We need our tools to work with us if we’re going to do our best work. That’s why project managers need a responsive, fully-featured project management tool in order to keep their team on task. Many of us have seen our work become increasingly interconnected as we break down the barriers between teams. We need to work together; we need to be on the same page, and in the same tools. But that’s not always realistic, or even possible.

Sometimes we need an intermediary; something to help us bridge the gaps between these tools. Unito and Zapier both provide solutions to this challenge. Here’s how they compare.

Depth vs. breadth

Open the apps page of the Zapier website, and you’ll be surprised by how much they can automate. From Google Sheets to Mailchimp and Asana, Zapier supports more than 1,500 apps. You can connect a work management tool like Trello to Gmail to send out emails whenever a new card is created. You can use Zapier to create a task in Asana every time a new issue is created in Jira. Zapier can even post to all of your social media channels when a new video is uploaded to your YouTube channel.

Unito doesn’t do all of that. Unito is focused on work management tools like Asana, Trello, and many more. We want as much information as possible carried across platforms. The depth of our integrations enables interesting functionality. You can take  Trello’s due date checkbox and sync it across multiple boards. You can sync GitHub with Jira to handle version control and issue tracking seamlessly. Or maybe you want the ability to escalate customer service tickets from Zendesk to Wrike. We want you to be able to collaborate with other teams without having to think about tools. Because you should be able to use yours, and they should be able to use theirs. You shouldn’t have to compromise.

Workflows vs. Zaps

Here’s how Zapier’s automation works. You start by choosing a trigger; a single event that will be at the core of your automation. Say “creating a card in Trello.” Once that trigger is set, you can choose an action you want Zapier to carry out. Imagine you use Trello as a feature request board, so you want to send out an email to the dev team every time a new card is created. Your action would be “send an email.” Imagine how much time you’d spend manually sending those emails.

Pretty straightforward. But the real strength in Zapier’s Zap is the ability to chain actions, meaning that each action can also become a trigger. Maybe you decide that sending out an email to the dev team isn’t enough. Since you know they’re all in Jira, you want those Trello feature requests to show up in Jira. Your automation’s trigger is still “creating a card in Trello,” with “send an email” as your action. But you can also use “send an email” as a trigger for “create an issue in Jira.” Now, each time a card is created, the dev team gets an email notification as well as an issue popping up in the relevant Jira project. The Zap lets you create deep, powerful automation across platforms.

As deep as Zap’s chain gets, there’s one flaw in it. It’s a one-way relationship. Your trigger informs your action. Sure, your action can then become a trigger for another action, but you’re just changing its role; you’re not creating true two-way relationships. That means that once your issue’s created in Jira, interacting with it won’t change anything on the Trello side. Unless you set up another trigger-action relationship. You need to create a large number of syncs to cover your bases. And, to create a two-way relationship, you need to carefully set up Zaps to avoid creating an infinite loop.

Enter Unito’s workflows. By default, a workflow creates a two-way pathway between tasks and projects in various tools, meaning that any changes done to one will affect the other and vice-versa. Let’s use our earlier example to illustrate this point. We’ve used Zapier to set up a chain starting with creating new cards in Trello and ending with creating issues in Jira. By itself, this chain only covers creating new items; they’re not linked in any other way.

That is possible with Unito’s workflows, however. Sync a Trello list with a Jira project, and all the Trello cards will be replicated as issues in Jira. But they’re not treated as separate items. The workflow creates a link between your cards and your issues, meaning that whenever something changes in one (like an attachment, or a comment) it changes in the other. So if a feature request originating from Trello gets a comment from a dev on Jira, the people who made that request in Trello will see the comment.

And that’s how workflows are by default. If you’d rather have a one-way relationship, they can do that too.

Workflows vs. automation

Unito is not better than Zapier. Zapier is not better than Unito. They’re different because — at their core — each tool is doing something different.

Are you looking to automate the everyday actions that cause you headaches, no matter what platform they involve? Or are you trying to create a truly collaborative environment for your teams?

Zapier’s goal is to automate the robotic, time-intensive parts of your workflow. By building a Zap, you’re turning those things into a one-step process. Instead of having to send out emails to your dev team every time a feature request comes in on a different tool, you can create a Zap that does it for you. Zapier is about making these processes fire on their own.

Unito makes collaboration work the way you wish it did. By building workflows, you’re turning separate, disparate tools — and their projects — into a cohesive environment your team can work in. We’re not trying to automate everything you do; we’re helping you tear down the barriers between your tools. We want you to feel like your teams can collaborate without being forced into a tool they hate or needing to jump through hoops to get their work to the other side. You’re not just automating an existing workflow, you’re building one that’s truly collaborative. That’s where Unito is different from Zapier, and where workflows are different from Zaps.

We want you to build workflows that don’t stall every time they need to jump tools.

Workflow management

Unito is a workflow management solution, plain and simple. It’s about optimizing the way work gets done no matter what tool people are working in. It’s about getting ahead of the curve and adapting to the future of work before it hits us. With Unito, you can give workers the flexibility they need while making sure leaders spend less time hunting for information and more time actually leading.

With Unito’s new workflow offering, building a workflow starts with mapping it out visually, so you know where work needs to happen. Then, in a few clicks, you can take advantage of some of the deepest integrations on the market to get things done across teams and tools.

With Zapier, you have access to a huge breadth of Zaps. But if you need to manage a workflow, you might want to go for a more dedicated solution.

Should you be using Unito or Zapier?

What are you trying to accomplish? If you want hands-off processes to handle repetitive tasks, you need Zapier’s automation. But if you’re trying to build a truly collaborative environment — one that’s independent of your tool choice — you need workflow management. You need Unito.

Ready to build your collaborative powerhouse? Try Unito free for 14 days.