Welcome to the next level of Automation: IFTTT & Zapier after a lot of recent inventions on the Internet of Things to make daily activities easy for the user. There is a new step taken in creating the building block for Workflow Automation. The user didn’t have to worry about repetitive data-transfer and file updating tasks that leech hours of productivity — everyday task, maybe several times a day task, that take a lot of time and mental fortitude. Now, technology will think of that.
Workflow automation tools like Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That), can automate just about anything. Automating repetitive tasks can make the whole team more efficient and reduce costly human errors. Instead of wasting time on tedious data entry, one can focus on the important parts of the job.
IFTTT is both a website and a mobile app that launched in 2010 and stands for “If This Then That”. The idea is to use IFTTT to automate everything from favorite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices.
If someone owns the smart Music system, for instance, it could use IFTTT to automatically turn on Music every time in the morning when the user wants to wake up. In another example, IFTTT also uses for automatic email reading when someone comments on a user Word Press blog.
IFTTT currently supports more than 320 services including Android devices and Apple iOS apps like Reminders and Photos, as well as websites like Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Word Press, YouTube, and more. IFTTT calls them “recipes,” and one can browse recipes made by other people, which makes it easy to come up with ideas for how it can use the service on its own.
Zapier works just like IFTTT, but instead of “recipes” the service calls for actions are “zaps.” Zapier focuses more on business app integration, so it supports niche corporate apps, like Recurly, HelloSign, and MySQL. Zapier is also more customizable than IFTTT.
IFTTT keeps it simple and casual. Zapier keeps it a bit less simple but it has more potential.
IFTTT uses a straightforward single-trigger-single-action process. If this, then that, as the name suggests. IFTTT also provides an even simpler ‘do’ functionality, with which users can make things happen manually without having to provide a trigger beforehand.
The user can access all household appliances with apps via one IFTTT hub. The clean kitchen at a particular time each day or track the refrigerator every time the door is left open for too long in just the one IFTTT app.
Zapier basically does what IFTTT does, but adds the functionality of Multi-step Zaps and Filters. Filters allow you to zoom in and become really specific about the conditions under which a certain Zap should take place, within that one app. If a new Gmail message says “Dear CEO” in combination with “I am afraid to say”, send my team a copy via Slack.
Multi-step Zaps are about performing a whole bunch of actions in different apps based on one trigger. And what’s more, the user can even make up that trigger over different apps. That means the user can get any set of conditions from any number of apps to create a trigger, which instructs any number of apps to do something.
Get a bit of data from Evernote, check the numbers of Trello cards that have been created, and check Google Analytics to see current website traffic …. and if all this is true, notify the team with an “XYZ” message through Slack and Marketo.
Since automation is all about simplifying, it’s important that the software used to do so is easy to use. Otherwise, it ends up wasting more time setting it up than it will save.
To create an IFTTT recipe, all need to do is find the service to act as a trigger, pick the option that triggers it, then pick what has to happen. This can be just about anything as long as IFTTT supports the app user wanted to connect to, from “turning an email into a Trello card” to sending the user an “email when it’s going to rain tomorrow”.
Because of the amount of customization Zapier affords, it’s a little more overwhelming than IFTTT at the start. It can be as simple as IFTTT, with just one trigger leading to one action. Or it can make it so one trigger leads to several actions. Or, if someone really wants to be specific, Zapier supports filters, which make it so triggers only run when it finds keywords. Because of the variety of options, creating even just a two-step zap takes a little more time in Zapier than it does in IFTTT.
For more information on How IFTTT and Zapier work, connect with us at [email protected]