Workflow Automation Tools: How Do You Pick the Best One?
Choosing a workflow automation software isn’t an easy task. According to G2, there are over 169 iPaaS solutions on the market. Even worse, there are only a handful that are actually a good fit for your business. So how in the world are you supposed to pick the best one?
Below, we’ll summarize the aspects that you should consider and show you how to find the relevant information online. Read on to find your next workflow automation software.
There’s a workflow automation software for everyone. Some solutions cater to small businesses (like Zapier), some solutions cater to medium-sized businesses (like Elastic.io), and some solutions cater to enterprises (like Pie Sync).
There are also solutions that target multiple segments of the market.
Automate.io provides plans for both small- and medium-sized businesses. Workato provides plans for medium-sized businesses and enterprises. And Make provides plans for businesses of all sizes. From curious beginners who use free and basic plans to SMBs who use standard business plans to enterprises who use custom plans, anyone can use Make to integrate their apps and build automations.
With this in mind, make sure you know which workflow automation company has tailored their product for businesses of your size -- their costs and features will be best-suited for your company. In G2, you can do this by filtering by market segment.
Image Source: G2
Obviously, if a workflow automation software has high ratings, that’s something to take note of. But make sure that they have a significant number of ratings. You want to choose the platform that a lot of people rate highly, not just a handful of super fans.
Image Source: Capterra
Two workflow automation solutions can have a similar rating, price, and features, but written and video reviews on G2 and Capterra actually give you a glimpse into how much it’s improving their customers’ work.
Reviews can reveal that customers have effectively tackled the same problems you’re facing. They can also offer valuable feedback on things that are relevant to your specific situation, like ease of use and quality of customer service. Additionally, you can see customers’ enthusiasm (or lack thereof) in the manner that they write or talk about the product. If every review about a product is glowing, then, odds are, it’s going to make you feel the same way.
The solutions with the most customer reviews are likely the better solution, too. More of their customers are going out of their way to rave about them than their competitors’ customers are. So make sure to devour each platform’s reviews before you decide on one.
Image Source: G2
Price and value
Obviously, affordability is a crucial aspect that you need to consider when choosing a workflow automation software. But what’s just as critical to evaluate is each solution’s value for money or your bang for your buck. One workflow automation software could offer a plan that’s a little more expensive than another solution’s competing plan, but the former’s could provide a lot more capabilities.
With this in mind, pick the subscription plan that fits within your budget but also has the highest potential ROI. Each workflow automation software shares its pricing plans and their corresponding product capabilities on their website.
Summary of features
If you know what features you’re looking for in a workflow automation software, each of their websites should have a comprehensive catalog of their product features. Both G2 and Capterra also list each solution’s features on their profile. If you don’t know what features you’re looking for, research what features a typical workflow automation software should have.
Any new software can be difficult to implement and get started with. Fortunately, if a workflow automation software has onboarding videos and documents that can help you install their product into your systems and teach you how to use it, then you can save a ton of time, squeeze a lot more value out of the product, and be way more productive in the long-run.
In Capterra, you can find this information under the Deployment & Support section in each vendor’s profile. You should also ask each vendor’s sales team how they plan to onboard you if you sign on.
Image Source: Capterra
Another aspect to consider is whether each solution’s native onboarding experience (think microcopy, suggestions, and learning paths) is simple, clear, and easy-to-follow. This can help you flatten the learning curve without the help of any onboarding documents or videos, which can potentially take up a lot of your time.
Additionally, do a little research online and see if each workflow automation software has an active community of users who help troubleshoot issues. They could be on a social media group, a forum, or Reddit. These types of communities can give you a prompt and thorough answer to even your most pressing questions.
Just like onboarding documents and videos, a customer support team can save you a bunch of time, wring significantly more value out of the product for you, and boost your productivity in the long-run if you ever run into an issue with the product.
Maybe there’s a function that you don’t know how to use. Or a documentation page that you can’t seem to find anywhere. Ideally, the workflow automation software you pick will have a customer support team that can help you out with these things.
At the very minimum, each solution should support you through FAQs, a knowledge base on their website, a help desk, and a chat feature on their website.
On Capterra, you can find this information under the Deployment & Support section in each workflow software’s profile. You should ask each solution’s sales team how they plan to support you if you sign on.
It is important to note, however, that support can be one thing on paper and an entirely different thing in reality. To find out how each solution actually supports its customers, sift through user reviews on G2 and Capterra to see how they actually tend to customers -- and not just how they claim to tend to them.
If a workflow automation software has an active community dedicated to optimizing the solution on Slack, a forum, or a social media group, then it’s a good sign that their product actually helps their customers and provides a ton of value to them. It’s also a good sign that you’ll be able to use their product to its full potential.
Another indication that you’ll be able to fully optimize their solution is if it has a wide range of consultants available. Check out Upwork and Fiverr to see if there’s plenty for hire and if they charge an affordable rate.
It’s always important to read the fine print. A workflow automation software could definitely lock you down into a contract for a length of time that isn’t feasible for your business. You won’t be able to cancel your subscription, even in dire circumstances.
Ideally, you should try to partner with a workflow automation software that lets you opt-out like you can with Netflix or other consumer subscription services. If you can’t, make sure their contract length isn’t anything unreasonable.
When you select software vendors, you want to partner with the ones that will grow with you, meaning that as you both scale, you’ll be in lockstep with each other. In regards to your workflow automation software provider, one of the biggest indicators that you will grow together is if you identify with or share the same vision for the future of automation as them.
You can usually find their vision for automation on their “About” page or mission statement. You can also ask the solution’s sales team what their vision is. If they don’t give you a clear answer, then that’s probably a sign that the organization is misaligned or too short-sighted right now.
Company growth and stability
Knowing whether a provider is in a solid financial position or not is another critical aspect to consider when selecting a workflow automation software.
For instance, Make was profitable for most of its existence and never benefited from the aid of any external funding. The company grew at a consistent, sustainable rate for years before Celonis acquired them. Now, they have the full support of an enterprise company with over $1.4 billion in funding, allowing them to innovate and grow at an unprecedented clip.
For other companies that are backed by venture capital, it’s important to find out whether they’re bound for another injection of capital or if they’re running on fumes. You don’t want to partner with a company that is scrambling to survive or, even worse, hanging by thread.
Picking the Right Workflow Automation Tool for Your Business
Over the years, the iPaaS market has experienced an explosion of growth, and it’s predicted to skyrocket at a blistering pace. More and more companies are starting to realize that workflow automation software isn’t just a nice-to-have anymore. It’s a must-have.
But you can’t just pick the most popular or recognized solution and expect to see results. You need to pick the right one for your business. In order to do this, we recommend following these four steps:
1. Rate every solution on each of the aspects covered above on a scale of 1-5. Then whittle down your list to the solutions that have the highest scores.
2. Test the free versions of your top solutions. It’s crucial to get a feel for their product.
3. Immerse yourself into the communities of your top solutions. Get a sense of how users interact with the product, which common issues they share, and what type of support they provide.
4. Check to see if there are any particular plans or benefits for your specific situation. For instance, Make offers free premium plans to students and faculty members.
After running through this process, we’re confident that you’ll be able to pick the right workflow automation software for your business.