pay per process, workflow or process steps, but per user:in. For $15 per person, an unlimited number of active "flows" (i.e. processes) are available. This pricing shows the individuality of the iPaaS software.
For $40 per month, the package can also be extended with a "supervised RPA", i.e. the counter-technology to iPaaS. You can read more about the difference here .
Power Automate also offers the option of paying for five flows and an unlimited number of users - for $500. This is certainly a big deal and makes sense especially if numerous users need the same automated processes over and over again.
As one of the few iPaaS tools, Power Automate offers a mobile app for iOS and Android that makes it possible to view and monitor all active flows.
To make it even easier for users, there are thousands of templates that enable out-of-the-box automations. In addition to the Microsoft environment, there are of course external apps such as Facebook, Twitter or Dropbox that are supported.
If you had to swallow at the pricing: Power Automat is included in the Office365 subscription, except for the Premium Apps. That means you may already have the cloud automation tool without knowing it. Power Automate combines RPA with cloud automation. Most other tools focus on one of the two technologies.
With Power Automate, the strengths can also clearly be interpreted as weaknesses. The emphasis on individuality and the claim that all users can create and use their own flows presupposes, of course, that they have the appropriate technical understanding. What is not a problem for some employees can cause resentment for others or simply lead to the tool not being used.
Power Automate offers great opportunities to automate small steps and save hundreds of clicks a day.
What is a great advantage for individuals can quickly become a challenge for companies with medium-sized staff: Power Automate's pricing. Here, the Power Automate alternatives offer other approaches that often allow companies to get away with it much more cheaply. We think few SMEs are willing to pay $500 per month for (only) 5 process automations.
Of course, there is also the possibility of having the corresponding integrations set up by service providers. But here, too, the monthly costs of Power Automate must be borne by the client in addition to the project costs. If the choice falls on service providers, we recommend other, much cheaper tools based on our experience.
What Power Automate can do, Make has long been able to do: integrate the Office356 applications in the cloud.
Make is an iPaaS software that makes it possible to create modular automated workflows that take a lot of work off your hands. Make supports hundreds of different apps, such as Stripe, Zoho or Shopify. In addition, a link to further web services is possible via the JSON or HTTP/SOAP modules and opens up even more automation.
Make itself is a Czech company that we have already written about in many other blogposts. Make always convinces us with its technical finesse and numerous possibilities.
The modular structure of a workflow allows us to build a process from start to finish, always keeping track of where a fork occurs and which applications and apps are used in that process.
Make's pricing is significantly different from Power Automate, but similar to all other Power Automate alternatives we will present:
At Make, payment is not per user, but for operations and data transfer. Operations means individual process steps. No matter how many users or apps: Make gives you 1,000 of these operations for free up to a data transfer of 100MB. We think that's great if you want to familiarise yourself with it and don't know whether Make is the tool of your choice.
From $9 to $299, there are then further chargeable packages in various gradations. What is also worth mentioning here is the possibility of booking 10,000 operations on top at any time for $9 per month. So if you notice in the standard package that you are missing more operations, but you don't want to spend $99 on the business package, you simply expand your operations and get away cheaper. This is unique to Make.
Make impresses with its technical sophistication. All technical possibilities have been thought through. The modular structure not only makes it easy to set up the automations, but also provides a good overview of the process itself. In addition, this view makes it easy to exchange individual applications and modules if something needs to be changed. In addition, as a Czech company, Make is DSGVO-compliant, an issue that many companies face.
We will be happy to advise you on your individual automation and clarify whether Power Automte or Make is a better fit.
Zapier is also an iPaaS software that appears similar to Make at first glance. Here, too, cloud automations can be implemented independently and a huge amount of apps are supported: Zapier supports over 2,500 apps, from GSuite to Trello. With Zapier, you create a linear workflow that can look like this:
In contrast to Make, the modular view that immediately displays all branches in the process is not possible here. However, the setup of the individual process steps is no less simple. Multi-level workflows and conditional logic are also included in Zapier's fee-based packages, so that even complex processes can be automated.
Like Make, Zapier, as a Power Automate alternative, offers different tariffs for different size packages:
Here, too, there is a free package and four other paid versions. If you decide on the "free" version, it should be noted that the maximum of 5 zaps (process steps, in Make "operations") only allow very limited automation. These 5 zaps are already reached when your process requires 6 different links. The limit is therefore quickly used up.
In the paid packages, so-called Zapier Paths are also available. These are functions that also enable complex automations by means of "If..., Then..." functions. functions, which also exist in Excel, for example. For us, these Zapier Paths are indispensable.
If you reach your monthly limit in one of the plans, you can also add Zapier. Here, however, you are charged per Zap (2 cents each). However, we always recommend checking the efficiency of existing Zaps beforehand. There is often potential for savings through more intelligent processes.
Zapier makes diverse automations possible through integrated code execution. Python or .js make it possible to add functions in addition to the thousands of applications. Speaking of thousands of applications: Zapier supports by far the most applications in this list of Power Automate Alternative, which is certainly one of its greatest strengths. In addition, Zapier allows excellent error tracking via dummy data, which lets you know immediately whether the automation will work.
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N8n is a young automation platform that is growing rapidly. For a better comparison, we take a look at n8n.cloud, the software-as-a-service tool. In addition, however, there is also n8n, a workflow automation tool that is easy to host on your own servers via the source code on GitHub (which we personally think is a great idea). Currently, n8n supports more than 150 apps, and the number is growing. Among them are the well-known ones like Airtable, ActiveCampaign, Microsoft Office, GSuite or Wordpress.
When displaying the workflow, the n8n interface is oriented towards a flowchart, which is familiar in this view from tools such as Miro. In this way, the structure of the process is immediately recognisable and individual steps can be changed or exchanged in a modular way without having to delete all attached steps (looking at you Zapier). We know this in a similar way from Make and have always been convinced of such a view.
Copying and pasting templates is also very simple. Simply copy the selected workflow on the n8n website using the button there and paste it into the n8n editor using CTRL + V. Configure it with your own accounts and off you go.
The pricing of n8n is very simple, besides the free trial (30 days) there are 3 packages: Start, Pro or Power. Nothing new as far as that goes. However, there is no permanent free version like with Zapier or Make . What is also noticeable when you register is that you are immediately asked for credit card information. Unfortunately, we find this negative. Once you have overcome this hurdle, however, the following picture emerges:
The cheapest tariff with 20€ per month and 5000 monthly workflow executions. This means that once a workflow (no matter how many steps) runs through, the counter jumps to 1. This variant should not be confused with the operations at Make. There, a module, i.e. a step in the process, usually executes an operation, so that a single workflow can execute a large number of operations. The n8n model is more comparable with Zapier, which charges per Zap, i.e. also per workflow. The $20 starter package of Zapier also includes 20 zaps, in n8n this is called Active Workflow.
With Power Automate, you get about 1.5 users per month with unlimited flows for 20€. As with the previous two tools, it is difficult to compare n8n as a Power Automate alternative in terms of pricing, but it compares well with Make or Zapier. Here, n8n comes closer to Zapier than to Make pricing.
n8n is still young, but we think it's already doing a lot right. We love the modular structure of the interface, which we also know from Make. With this structure, n8n also lives up to the claim of making automation simple and accessible for everyone, even without programming knowledge. It is immediately recognisable which tools are used, which functions are carried out and what happens afterwards. n8n is also a German company and just like Make it is therefore subject to the DSGVO. What leads to more effort for the iPaaS providers themselves is, in our opinion, good and important. This way, users can be sure that their data is safe and that they won't have to revise their choice of tool the next time the EU Court of Justice makes a decision.
Furthermore, we are particularly fond of the fact that entire processes can be downloaded as JSON files. This makes it easy to duplicate processes or use them as templates.
Automation Hero is the latest automation platform among these Power Automate alternatives. Automation Hero aims to create an end-to-end solution that combines all the latest process automation technologies: RPA, AI, iBPMS and iPaaS. (And what is that, please?)
This also makes Power Automate the only Power Automate alternative in this comparison that also offers iPaaS and RPA (remember, Power Automate offers "supervised RPA" for an additional monthly fee).
Automation Hero also offers the usual picture: 4 different tariffs with different functionalities are intended to cover different needs. However, in comparison to Zapier and Make, there is no free version. However, at second glance, the pricing of Automation Hero differs greatly from the other Power Automate alternatives presented:
Each package costs $65 per developer, i.e. the people who set up and manage the automation. That sounds a lot, but depending on the company, it is only a few people. In addition, "pay per hour" is added to each package. This means that you pay per hour that the automation is running. In the Silver package this amounts to $4.80 up to the Titanium package for $18 per hour. Of course, it is also possible to request an On Prem solution individually.
All packages include personal assistants who accompany the automation. In general, Automation Hero places more emphasis on not leaving users to their own devices, but on providing support and contact persons.
process decisions based on AI and thus the challenges of process definition are significantly reduced.
Automation Hero delivers what it promises: it is an all-in-one platform for a wide range of automation technologies that are currently available. This means that companies that do not want to or cannot completely convert their IT infrastructure to cloud applications will get their money's worth. It is also ideal for people and companies who want intensive customer support and do not want to be left alone with automation.
Power Automate is based in the Office365 environment and scores well here. If you already have an Office365 subscription, we recommend that you simply get involved with Power Automate and try out what's possible - you're already paying for it anyway. We love this iPaaS tool especially for smaller automations and use it ourselves both in customer projects and internally.
For more comprehensive projects with many different applications and process steps, however, we usually recommend Zapier or Make as Power Automate alternatives. Both tools offer a simple and calculable cost structure, also integrate Office365 and much more.
n8n is also in the process of giving the two tools a run for their money, but it will probably take a little more time to counter the sheer mass of supported apps, such as Zapier. Nevertheless, we are enthusiastic about the cloud tool and believe that there is still a lot to come.
Make in particular always scores points with us for its modular structure and technical maturity. With our affiliate link, you even get the first month for free with 10,000 operations instead of 1,000.
Automation Hero is certainly the tool in this list that is particularly suitable for large companies and corporations. Since the iPaaS tool is still very young, we do not have any project experience with it, but we have already convinced ourselves of its performance. For now, we want to give the tool some time to mature. For us, it is not yet a true Power Automate alternative.
Of course, it's best to decide for yourself which tool meets your needs. You may already be paying for Power Automate without knowing it, or you may be using the free versions of Make and Zapier to form your own opinion.
Either way, sustainable and goal-oriented automation is not something that can be put together in an afternoon. It requires an in-depth analysis of the processes and tools, which usually generates many more ideas and solutions. With this complexity, it can be worthwhile to consult external experts (and programming knowledge can't hurt). We are happy to support you in uncovering potentials, illuminating possibilities and implementing automation.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
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Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.
02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.