Top 10 Best Automation Tools in 2021

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    No one could deny, 2020 has been tough: pandemic has cast aside most of our plans and completely transformed our office lives.

    Most of the companies are still trying to adapt to this transformation and strive to make at least 2021 float as planned.

    Here is the good news: to make the upcoming year a little bit safer in terms of digital transformation we have created a list of the best automation tools in 2021. 

    Why? It’s simple. Because we believe that automation is a key to success in today’s world. Irrespective of the size of a business, automation not only helps businesses to accelerate the operations internally but provides them with a competitive advantage externally.

    But what is automation? Which factors should we consider in choosing automation tools in 2021? What problems can you solve using these automation tools and what are the advantages? 

    In this article, we will answer these questions and provide you with an overview of the 10 best automation tools for businesses in 2021 – from Robotic Process Automation to application connectors – and will show you some useful features of each. 

    What is automation?

    Automation is an application or implementation of technology to a business operation or individual activity to control, monitor, or/and accelerate it. 

    What are the advantages of using automation tools?

    Automation tools in 2021 may become an integral part of your business strategy, as they are an efficient means of streamlining your operations and creating added value for both your organization and customers.  

    The good thing about automation is that it assists in achieving the standard marketing goals but in a more efficient way and within a shorter time frame. Here are these goals:

    • Attracting new customers
    • Nurturing leads
    • Building stable client relationships
    • Improving conversion rate

    Apart from improving the quality of the processes, automation is a great choice in case business owners strive for cost reduction and enhanced growth.

    Which factors should you consider while selecting automation tools in 2021?

    The answer to this question is quite simple. The same factors which we typically consider while selecting any software:

    • Features
    • Ease of use
    • Pricing
    • Integrations

    Below we will consider automation tools for various business areas:

    • Workflow automation 
    • Project management automation 
    • E-commerce automation 
    • Marketing automation 
    • Accounting automation 
    • Internal communication 
    • External communication 
    • Customer service automation 
    • Integration automation 
    • Analytics automation 

    1. Workflows: ElectroNeek RPA

    ElectroNeek is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tool to automate boring desktop and browser tasks of repetitive nature.

    What can you automate with ElectroNeek?

    The main criterion that stands ElectroNeek out of its competitors is the ease of use (ElectroNeek has been ranked as one of the easiest-to-use RPA platforms by G2 and Capterra). Even if you have never dealt with JavaScript before or any other coding languages you can easily build your first automation in ElectroNeek Studio Integrated Development Environment. The process is represented below. You simply drag and drop the activity blocks and build an algorithm for automating simple to sophisticated automation tasks.

    In this video: How you can automate accounting routine using ElectroNeek

    Apart from being an RPA tool with the lowest coding barrier to starting, ElectroNeek provides limitless scalability opportunities. It is the only RPA tool where you do not need licenses for each automation you have built. Pay only for an IDE license and use it to create tens, hundreds, or even thousands of automation projects. Moreover, make your projects shine, using Orchestrator to manage the automations from one Control Room, and Productivity Analytics to discover and analyze bots and their performance.

    Among the most popular examples of Robotic Process Automation in business are: accounts receivable and payable, customers onboarding, employee onboarding, payroll, qualification of leads, CRM management automation.

    What problems ElectroNeek solves: cost inefficiency, inefficient time consumption, human errors caused by manual repetitive labor, poor customer service, employees low productivity and morale, legacy system automation.

    Features:

    • Web scraping
    • UI testing
    • Data Migration
    • Email parsing
    • Excel and .CSV automation
    • Legacy workflows

    Integrations:

    • Asana
    • Dropbox Business
    • Gmail
    • Google Calendar
    • Jira
    • Microsoft 365
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Microsoft Outlook
    • QuickBooks Online Advanced
    • Slack
    • Zapier
    • Zendesk

    Pricing: $400/month for the Studio IDE

    Free offerings: Online Academy, Community forum, Knowledge base, Care Team

    2. Project management: Monday

    Monday is an efficient project management tool used for work planning, task structuring, and teams’ activity management.

    What can you automate with Monday?

    Monday helps teams to stay up to date with all their activities and backlogs on a common calendar as well as to keep track of each customer-related project on separate boards. You can accompany the tasks with statuses, upload files and leave comments, feedback on each client or activity you work with, or even use the ‘mention’ function to bring any important message to relevant team members. Apart from all the pros listed above, it has a really clean interface and good navigation. 

    In this video: Monday in 60 seconds

    You can use Monday for various business activities including but not limited to: full-cycle project management, marketing campaigns, strategy, and budget planning, sales and customer relationship management, remote work, flexible sprints, and release management

    What problems Monday solves: confusion related to team members’ activities, disorganization, bad planning, poor communication with customers

    Features:

    • Customizable Fields
    • Email updates
    • Due date tracking
    • Tags & Keywords
    • Time tracking by project
    • PipeDrive integration
    • Visual progress display
    • Execution board
    • User access controls

    Integrations:

    • GitHub
    • Google Drive
    • Google Calendar
    • Dropbox Business
    • Microsoft Outlook
    • Microsoft OneDrive
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Microsoft Teams
    • Zapier
    • Trello
    • Slack
    • Jira
    • Gmail
    • Zendesk
    • Box

    Pricing: starting from $39.00/month

    Free Offerings: 14 days of a free trial, no credit card needed, 30-day money-back guarantee

    3. E-commerce automation tool: Shopify

    Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides a straightforward solution to easily sell on the Internet.

    What can you automate with Shopify?

    Shopify has the full range of features to make the shop management seamless from basic abandoned cart recovery notifications to a bunch of integrations and the most popular payment solutions, retail-specific tools, an online storefront, and even content marketing tools to address your shoppers needs through your e-commerce blog.

    In this video: What is Shopify?

    Shopify provides clear product management: the product items can be added using photos, SEO functionality, and color editing tools. The customizability of Shopify makes it an indispensable e-commerce tool – you can even hire a Shopify expert to guide you through the whole process. So you can stop being nervous about the routine and focus on improving your sales strategy and marketing offers. 

    What problems Shopify solves: a lack of knowledge and expertise in building your own e-commerce business, the hassle of switching among tens of tools and platforms to manage sales, inventory disorganization, and variations-related fuss.

    Among the businesses where Shopify can be a good solution are physical products, digital products, and services, memberships, ticketed experiences, rentals. 

    Features:

    • Abandoned checkout recovery
    • 70 payment gateways
    • Customizable domain name
    • Secure shopping cart -256-bit SSL
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Product reviews, Discount codes, and coupons
    • Sell on Facebook, in-store (POS)
    • Gift Cards
    • Translation in 50+ languages
    • 100+ professional themes

    Integrations

    • ActiveCampaign
    • Zendesk
    • Zapier
    • WordPress
    • Stripe
    • PayPal
    • QuickBooks Online Advanced
    • Mailchimp
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Xero
    • Constant Contact

    Pricing: starting from $29.00/month

    Pricing model: Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    4. Marketing: Hubspot Marketing Hub

    Hubspot Marketing Hub is a full-cycle Hubspot suite that offers a vast number of tools for inbound marketing campaigns management.

    What can you automate with Hubspot Marketing Hub?

    Hubspot Marketing Hub offers numerous features to grow traffic, increase conversion rate, and launch complete scalable marketing campaigns. 

    It has all the capabilities to help you identify your target audiences, create the best-fit marketing offers, and streamline your business. 

    In this video: Introducing Marketing Hub

    Users that leverage Hubspot Marketing hub note its ease of use that allows creating if-then logic to create automated workflows and require no coding skills. Using these workflows you can manage email marketing, automated team tasks, customer service, reminders, and build any sequences you need to nurture leads.

    What problems Marketing Hub solves: inconsistent marketing strategy, poor analytics and lead nurturing, data storage and migration platforms.

    Features:

    • Lead generation
    • Marketing automation
    • Analytics
    • Tickets
    • Customer feedback
    • Knowledge base
    • Advanced CRM
    • Meeting scheduling
    • Quotes
    • Drag-and-drop editor
    • SEO recommendations
    • Website themes

    Integrations

    • Big Commerce
    • Google AdWords
    • Hubspot CRM
    • Magento Commerce
    • Mailchimp
    • LinkedIn
    • Marketo Engage
    • Shopify
    • Slack
    • Stripe
    • WooCommerce
    • Zapier
    • Zendesk

    Pricing: starting from $50.00/month

    Pricing model: Free, Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    5. Accounting: Sage Business Cloud Accounting

    Sage Business Cloud Accounting is accounting software that supports business owners in accounting processes automation.

    What can you automate with Sage Business Cloud Accounting?

    Sage Business Cloud Accounting allows for tracking all the financial operations. The platform helps in forecasting the cash flow, invoice and payment management, reducing manual data entry, building clear reports from the cloud and mobile. 

    In this video: Opening balances in Sage Business Cloud

    Sage Business Cloud Accounting is launched in the browser so it does not require setting up a separate server for all the accounting operations and the capabilities to have access to the system from any device including mobile make Sage Business Cloud Accounting one of the most technologically advanced accounting software. The report building is another strong feature thanks to the variety of integrations and customization tools. 

    In June 2020 Sage has partnered with ElectroNeek to facilitate RPA initiatives within the accounting community.

    What problems Sage Business Cloud Accounting solves: data storage issues, limited access to the accounting system.

    Features:

    • Accountant Access
    • Bank Statement Imports
    • Dashboards
    • Drill Downs
    • Mobile Applications
    • Online
    • Recurring Invoices
    • Report Designer
    • Reporting
    • Sales/Purchases
    • Support
    • To-Do List

    Integrations

    • Stripe
    • Workato

    Pricing: On-demand

    6. Internal Communication: Slack

    Slack is a workplace desktop and mobile communication tools.

    What can you automate with Slack?

    Slack connects colleagues both with each other and work tools and apps to give the best team practices. Slack teams communicate via channels, which can be organized based on projects, locations, departments, and so on. It has both private and public channels, so you can track any work process within team activities. 

    In this video: What is Slack?

    Unlike the standard messengers, Slack has a great structure, with a clear hierarchy of channel, messages within channels and threads linked to particular messages, and a side window thread which does not mix with any other general thread. This makes communication extremely organized and clear.  

    The integrations with other apps make the project management more seamless, e.g. you can share files using Dropbox integration. 

    Moreover, all the data in Slack are encrypted, so you may cast aside any data safety concerns. 

    What problems Slack solves: compartmentalization of team members, weak project management, negative corporate culture.

    Features

    • Public and private channels
    • 1:1 direct messaging
    • File Sharing
    • Tags, keywords & @mentions
    • Always In Sync
    • Activity logging
    • Activity tracking
    • Open API to build your integrations
    • API availability
    • Chat functionality
    • Collaborative workspace
    • Notifications
    • Contact history
    • File transfer
    • Compliance management
    • Deep, Contextual Search
    • 1:1 and group calls
    • Screen sharing
    • Search functionality
    • Drag & drop interface

    Integrations

    • Box
    • Dropbox Business
    • GitHub
    • Gmail
    • Google Drive
    • Jira
    • Microsoft OneDrive
    • Salesforce Sales Cloud
    • Trello
    • Twitter
    • Zapier
    • Zendesk

    Pricing: starting from $8.00/month

    Pricing model: Free, Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    7. External communication: MailChimp

    Mailchimp is an automated newsletters tool that allows users to create and analyze email campaigns.

    What can you automate with Mailchimp?

    The enhanced analytics and statistics incorporated in Mailchimp reports offer transparency and in-depth campaign insights. 

    In this video: How to create marketing campaigns in Mailchimp

    Apart from the basic mailing features incorporated into the platform, there is also some great added functionality such as agency access, segmentation and tagging within an audience, automated a/b testing and re-hitting the contacts that did not open the email and, a variety of templates that can be used for any business needs. The interface is user friendly and mostly based on drag and drop. 

    What problems Mailchimp solves: expensive plans for starters, lack of automation features, low customization level.

    Features:

    • Custom signup forms
    • Import Excel lists
    • Performance monitoring
    • Order notifications
    • Automatic link checker
    • Sales & website activity tracking
    • Built-in photo editing
    • Custom forms
    • Campaign segmentation
    • Content management
    • Retargeting
    • Customizable email templates
    • Data import and synchronization
    • eCommerce integration
    • Social media integration
    • Automated scheduling
    • Customer segmentation
    • A/B split campaigns & multivariate testing

    Integrations:

    • BigCommerce
    • Drupal
    • Facebook
    • Google Analytics
    • HubSpot CRM
    • HubSpot Marketing Hub
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Salesforce Sales Cloud
    • Shopify
    • Slack
    • Stripe
    • Twitter
    • WooCommerce
    • WordPress
    • Zapier
    • Zendesk

    Pricing

    • Starting from: $10.00/month
    • Pricing model: Free, Subscription
    • Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    8. Customer Service: Zendesk

    Zendesk is a helpdesk tool that offers features to enhance customer satisfaction and agent productivity.

    What can you automate with Zendesk?

    Zendesk developers believe that everything becomes from customer experience and are eager to provide the best solutions to reach a superior customer experience. The tool offers an end-to-end solution to support requests. With Zendesk you can accelerate your customer service workflows using email and messenger notifications, adding tags to tickets, incorporating varied fields in the forms, automating some workflows through macros, and enhanced reporting capabilities.

    In this video: Zendesk overview demo

    Among other notable advantages are a clean user experience with easy to use elements and flexibility in terms of user and groups permissions.

    What problems does Zendesk solve: lack of functionality, the complexity of platforms, lack of analytics.

    Features:

    • Audit logs
    • Answer Bot
    • A branded customer-facing web interface
    • Flexible ticket management with automated workflow
    • Open API
    • Group rules and macros
    • Knowledge base
    • Export ticket views to CSV
    • Multi locale (timezone and languages)
    • Full CSS rebranding
    • Multi-channel support: email, web, phone, chat, social media
    • Over 100 out-of-the-box integrations with 3rd party apps
    • Multi-brand support with linked accounts
    • Multiple ticket forms
    • Email compliance archive
    • Public and private forums
    • Custom roles & permissions
    • Custom business rules (triggers & automations)
    • Overview dashboard

    Integrations

    • BigCommerce
    • Facebook
    • Google Analytics
    • HubSpot CRM
    • Jira
    • Joomla
    • Magento Commerce
    • Mailchimp
    • Pipedrive
    • PrestaShop
    • Salesforce Sales Cloud
    • Shopify
    • Slack
    • SugarCRM
    • WordPress
    • Zapier
    • Zoho CRM

    Pricing: starting from $5.00/month

    Pricing model: Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    9. Integration automation tool: Zapier

    Zapier is an integration tool that offers automation of daily tasks executed within 2 applications.

    What can you automate with Zapier?

    In Zapier you create ‘zaps’ which are defined by actions and can be repeated in case certain triggers are set up. These triggers may include receiving an email in a Gmail app from a pre-set email address, and actions may be SMS notifications. 

    In this video: How to create your first Zap in Zapier

    Zapier is an extremely flexible and customizable tool that allows you not only to enjoy the limitless integrations they have but create your own automations using webhooks and code blocks. Some users would say that it is a little bit complex. So yes, coding skills would definitely help but the efforts are much rewarded as the reliability of the tool and the zaps flexibility would allow you to automate and interconnect a wide range of apps within marketing, sales, or hr workflows. An example of using Zapier in email communication: choosing the data from an email list to be automatically pulled to some other application or database.

    What problems Zapier solves: manual data processing, overtimes, human errors.

    Features:

    • Ongoing maintenance of all APIs
    • On/Off “Zap” control
    • Publically share apps
    • Activity Dashboard
    • Online Zap templates
    • Online user community
    • Connect over 300 applications
    • Automate repetitive tasks
    • Ongoing sync among apps
    • Request apps to be added
    • Updates on new apps
    • Connected accounts management
    • Set up triggers and actions
    • Sync with Google Calendar
    • Online developer portal
    • Add an app to Zapier
    • Automatic “Zap” running

    Integrations:

    • Bitium
    • Box
    • Dropbox Business
    • Facebook
    • GitHub
    • Google Drive
    • Jira
    • Mailchimp
    • Microsoft 365
    • PagerDuty
    • Salesforce Sales Cloud
    • Slack
    • Trello
    • Twitter
    • WordPress
    • Zendesk

    Pricing: starting from $25.00

    Pricing model: Free, Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    10. Analytics: Google Analytics

    Google Analytics is a tool from Google which offers extensive reporting and analytical opportunities for any website. 

    What can you automate with Google Analytics?

    In Google Analytics you can track users’ traffic and interaction, create custom reports and save them, set conversions and goals, and build your audience profile while analyzing its demographics and interests. 

    In this video: What is Google Analytics?

    The list of Google Analytics advantages may be endless but we will mention the key ones:

    • In spite of the complex functionality, it remains easy to use tool
    • The most in-depth analytics on your website traffic channels, audiences, content, conversion rate
    • Customizable reports, views, and export management
    • Great visualization and a variety of data delivery formats
    • Permissions and users managements
    • Real-time analysis
    • Accuracy of data
    • In-depth demographic and geographic analysis

    …and many other more

    What problems Google Analytics solves: poor analytics and data management, expensive website analytics tools.

    Features:

    • Advertising analytics
    • Social analytics
    • Alerts & intelligence
    • Cross-device data
    • Conversion analytics
    • eCommerce reporting
    • Conversion reporting
    • Audience reporting
    • Native remarketing integrations
    • Content analytics
    • Data analysis
    • Marketing analytics
    • Custom variables
    • Javascript libraries
    • Tag management
    • Funnel analysis
    • Custom content groupings
    • Calculated metrics
    • Widgets
    • User explorer functionality

    Integrations

    • Google AdWords
    • Mailchimp
    • Optimizely
    • WordPress
    • Zendesk

    Pricing model: Free, Subscription

    Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

    Conclusion

    We have demonstrated the top 10 best automation tools which we believe will be trending in 2021. 

    Depending on the budgets and size of the business you may decide whether to use them all or pick the most crucial ones for your organization. However, we would recommend not to miss a chance to make the digital transformation come true.

    In our new twisted post-pandemic world automation is an airbag in case of another world collapse. Or just a competitive advantage in any other case. 

    So let’s try to make our road as smooth as we can by using the best of automation in 2021.

    You can start with any of the tools above, however we would recommend ElectroNeek as a logical starting point. Having automated your labor-intensive workflows with ElectroNeek you would free up some time and space for further improvements. And here is when the whole bunch of other tools mentioned in the list would come handy.