You’ve reached the depths of cloud automation and are completely overwhelmed by the different terms, tools and applications? You read the name of Zapier, Zaps, Workflows and Integrations everywhere and you don’t know what to think anymore? Feel you.
We would like to take this opportunity to present Zapier alternatives and give you an overview of some common cloud automation tools that we think are worth mentioning. Of course, we’ll go into detail about Zapier in advance, but then we’ll start with the Zapier alternatives and what seems worthwhile and useful.
What is Zapier at all?
Zapier is a powerful automation tool that allows countless (over 2,000 in number) applications to be linked together without in-depth programming knowledge to create fully automated workflows. This saves time, increases productivity and takes tiresome, repetitive workflows off your hands. As Zapier experts, we do the whole thing with in-depth programming knowledge anyways in order to realize the full potential of Zapier.
That was too fast?
Alright, Zapier offers automation of apps that you connect to each other in the (admittedly visually very appealing) interface of Zapier. Think of it as a process that you define from start to finish, with lots of “If…, then…” decisions. This is called a workflow. Zapier is characterized by the numerous apps (now over 2,000) that can be integrated. The simple user-interface makes it easy to enter the world of automation, saving you time and effort.
With so-called zaps, so individual process steps within the automation, different apps can be connected and thus workflows can be run individually and efficiently. The whole thing simply saves an enormous amount of time and effort and often takes over exactly those tasks that, admittedly, nobody likes to do.
But: Zapier is not alone in the automation market and that’s why we want to present some alternatives and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the individual tools. There are some (free) Zapier alternatives that are not so well-known, but still offer a number of impressive features. Let’s get started.
First of all: If you want to dive deeper into Zapier, we already have a more detailed blog post about it here. Zapier is available in a free and various premium versions.
Here are some of the most important features (though not all of them are free):
Connect over 2,000 apps (free and premium)
User-friendly workflow editor for creating workflows / zaps (free of charge)
Integrated Zapierapps (free of charge)
Multi-level workflows and conditional logic (Premium)
Collaboration tools for organizations and teams (Premium)
Extensive support (free of charge)
Zapier offers five plans for individuals and companies, professionals and beginners, large and small teams. With the “free” version you can start right in, but as you may realize directly, you won’t get very far with it. A maximum of five zaps (read: process steps) are included. This is extremely few and the limit is reached quickly.
In our experience, the Professional Plan is necessary for most clients. There are also so-called Zapier paths, which are extremely important for high-performance and sustainable automation. Imagine these Zapier Paths like "If…, then…". functions that are also available in Excel. Especially for automations that contain conditions, this function is indispensable.
Moreover, the Professional Plan offers 2,000 Zaps per month. What does this mean? We calculate it like that:
Per Zap customers have (according to experience) a time saving of approx. 16 cent per minute. This means that the Professional plan saves you about 520€ in employee costs and time, which corresponds to an hourly wage of 20€ gross from the employer's point of view. And this is only the cost side.
During the newly won time employees can fulfill different, hopefully more valuable, tasks.
Sure, even with 2,000 zaps it is realistic that you will reach the limit at some point. But zaps are rebookable (for 2 cent flat per zap). Sometimes the individual zaps can also be reduced by more intelligent automation.
Advantages and disadvantages
Code execution - Hell Yeah! You can write Python or .js? Then automate your tools even better with some code
Error Tracking - The error tracking and the examples help a lot. You get "dummy", data to create zaps and you can see immediately if the integration will work.
UX and Design - This is a matter of taste for sure, but we think Zapier is sexy
Replay - if something hasn't worked out, just start over again
Number of Apps - over 2,000 Apps plus varios hidden Beta-Apps
Whoops, I would like to select another app as a trigger - unfortunately this is not possible. Once you have created your zaps, you can't change anything without deleting everything. This is really time-consuming and annoying. Simply "swap out" an app is not possible.
API integration - it's often half-heartedly integrated and much more attention is paid to marketing. Often, we experience that an "APP" is on Zapier, but on closer inspection 90% of the functions are missing.
Overview when things get complex - In Zapier, a maximum of 3 paths go in one path, simply put, you can nest your if-then function a maximum of two times. And you have to look into the "box" each time, this gets confusing quickly
Have Zapier implemented by a professional: We'll be happy to advise you on your individual automation with Zapier. Whether business processes or customer journeys, we will help you in a 30-minute free consultation.
Well, well, our old friend Make. What would a blog post about Zapier alternatives be without Make? Well, here are the facts:
At first sight, Make is certainly very similar to Zapier. Make also lets you link applications together in a simple interface and thus build whole processes. Via the JSON or HTTP/SOAP modules you can also link to other web services and realize even more automation.
However, there are some major differences, which we'd like to address here.
At first glance, the picture is very similar to that of Zapier. Make offers a free and further premium versions with different monthly costs as well.
But then differences come to play:
At Make you get more out of your money: the free version allows 1,000 process steps (Make calls it Operations), remember: at Zapier you get 100 process steps (Zaps) for 0€. Furthermore, there is no limitation on applications, so you can automate your 28-step process directly for testing. This is where Make has the edge.
Which we find extremely impressive too: If you reach your limit at Make, you can easily update your account by 10,000 operations for 9$. Somebody has thought along here.
Advantages and disadvantages
Modularity - pick your process together and build your processes more intuitively. Simply rearrange a process, it works.
Execution - you see in detail what happens under the hood and which data goes where
GDPR - Make is a european company which attaches great importance to security and data protection. Why this is so important, you can read here.
Possibilities - you have much more technical possibilities to format data and map complex business processes
Data Storage - save data and results for other processes
No code execution - How we would love to extend a list .append(). Well, that does not work. A pity! Only with the tools, text parsers and flow controls you can create lists, but real For-Loops (like in Python) are not possible.
Complexity and documentation - Make can do a lot, but is too complex at first sight, even worse: the documentation is horrible. This becomes visible under the documentation, here Make asks "was the post helpful?" Unfortunately it often looks like that:
Users rate Make documentation as pretty bad
Time expenditure - we invest more time in customer projects with Make, because they require more tests and more error fixes than Zapier.
Surprise: As Make partner we offer the full range of cloud automation services for this Zapier alternative as well. We would be happy to advise you on your individual automation and clarify whether Zapier or Make is a better fit. Make an appointment now for a 30-minute free consultation.
Automate.io advertises with the slogan "Automate like Fortune 500" and thus sets high standards for its own service. Here too, everything revolves around the integration of cloud applications. Automate.io calls the resulting workflows "bots" and from marketing sales to e-commerce to business processes, a lot can be automated with this Zapier alternative.
If you look through the list of supported apps, you'll quickly notice that some apps still have "coming soon" written on them, such as Wrike, Salesforce, Instagram or OneDrive. In our eyes, these are very important and frequently used applications, so it pays directly into the cons account. But first to the pricing:
Automate.io also shows the proven picture: One Free Version and five different Premium Versions. With 5 single-action bots, a similar problem as with Zapier opens up: The Free Version reaches its limit very quickly and thus hardly makes any sense. The next package, Startup, with 49$ per month is directly much more expensive than the Free Version (for comparison: Make offers the beginner packages for 9$ and Zapier for 19,99$). The most expensive package, however, is comparatively cheap. One question remains: how many customers make use of the Enterprise package at all.
Since we do not offer Automate.io for our customers, we do not have any experience in this area and cannot recommend which package is appropriate. The Business Package for 199$ with 100,000 actions per month seems to be sufficient for many projects. What makes our stomach ache are the 200 bots, that could be a bit tight for some customers.
Advantages and disadvantages
Ease of use - Automate.io is extremely quick to set up with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. No programming skills are required
Across all plans, Automate.io offers more actions (called tasks in Zapier) per month. If Zapier only runs 100 tasks per month in the free plan, Automate.io will run 500.
There's basically one huge disadvantage for Automate.io and this is also the reason why we do not offer this tool for our customers: The extrtemely limited number of apps. If fundamental applications like OneDrive or Salesforce are missing, Automate.io is unattractive for almost all customers and both Zapier and Make offer exactly that.
Furthermore, the pricing-gaps between the individual packages are very large. If we activate the Professional Plan at Zapier for $49 (billed annually) for customers with a clear conscience, we won't get anywhere near that with the startup version of Automate.io for the same price (billed monthly).
IFTTT - if this then that as a Zapier alternative for private use
IFTTT is the free way to personalize technical experiences by connecting all your devices and apps. Amazon Alexa, Philipps Hue, Instagram, Language Assistants, the applications advertised are versatile, and with Smart Home, IFTTT focuses on a field that no other of the presented tools can match. IFTTT also focuses on Fintech customers, which is also a unique selling point in this list.
Don't be confused by the $199 Developers Plan: that's the price you pay if you want to offer your app or service through IFTTT, not the amount you pay as a user. The pricing for IFTTT is very simple at first glance: it's free. Period.
Well, almost. For private users the Zapier alternative is free. But for commercial customers there is no sleek price overview as with the other tools. That is because the tool addresses mainly private users at this point.
Unlimited Applets - What Zapier calls Zaps, IFTTT calls applets and they are indeed unlimited. In the free Zapier version there are five…
Smart Home, as already mentioned, is a field that hardly any automation platform can cover and is comprehensively covered by IFTTT: Refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes dryers and other household appliances can be centrally connected and controlled
Over 600 services, including apps, business tools, cloud platforms and email providers, as well as the aforementioned physical devices, can be accessed and connected using IFTTT
The dashboard is not that intuitive, creating new applets takes some time to get used to
In case you don't find a fitting Applet, you can create your own one. However, this is, especially in comparison to Zapier, not that easy of a task
In case you change your access data, password, e-mail, user name, etc., there may actually be errors during execution. The same can happen if one of the linked services changes its API access or even stops it completely. An unpleasant surprise
Power Automate as a Zapier Alternative within the Microsoft world
Power Automate is the cloud automation software from and for Microsoft applications. What used to be called Microsoft Flow is now Power Automate with a clear focus on all Office365 applications. But since many companies use exactly these applications day in, day out, Power Automate deserves a place in this comparison. The complexity of the possible automations is also remarkable. With conditions like "For-Each" and "Do-While" or "If-then-else" complex automations are possible without code.
Unlike the price tables of the previous tools, Power Automate pays per user. However, unlimited active flows (workflows) are available for this person. It becomes clear that users are encouraged to create their own flows, depending on their individual wishes and requirements. Of course, this requires the users to have the technical understanding for this. Alternatively, service providers like us can set up the corresponding integrations for the customers.
As the only one in this list, Power Automate also offers (as they so nicely call it: supervised) RPA. This is significantly more expensive than the plan without RPA and reaffirms why cloud automation is definitely preferable to RPA.
Finally, there is also the option to pay $500 for five flows per month. Here, unlimited users are provided, which of course makes sense for companies with a large number of employees.
All in all, the pricing of Power Automate is different from Zapier and the other Zapier alternatives, which is why the prices cannot be compared as directly. However, for $500 a month you are already set up comprehensively and hardly limited in the number of workflows, users or actions, with Zapier, Automate.io or Make, which makes Power Automate certainly one of the most expensive tools on this list.
Advantages and disadvantages
Power Automate Pros
Power Automate offers thousands of templates that you can use to start right in. Of course, applications outside the Microsoft environment, such as Facebook, are also integrated
Power Automate has a really useful mobile app for iOS and Android with which you can monitor your automations on the go
If you use the per-user license, you can immediately create an unlimited number of flows, which is certainly a good deal if you have one or less people for $15 a month and a lot of flows
Power Automate Cons
Although Power Automate focuses on users without any technical knowledge, comprehensive scenarios quickly become very complex. Depending on the level of technical knowledge, not all users will be happy with this
Similiar to automate.io, Power Automate simply can't compete with the great amount of Apps integrated in Zapier
Conclusion: Which Zapier Alternatives are worthwile?
The best way to decide this is, of course, for yourself. This blog post should give new food for thought and an insight in our experience. For business use we are clearly Team Zapier and Make. Both tools have different advantages for different projects and customers. We usually decide from project to project which tool is better suited after we know the exact requirements.
Power Automate is extremely mature and powerful for the Microsoft environment. But that is exactly when the limits of this Zapier alternative open up for our customers: Since both Zapier and Make support Office365 as individual applications, but also many more, the choice is usually made in their favor. Sorry for that.
As already mentioned, automate.io simply does not offer enough applications that are supported at this point of time. The same applies to Power Automate. Here, both Zapier and Make are much further ahead, so the tools are not really a Zapier alternative for us.
IFTTT is a really great gimmick for private use and technology geeks. This is exactly where the focus of the application lies. The business model is not mature yet, which is why it is not a Zapier alternative at this point in time. However, we are curious what the developers will come up with in the near future. We keep an eye on it.
If after this post you have decided to have Zapier or a Zapier alternative such as Make or Power Automate implemented by professionals, we are at your disposal. Just make a free appointment today for automation & IT consulting. Or write us a message.
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.