The Landscape of Automation Softwares

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In light of the recent capital raise by Workato, I thought it prudent to discuss a few of the workflow automation tools out there and where they are strong. I am definitely what I call “the right kind of lazy” and always looking for ways to automate the administrative tasks I have to do.

First, if you are unfamiliar, a workflow automation tool is something that allows you to visually program links between two software programs that otherwise would not integrate. These platforms utilize the application programming interface (API) behind popular tools and give you a way to push and pull data versus having to download and upload. Many of the platforms also allow for manipulation of the data before pushing into the new system. They are increasing the functionality as well and adding in logic arguments (basically a fancy “if” statement like you would use in Excel). 

Here are some of the tools available: 

Zapier

Pros: 

  • Over 2000 connected applications 
  • They have a free version, and the paid version is relatively inexpensive 
  • They integrate with many accounting apps 

Cons: 

  • Zaps can be finicky and require a lot of maintenance 

Workato

Pros: 

  • Enterprise complexity 
  • Works with larger accounting systems (Sage Intacct and Netsuite) 
  • Robust when an integration is built 

Cons: 

  • Extremely expensive 
  • More difficult to setup 

Automate.io

Pros: 

  • Intuitive interface with drag and drop functionality 
  • Easy to add conditional workflows 

Cons: 

  • Only connects to about 200 apps 

Microsoft Power Automate 

Pros: 

  • Included in Microsoft 365 subscription 
  • Deep integrations with all 365 apps 
  • Very complex workflows and logic 
  • Microsoft’s help database is amazing and tells you exactly how to build out what you need 
  • You can see the underlying code if you want to 

Cons: 

  • It can be finnicky at times and break for no reason 
  • It is not as user friendly or pretty as some of the other options 

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