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Part 1 - An overview of AI in Zapier

Solvaa blog image header AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easier. Part 1 - An overview of AI in Zapier.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionised the way we do business. With so much potential, apps are increasingly building AI into their product. Zapier, the popular automation app, is no exception. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will explore the AI features and apps in Zapier. Future posts in the series will dive deeper into the nuts and bolts of how things work. In this post we’ll take a high-level overview to give you a picture of everything that’s available.
 
These features are currently in beta and may change. Some are only available to users who are part of Zapier’s Early Access program. Some are available to all users, but you need to agree to an additional set of terms and conditions to use them.

Canvas

Canvas is Zapier’s hot-off-the-press, newly announced, diagramming tool. It allows you to create diagrams for workflows and processes in your organisation. You can add ‘default’ steps, things that happen outside of Zapier (e.g. a client fills in a webform), and steps that are Zaps. You can also ask for suggestions on improving the workflow by adding more automation, this is where AI comes in. The AI provides Zaps that could help you to minimise the manual work in the process. You can review the suggestions and, if something looks good, a couple of clicks will take you to the Zap editor to set up and publish the Zap. The tool is still in Alpha, so it’s very early days but it’s worth requesting access and having a play to see if it could help you improve your processes and documentation.
A screenshot of Zapier's diagramming tool, Canvas. It shows a diagram of an example sales flow that includes manual actions and Zaps.

Build a Zap using AI

It can be daunting to know where to start with a Zap, especially if you’re new to Zapier. It can also be time consuming to create Zaps with a lot of steps. The ‘Create a Zap’ AI feature aims to remove both of these barriers to Zap building. You can find the feature on your Zapier dashboard (this is the page that you generally see when you log into Zapier). To use it, type in a description of what you’d like a Zap to do and, through the magic of AI, Zapier will suggest a Zap for you. You can then edit the Zap or ask the AI builder to try again.
A screenshot of Zapier's AI Zap builder prompt window.

Chatbots

Using Zapier interfaces, you can create AI-powered chatbots. When you build a new interface, you can select the option to insert an AI chatbot. There are chatbot templates that are ready to go for example, a blog post creator, a research assistant, and a dad joke generator. You can also create your own chatbot by providing the bot with a ‘directive’. For example, if you wanted a bot to help you write social media posts you could try: “you are a friendly assistant who provides suggestions for facebook posts for an independent fitness brand’. If you’re on the Zapier Companies plan, you can also upload your own data set for the bot to use.

Create an app extension

Another AI tool Zapier provides is the ability to generate app extensions. An app extension allows you to build a custom action for a Zap that you can share with your team. Similar to the Zap builder above, you describe what you’d like the app extension to do in and Zapier will build an extension based on AI suggestions. In our experience, these suggestions aren’t as reliable as the Zap builder, but hopefully that will improve as the AI model learns.

The Zapier Chrome extension

If you’re using the Zapier Chrome extension, there’s a new AI powered feature that lets you create actions. The actions you create for the extension use AI to complete fields that you choose. For example, you could create an action to create an email draft in Gmail, and ask AI to fill the subject and body based on the prompt you provide. The example below shows how you would create an action to send yourself a Slack message. When the action runs, you can type a prompt that the AI will use to compose the message.
A screenshot of an AI-powered action in the Zapier chrome extension. It shows the app for the action and the fields needed for the action to work.
 

Other places you can find AI in Zapier

You can find AI tools across the Zapier experience. Including:
  • Using AI to generate a description and notes for your Zap
  • Suggesting the correct field from a previous step to add to an action.
  • Suggestions for troubleshooting an error in a Zap run.
 
As a reminder, these features are in Beta so won’t always be correct. If you use AI in your Zap, check the content to make sure that it’s correct!
 

App integrations powered by AI

In addition to the built-in features that use AI, you can also connect Zapier with apps that use AI. Zapier has added AI options into Formatter and Code by Zapier, in addition to their existing AI by Zapier app. There are also integrations for popular AI tools like OpenAI and ChatGPT, and apps that heavily rely on AI, like Fireflies.ai.

We hope you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of the AI that you can find woven throughout Zapier. In the next post of this series, we’ll dig into using ‘natural language’ to build automations with the Zap builder, the Chrome extension and OpenAI.

Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelmand  transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

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