The 10 best Zapier alternatives 2021
Does it make sense to talk about the 10 best Zapier alternatives?
Zapier is the defacto standard for API integration for small and medium-sized businesses. There are many reasons why this is so. They were the first successful standard API integrator, they have the most integration options, and the platform is easy to use.
But is Zapier always the best for everyone and in every case? Logically the answer must be no simply because no product will be best for everybody all the time.
So, this article explores the top 10 best Zapier alternatives. Or rather, we focus on the cases where Zapier might not be your best choice, and we will give you suggestions as to what your best alternative could be.
The five focus areas
Not all IT systems have API that can be used for system integrations. There can be many reasons for this. It could be an older system; it could be that the system owner are not interested in creating API, or it could be that it is simply not possible technically to create APIs. If there are no APIs, it will not be possible for Zapier or anyone else to create integrations.
Zapier is a great tool that gives you a lot of options. For some, this is great. For others, it is more important to handle the integrations as cost-effectively as possible.
Zapier integratates to more than 2000 different systems. So there is a good chance that a Zapier integration covers the systems you work with. However, you might want the systems you work with to behave differently from the standard Zapier integration allows you to do.
Many corporations have created their own business systems or use niche or specialized systems. Zapier does not integrate with such systems, so you will not be able to use the tool for such integrations.
Zapier is known for its excellent support, but it is still a quite technical solution to implement. You need to understand what APIs are and how systems communicate. Many people might not have the knowledge or interest it requires to work with an integration tool.
1. If the lack of APIs is your problem
One of Zapier’s greatest strengths is also its most significant weaknesses: its focus on APIs. Because APIs are great. They enable you to transfer data seamlessly between two systems. They usually cover what you would typically need. But there are always exceptions. Either because APIs do not exist, or because the APIs cannot provide the data you need. Then you are stuck. Because you have no control over how the portals design their APIs, you can risk that the API does not solve your problem.
So what do you do?
The two best alternatives to API integrations are not to use APIs for your integrations. One easy way of doing this is to do a different kind of integration where you bypass APIs.
A smart way of doing this is to use Cognifirm. The Cognifirm integration is done via a free browser plug-in. This enables you to access any system automatically the way as if you where a regular user. So if you need to perform tasks that can not be done via API driven business logic, then you would use the Cognifirm plug-in to do so.
Conventional RPA tools
Another way of solving the problem of a lack of usable APIs is to use a more conventional Robot Process Automation system (RPA). This approach’s advantages would be that you can benefit from a rich business logic that many systems processes. However, the price will be much different from the Cognifirm approach. Mostly because you would have to have or buy a running RPA solution, and this system should then be configured to work with your systems without the use of APIs. If the RPA approach is of interest to you, then you can get an overview of the top 25 free RPA tools in this article.
2. If the price is your greatest concern
Zapier is the marked leader in automated API integration, and this means that their prices would always be higher than the competitors. Simply because their competitors can not match Zapier on the number of API integrations or the tech development they have put into making their platform run smooth, so a competitor can only compete on price. If you are willing to miss out on the span of possible APIs or do not need advanced integration options, it could be relevant to look for cheaper alternatives.
The two best alternatives that are cheaper but still offers a fair amount of features are Integrately and Integromat.
All apps follow different price steps, so it is not fair to claim that one is always X% cheaper because that might not be true for your case. That being said, Integrated is about half the price of what you would expect to pay for Zapier. Another cheaper alternative is Integromat. They have a more flat price structure, which means that you have a free option, and you continue with a 9 USD per month set-up.
3. If business logic automation is your focus
Getting back to Zapiers greatest strength is the ease of implementation, even for a non-tech user. However, this choice means that if you do have a requirement to use advanced business logic, you risk getting trapped in consequence of the simplicity choice that Zapier has made for you.
No-one likes to make more bespoke development than necessary. But you could end up in situations where it is required to make your business run as you need. The advantages of bespoke development are that you control what you get and how the features function. The downside is the price and the dependency that you build towards your IT supplier.
A better way could be to use an RPA tool. Especially if you already have installed RPA in your business. Then it would be logical to investigate if it would be a feasible option. If you do not have RPA tools, then it would probably drive a too high overhead if you were to implement it for one use case only.
Robocorp is free to use for individuals and small businesses. The limit is five users, and the price starts at 200 USD per month for setups above five users. Robocorp.com
4. If you use bespoke or niche systems
Some businesses are in a situation where they use systems designed especially for their business or use systems designed for their particular niche. If this is your case, then there is a very real risk that this is not standard API avalible. Simply because the user volume is too small or because you will not allow API to communicate with your systems.
Such a set-up disqualified Zapier and its direct competitors. So, you need to look for alternatives. This case leaves you with three options:
- Bespoke development
- RPA tools
We have already discussed the alternatives, so you will get short pros and cons for each of them. The bespoke development leaves you in control, and this could be especially interesting if you did the system development yourself. RPA tools could also be an option. Again especially if you already have such tools. The last alternative is Cognifirm that lets you do simple and cost-effective integrations between any online-based systems.
5. If service and support is your main focus
Many companies do not have IT-development as a core competence in their business. So, it would be logical to seek alternatives to Zapier that are easy to use and do not require any technical skills. And if there we any questions, then they would like to be able to get fast and great support.
Suppose this is a core priority to you. In that case, your best option is most likely to get a professional IT development agency to develop a bespoke solution for you. This will make the most sense if they have developed similar solutions for other clients so that you do not have to pay for your integration from scratch.
We hope these reflections on the 10 best Zapier alternatives were of use to you. If not, you still have one option left, and that is to use Zapier :).