Codeless Automation: IFTTT vs Zapier vs Microsoft Flow

With IFTTT’s total fund raising at over 62 million dollars the codelesss automation workspace has really heated up. With products like IFTTT, Zapier, and Microsoft Flow on the market, automating day-to-day tasks has never been easier. These tools allow you to connect your apps and build automated workflows to be more productive. But these apps each have their own strengths and choosing the right one can be difficult.

In broad strokes IFTTT, Zapier, and Microsoft Flow all perform the same function, to connect apps and automate workflows. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right app has proven difficult because each app fits a different niche. At first glance, choosing the right app is daunting. The interfaces, approach, and verbiage are different on each app yet the most important difference, are the connections to third party apps. The connectors in each app drastically change how each app is used and who uses them.

IFTTT is the most simple of the three. Each workflow has one trigger and one action. Beautifully designed, IFTTT is a great starting place with automation. The clean simple structure of the app ranks IFTTT as a top contender. The low learning curve and easy sign up make it quick and painless to get rolling out automated workflows. The simplicity comes with drawbacks. IFTTT only has single action workflows. As long as your workflows don’t require complex calculations IFTTT may be the perfect fit for what you need to do.

Zapier is another huge competitor in the codeless automation realm. With multi-step workflows Zapier has more options than IFTTT. While not quite as simple as IFTTT, Zapier has a fantastic interface and many are finding the trade-off between simplicity and power worth it. Zapier will allow your workflows to grow more complex than IFTTT making it a strong competitor. Zapier has the most connections to 3rd party apps. These connections along with the elegant design make Zapier a strong competitor in this fierce battle.

Microsoft Flow is the most complex of the three. Flow doesn’t stop with multi-step workflows. Microsoft has designed For-Each and Do-While loops directly into the toolset. If-Then-Else conditionals are included too making it the most powerful codeless automation tool on the market. The other unique aspect of Flow is its direct direct integration to Office 365 and the Microsoft Office product line. This added power makes it more difficult to learn then its competitors IFTTT and Zapier but the direct integration into email, OneDrive, and other products you use every day make it worth learning. If your organization is using Office 365, Microsoft Flow will have the most integrations for your work.

While each app has huge differences in simplicity and power the largest variation comes from the connectors. IFTTT integrates nicely with IOT and tech you’ll find around the house. Turning lights on and off, reminders to meditate each day are some of the most common workflows. IFTTT is the perfect choice if your looking for home and personal automation. Zapier’s most common connectors come from Google’s G Suite. Zapier is the go to choice for people looking to automate their work day while living in Google’s productivity suite. Microsoft Flow’s direct integration with Office 365 makes it an easy choice for those working in Office 365 all day long. Plus the added complexity of Microsoft Flow is a favorite among the hard core automaters.

In summary, all three are fantastic and worth looking into. If you’re not sure where to start, go with IFTTT. It’s simple and easy to get started. If you’re interested in automating your work life you may want to looking into Zapier and Microsoft Flow. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out below or find me on Twitter @gruberjl or LinkedIn.

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