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Workflow automation: Zapier vs n8n vs Pipedream

Workflow automation: Zapier vs n8n vs Pipedream

Workflow automation involves using tools such as  Zapier, n8n & pipedream to execute certain operations and activities with no requirement for human intervention. These tools make work more efficient, error-proof, and consistent. When such automation is implemented, simple operations should be automatically carried out on a daily basis to increase overall productivity.

To automate a process, you must first identify the tasks that comprise the job. You have to develop a set of rules and logic then (that is if-then phrases) that controls how those jobs should be carried out. Eventually, the workflow is created using the established business rules & logic.

Companies can eliminate the requirement for human labour and repetitive work by automating workflows. As a consequence, operations become more efficient, and employees devote more time to value-added tasks.

In such times of digitalization, the market is flooded with workflow automation software. However, it is critical to select the automation that is most suited to your organisation. In this article, we’ll look at three popular workflow automation tools: Zapier, n8n, and Pipedream, and check out which works best for you!

Benefits of Workflow Automation

Workflow automation is required if manual procedures are holding you down, producing errors, and cutting into your profitability. Workflow automation automates particular operations and procedures to eliminate some of the challenges associated with human labour. Such automation also has several advantages. 4 of the most significant ones are discussed here.  

1. Boost productivity – Employees notice a difference between before and after you use a workflow automation system. Organizations save a considerable amount of time writing emails & updating data in numerous tools since all operations are automated. Users can follow the development of the workflow process and stay informed.

2. Error reduction – It is impossible to operate with no mistakes. But, you can improve your proactivity in spotting and correcting problems. Workflow automation solutions make it simpler to avoid mistakes from happening at all. And if they do occur, your system identifies the specific place. You may sort out the problems and avoid making the same mistakes again.

3. Easily handle numerous jobs – Whether you need to onboard many workers, handle IT requests, conduct internal surveys, seek marketing material, or authorize trip allowances, everything can be centralized under one roof. Instead of several platforms, requests can be neatly arranged according to different procedures in a single workflow system eliminating confusion or delays.

4. Improved transparency and control – All processes include multiple individuals at various times, yet when activities are handled manually, they are likely to get disconnected from one another. As a result, no one has a comprehensive picture of the process, making it difficult to comprehend, evaluate, and improve. Utilizing workflow automation increases the transparency of your procedures. It allows everyone to observe what occurs prior to and after they are engaged, which provides them with a feeling of control over their job. Automation systems also give useful information about your operations and job fulfilment, allowing you to rapidly identify and improve areas where delays occur.

What is Zapier?

Zapier is a web-based tool that allows you to automate workflows by linking your apps and services. This lets you streamline processes without having to construct your own integration. You do not even have to hire someone to implement this integration for you. It acts as a multi-level connector for over 1000+ business apps. Zapier automates processes by allowing you to construct “Zaps,” which are automated workflows made up of a trigger and one or more actions. When you create and launch a fresh Zap, it will execute its action(s) whenever the trigger event happens. 

SaaS CEOs are frequently observed using 30+ applications within a single day. And that’s inconvenient, repetitious, and time-consuming already before your organization or customer base grows. This is where Zapier comes in. You don’t want to struggle with the boring, mundane, time-consuming job if you’re attempting to expand your business. Rather, your physical and mental energy would be better utilized on something more worthwhile. Zapier will concentrate on automating your company operations in this approach. Whereas you may concentrate on your organization’s progress!

How does Zapier work?

Zapier has an easy-to-use interface to allow users to create “if this, then that” rules that dictate how its automation works. They are known as “zaps,” and they comprise a “trigger” which is an event such as getting an email or a marketing lead. There are also one or more “actions,” such as adding a contact to a spreadsheet.

Step 1 – The simplest method is, to begin with, common automation like triggering a Zap when new leads are added to your CRM or new content is shared across your social media accounts. These templates are easily available in Zapier’s Dashboard and Explore area.

Step 2 – Users can also construct their own zaps. For that, first, you need to choose an app or platform that will serve as the workflow trigger. Then connect this app with your Zapier account, & then choose a trigger “event”. This “event” has to take place in the chosen app to activate the Zap. Next, choose the app (that you have connected) that will conduct the action as well as the event that will be triggered.

Triggers in Zapier
Triggers in Zapier

Taking actions in Zapier
Actions in Zapier

Step 3 – It’s also possible to make multi-step zaps which can perform several activities, all of which are linked to a single string of triggers and actions. Its adaptability allows for a wide range of automation.

Step 4 – Before a zap is launched, it may be further modified by adding further stages like actions, filters to prevent zaps from activating in particular circumstances, delays between phases, and more. Workflows can subsequently be tested to verify if they function properly before being implemented. Once verified, these Zaps can be turned on to do their job.

What is n8n?

N8n is a free and open-source workflow management solution that allows you to link any app to an API. It is a simple, user-friendly, and highly configurable tool that leverages an exceptional user interface to allow you to quickly construct your own automation. It keeps your sensitive data incredibly safe in your own recognized database since it is stored on your server rather than on the cloud. N8n natively supports over 170 different apps, which you can use right now. You can also practically connect any app with an API, utilizing n8n’s open-source and adaptable nature to good use.

How does n8n work?

N8n, like other integration-automation tools, connects to other applications via their APIs. APIs are similar to digital tunnels that permit various programmes to transfer information among themselves without modifying or invading one another. N8n allows its customers to construct automation using the following tools by exchanging App information:

1. Nodes – Nodes serve as connecting points for your n8n automation. Data enters via nodes, is analyzed by these nodes, and exits them too. Automation in n8n is made feasible by connecting such nodes to each other.

2. Connections – These are the paths that link nodes together. If we consider nodes as dots, then connections would be the lines that connect those dots.

3. Trigger nodes – Trigger nodes in n8n initiate automation. They always function as the initial node in the pipeline and serve as a signal for your automation. For example, if you had automation that triggers every time you receive an email, it would begin with this node that fires when a message comes into your inbox.

4. Workflows – In n8n, workflows are canvases for your nodes & their connections. Each process starts with a blank canvas on which you’re able to drag & drop these nodes and connections. Workflows are also what distinguishes your automation.

n8n workflow
N8n Workflow

What is Pipedream?

Pipedream is yet another integration platform that is built as a  developer-first workflow automation tool. Pipedream makes it simple to integrate a variety of apps by integrating with over 400 different API providers.

This tool may be thought of as a halfway ground between building your own customized API connections and using low-code or no-code services. You can drastically reduce development time for many jobs by utilising Pipedream’s building blocks. You can also develop your personal custom code if necessary. Pipedream’s Interface also includes a variety of tools that make debugging and testing your processes easier.

How does Pipedream work?

This section will tell you about essential Pipedream features, which applications and APIs can be combined with Pipedream, and how to start designing your own workflow right away.

1. Create event streams using common APIs – Every API may be turned into an event stream, as well as any event stream can be turned into an API. Pipedream can collect data from your favourite services – Tweets, webhook events, Airtable entries, etc. Then it triggers new events depending on the data that has been.

2. Use Node.js to run complicated integrations – Pipedream is a simple enough system to be used as a no-code platform, yet powerful enough to allow developers to construct customized processes and solutions. Workflows are composed of Node.js stages that are triggered in response to events. You can write your custom Node.js code or utilize the available built-in actions without creating any code. Pipedream lets you schedule workflows and trigger those using a URL, email, or SDK code.

3. Workflow steps – These are the building elements needed to design Pipedream processes. Triggers, code, & actions are the three kinds of steps.

A. Triggers: These are the primary actions that initiate the implementation of a process. Triggers like  Email, HTTP URLs, SDK endpoints, etc. are available in Pipedream.

Triggers in Pipedream
How to Trigger an event in Pipedream

B. Code: These stages are optional but useful for developers who wish to create customized services. Code steps are simply Node.js scripts that can make use of the majority of the 400,000+ packages available on npm.

C. Actions: These are repeatable code steps for connecting and integrating your datasets, APIs, and applications. Pipedream has hundreds of built-in activities, and you can also design and upload your own.

Workflow in Pipedream
Workflow in Pipedream

Pricing –

1. Zapier

Zapier pricing charges on the number of tasks or actions per month.

Types of PlansPrice (in USD)Criteria
Free$0100 tasks*/month
Starter$20.39750 tasks*/month
Professional$49.992K tasks*/month
Team$407.0450K tasks*/month
Company$815.09100K tasks*/month

* A task is counted every time a Zap successfully moves data or completes something for you automatically. This means multiple steps within a single Zap will be counted as multiple tasks.

2. N8n

N8n pricing charges on the number of active workflows or workflow execution per month. 

Types of PlansPrice (in USD)Criteria
Start$21.975 active workflows and 5000 workflow executions
Pro$54.9210 active workflows and 15,000 workflow executions
Power$131.8125 active workflows and 60,000 workflow executions

3. Pipedream

Pipedream offers an extremely generous free trier. Their charging depends on credits and users.

Types of PlansPrice (in USD)Criteria
Free$0100 credits but unlimited users can access this.
Basic$1910,000 credits but 1 user can access this.
Advanced$9950,000 credits but 5 users can access this.
Business$4992,50,000 credits but 10 users can access this.

This article may have helped you gain a sneak peek into various workflow automation tools, but it might still be confusing to choose the most suitable one for your business. To get a more clear idea, speak to our workflow automation expert!

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