Zapier Review

Streamlines our system-to-system task automation at the scale we need

What is our primary use case?

Zapier is more on the notification side. We're doing work for a last-mile logistics company which deals with vegetables, meaning that it's farm to table. They're trying to eliminate storage and they want to make it as fresh as possible to the table itself.

They have their GPS-enabled vehicles, and sometimes trucks, picking it up. So they have to track them all. They have to track all vehicles, whether it's their own or third-party, all the way, for all exceptions, and then suitably handle it.

They also have the delivery sites and there are a lot of exceptions that happen. They use another third party called Bookam for last-mile delivery tracking.

Again, a lot of exceptions happen that are not tracked by Bookam, so we take care of the exceptions. Those events come to us, and through Zapier we then process them all.

It's third-party tracking events, with GPS events on one side, all of which are tracked by the applications. We take the events from them and push it into Zapier for orchestration, and from there on we alert the right parties.

How has it helped my organization?

With Zapier we are easily able to set up a custom notification and event-tracking service in only a few hours as opposed to several days. It has really cut down on the time needed to get up and running with the day-to-day operations in our line of work. 

What is most valuable?

We find it effortless to set up. We really don't have to do anything other than finding the application in the Zapier catalog. And as long as the application has been re-integrated into Zapier, they're able to then just provide the connection details and hook it up.

One thing about being able to select the particular event: If we want to track activity from any third-party application, and then perform some actions on it, whether it is going in and putting something in some database or doing some communication, like an email or whatever. We are able to do so and integrate very easily. So we integrate with Twilio, we integrate with Google Mail, Google SMTP, and then we also integrate with CRM applications, and so on.

So it's an event-orchestrated thing. We're able to very easily pick the events that we want, which is very straightforward, and then be able to perform different actions, some communication, and information and data actions, on that event.

We are able to do that in almost a few hours as opposed to several days. This is what's so exceptionally powerful for us.

What needs improvement?

The only thing that we find that could be better is system-to-user task automation. That's actually where we come in and what gives us work.

System-to-system is fine, but when it comes to system-to-user, where Zapier is helping to communicate to a user, that's a one-way communication. If that user has to perform some action on that notification, the action isn't handled by Zapier. So there's no way to orchestrate that and it's very cumbersome.

If they're able to move Zapier in that direction, with two-way communication between the users and Zapier, it will be very powerful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zapier for two and a half years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable product. The logging is comprehensive and it also has reliable logging applications for all the different states of everything that is logged, which is excellent for troubleshooting issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's possible to scale, but we have not gone too far with it. Given how Zapier is being used currently, I definitely think it's a very scalable product for the volumes that we want. I don't see a problem there.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't think we've had any issues with technical support. The only problems that we have had were more about clarifications, for which we called on maintenance staff. And I believe we didn't have a problem with that, nor did we need to use live support at all.

How was the initial setup?

Everything was very straightforward. The first deployment itself was a couple of days. And then every time we have new requests coming in, they're doing it in a day or two. With all the testing and everything, it takes a couple of days, maximum.

What about the implementation team?

We are a small organization with about four or five people working with Zapier. We are the integrators, and we also do a few other things also that Zapier is not able to do. We address some of those gaps in our own implementation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's very straightforward licensing. There's only one cost you have to pay, and if you want a relevant pricing plan, I think you have two or three different models or packages which include the number of notifications or Zaps, as they call it, that you can program.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before we started using Zapier exclusively we also tried Microsoft Flow (now called Microsoft Power Automate). And there was one more product that we looked at. I don't know if it was Appian or something similar.

Microsoft Flow is definitely one of the solutions that we looked at, but Zapier was much more comfortable for us to use. I think Microsoft Flow had a lot more features, but we didn't need them.

What other advice do I have?

I definitely recommend Zapier if your use case is very similar to ours, meaning that it's a bit of task automation between system-to-system. It's a great product.

And if you want to do any unidirectional communication to users, it's also a great product. But if you want to try and push a notification and then get something back from the user, then it's got shortfalls, and you will need to do something more than just use Zapier.

I would rate Zapier an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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