The cloud automation scene is still in its infancy, as we notice time and again in various places. The topic, or rather the technology, has not yet reached many companies, even though it offers so much potential for a wide range of industries, sizes and business models. Nevertheless, the market is growing and new tools are being added all the time, including Workato. This is one reason why we would like to dedicate ourselves to a Workato review.
Workato is a low-code platform that, like many of its competitors, promises to create automated workflows and processes without much programming. "Automate the w*rk out of everything" is the slogan behind it, which aims to enrich workflow automation(What is workflow automation) with artificial intelligence and bots.
We have tested the tool and would like to present the results not only here, but also compare them with other tools such as Zapier, Make or PowerAutomate. Since the market for such iPaaS tools is constantly changing and highly competitive, such comparisons can be particularly interesting. But of course, our Workato review starts with the question of what Workato is in the first place.
What is Workato?
Workato is an iPaaS software, but what exactly does that mean? iPaaS or Integration Platform as a Service is a cloud integration technology. Cloud integration means that data and information are automatically pushed from cloud application to cloud application through clever linking, thus creating automated process flows (or workflows). In this way, recurring and standardised processes can be taken over by bots and no longer have to be carried out manually.
But cloud integration is more of an umbrella term; it needs technologies that implement this concept. And this is where iPaaS comes into play.
IPaaS software provides a central console to manage, control and integrate cloud-based applications. They thus make cloud integration a reality by linking the required cloud applications on one platform. In this way, data is exchanged and tools that do not actually speak the same language can exchange information independently. This becomes clearer with an example:
You receive an email from a customer informing you that their company address has changed. Instead of manually opening your CRM and your accounting software and transferring the changes there or informing the responsible colleagues, iPaaS takes over for you. Through a predefined trigger, in this case "change of address", the process starts and the information is automatically transferred from your email tool (such as Outlook or GMail) to the CRM (e.g. Pipedrive or Hubspot) and the accounting (Lexoffice or sevDesk).
Through such a banal example, involving only three applications and very few clicks, we would like to illustrate that iPaaS can help in very different processes on a daily basis. Extrapolated over the entire team, numerous processes and a longer period of time, this not only saves more time for data maintenance, but also frees up more time for less dull tasks instead.
Workato is such an iPaaS platform. Like its competitors, Workato allows you to define triggers and subsequent actions. All of this is done in an admittedly very attractive view on which the process can be "stitched together". Workato's promise is to enable both IT teams and business teams to integrate quickly. The speed is supposed to happen in particular via ready-made processes (Workato calls them recipes) and the support of more than 1000 SaaS tools.
At first glance, it is a little difficult to follow the funnel on the page and create a test account. Instead of a "Start trial now" button, as many competitors such as Zapier, Make or PowerAutomate do, Workato only shows us the option "Book a demo", behind which a form for booking a demo is hidden. For this demo, not only the name and email, but also the telephone number must be entered. To get around this, there is the option to log in with your own Office365, Google or Slack account. If you select this option, you will be taken directly to the trial subscription.
Here, one difference to other tools such as Zapier or Make is immediately noticeable: There is no free basic model, but only a free test account for 30 days. We will go into this in more detail under Pricing.
Workato also supports more than 1000 apps, which is really solid and can keep up with the most popular tools. The built-in audits and compliance are designed to meet the highest DSGVO and SOC requirements. This is a point we are happy to mention, as data protection is an often overlooked but immensely important point when integrating numerous apps.
Once you have created a test account, you can start directly with the integration. In our eyes, the layout is kept very simple and clear, which quickly gives you a good overview. The ready-made processes, so-called recipes, give you direct suggestions as to which processes could be automated and how. We were very impressed with this view and believe that even absolute automation beginners will not find it difficult to get started with Workato. In addition to the recipes provided, you can also build and save your own recipes, which are basically templates.
The great thing is that the "Development" page has a production area and a test area for the scenarios. This gives us a better overview of the tests that have been carried out and their results. A feature that we as developers gratefully accept.
Layout and operation
The layout is roughly comparable to the Zapier layout, i.e. linear. In our little test, we naturally also used Airtable, one of our favourite apps for databases. Airtable itself already makes it very easy for you to integrate the application. But Workato itself gets even more out of the tool. Airtable is linked via a generated API key and the bases (i.e. tables) there are not only available in alphabetical order (oh yeah, that's really not self-evident) and are also searchable (also not self-evident). Indeed, such small details inspire us.
The operation is intuitive and very similar to Make. In the dashboard tab you also see a simple overview of all automations as well as an overview of your connected apps.
One challenge for the providers of iPaaS tools could be who is faster in integrating additional API endpoints. Here, for example, we have discovered some features in Workato that we are still waiting for in other tools. The comprehensive and stable integration of large software such as SAP or Microsoft can also be a huge advantage, as they themselves are very strongly integrated into the infrastructure of a company and have many users.
The clear market leader in the quantitative connection of apps is Zapier. With more than 3000 apps by now (and more every day), Workato cannot keep up with around 1000 apps. Nevertheless, the most important apps are represented: Amazon Lambda/S3, Asana/Jira, Cisco Webex, Dropbox, DocuSign, the entire GSuite, MailChimp or even MySQL are supported by Workato. Thus, some of the largest and most common cloud apps are integrated to create automations for recurring tasks.
Workato Review: Pricing
Workato offers two pricing options: One is "Workato for your Business" and the other is "Workato for your Product". Workato for your Business is divided into two levels: Required and As needed. Required is the start with your own Workspace, which includes Unlimited Apps, unlimited Connections and unlimited Users. On top of that, i.e. as needed, you can pack your own recipes. These can be purchased individually or as a package of 10, 25, 50 or 100 recipes. Workato promises access to more than 400,000 recipes. And what do these two options cost?
Well, Workato doesn't tell us that. Instead of a price tag, as many competitors like Zapier, Make or PowerAutomate do, Workato only shows us the option "Get a Quote", behind which the aforementioned booking of a demo is hidden. If you fill out the form, you will first be contacted by email to clarify further expectations and wishes. the 30-day trial is therefore somewhat hidden on the page.
"Workato for your Product" offers integrations via an embedded Workato offering. This allows companies to add workflow automation to their product - with minimal to no technical effort. Again, only a demo can be arranged. No price tag, no price range.
Such a pricing strategy suggests that Workato's target group is large companies and enterprises that are willing to request such a demo without prior information. This is a significant difference to tools such as Zapier or Make, which transparently communicate the different subscriptions and prices from the outset. Of course, these two tools also offer individual price requests for large and largest companies, which can be worked out in a close exchange.
In our eyes, however, the time-consuming creation of a test account is a deterrent. At least the free trial should be much easier to complete, so that interested parties can get an idea of Workato before asking for a price. Particularly in view of the fact that cloud automation is still in its infancy, we think such features are immensely important in order to get more and more people excited about it.
Conclusion of our Workato Review: What can the tool do?
Workato's technical possibilities and clear environment definitely convinced us in the test. Here, the tool does not have to hide from Zapier or Make, but exists on an equal footing. However, the comparison of the tools becomes more difficult when it comes to pricing. Workato has a completely different strategy here, which, as already mentioned, is aimed more at enterprises and corporates. Against this background and considering that Workato also supports RPA, Workato could rather be compared to Automation Hero.
Automation Hero also wants to offer a central platform for iPaaS, RPA and AI with the clear target group of corporate groups. In our eyes, this is not a bad business model, but it also entails completely different requirements, especially with regard to data protection and compliance. In view of this strategy, we cannot currently recommend Workato for SMEs. For the required integrations, tools such as Zapier or Make can bring the same added value for standardised and plannable subscriptions. Nevertheless, we are glad that more and more tools are enriching the automation market and are not shying away from enterprises as a target group.
Of course, we hope this Workato review has helped you. However, for those who want to quickly make cloud automation a reality, we recommend Make or Zapier. These tools are proven and successful, especially for SMEs but also for large companies. 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.
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.
IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA
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.