Open-Source Workflow Automation with n8n

Open-Source Workflow Automation with n8n

Workflow automation — a dazzling term that is finding its way more and more into the everyday life of many companies. What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word? Of expensive software? Long implementation projects and highly qualified IT staff who do nothing but analyze and automate processes all day long?  

Exactly these three points are refuted by the open-source workflow automation tool (what a mouthful) n8n. N8n wants to make workflow automation a reality for all companies — without much previous knowledge, IT skills or huge investments. The open-source tool talks about “next-gen automation”. Find out how it all works here.  

Why Workflow Automation?

Most of the time, automation is based on one thing: processes. These are indispensable and must be clearly defined so that automation can come true at all. Standardization is another keyword here. This is precisely why automation has long been usable and important for many more companies—thanks to digitalization. Because digital processes can also be standardized and thus run automatically. As a rule, automation tools are needed for this. In other words, software that makes automation possible and carries it out.

Workflow automation aims to simplify and manage complicated business processes. For example, when a form is filled out, a user action or a defined trigger takes place, automated workflows can move or transform data according to the rules set.  

Most of these workflow automation tools offer a visual interface that allows you to create workflows without IT knowledge or programming. This is also the case with the open-source workflow automation n8n.

What Is n8n and What Does It Do?

n8n is one of the so-called iPaaS software, i.e., Integration Platform as a Service. This means that n8n provides a visual interface, i.e., platform, on which integrations can be created. For example, n8n (currently) supports over 200 cloud applications such as HubSpot, Asana, GSuite or Office356. All these apps can be linked to each other via the clearly arranged flowchart view and thus exchange relevant data all by themselves.  

This is how iPaaS tools implement the concept of workflow automation. The goal of such platforms: By automating small, administrative and time-consuming steps, the people behind the computer have more time for other, more fulfilling tasks.

The possible applications are wide-ranging: Marketing, HR, CRM, sales, administration, or even accounting can be integrated, making iPaaS attractive for countless companies. And n8n does exactly that as the only workflow automation tool on an open-source basis.  

The 3 Outstanding Features of n8n

  • Open-Source Code

The source code of n8n is freely accessible via So you can host the tool wherever you want and of course develop it further. Of course, this may only be something for professionals. But it also has decisive advantages for companies: If n8n is self-hosted, high data protection and compliance requirements can be met. This is how you make optimal use of Open-Source Workflow Automation. On top of that, n8n is even fair-code licensed.  


Of course, self-hosting is not for everyone. That's why n8n is also available in the cloud. Via, you can use the tool out of the box and use it on n8n's servers. Currently, 200 apps are supported, such as Calendly, ClickUp, Discord or Google Drive.

  • Community Support

As with so much open-source software, the community support for n8n is great. Not only is there help everywhere on the web in case of difficulties, but n8n itself regularly receives valuable feedback and suggestions. In this way, the code is constantly evolving. And with fresh funding behind it, n8n also has the means to develop the software further quickly.  

Overall, n8n offers everything you need to automate common workflows without having to spend hours writing complex code from scratch. It is easy to use yet powerful enough for even the most demanding tasks.

n8n in Use: Implementing Open-Source Workflow Automation Yourself

n8n makes fast workflow automation really easy. One advantage is the flowchart view. This creates a clear process in which the relationships and dependencies are also immediately recognizable.

Workflow Automation Open Source Flow
n8n workflow

Currently, n8n supports more than 200 apps, with a strong upward trend. Here, too, n8n benefits from the aforementioned community support and open-source code: enthusiastic community members not only provide feedback and suggestions, but also develop apps themselves. In this way, the range of apps continues to grow rapidly.  

Moreover, the visual builder is easy to use and requires no prior technical knowledge. When you select an app, you are directly guided on how to connect it.  

We find that the view of the open-source workflow automation tool immediately gives a good overview of the structure of the process and enables us to flexibly exchange individual modules or steps in the second step. This modularity makes development much easier than a linear structure.  

If you are looking for inspiration, n8n offers numerous templates for workflows on its own website. These can simply be copied and pasted into the n8n editor via CTRL + V. It could hardly be easier. All that remains is to configure your own accounts and your workflow is ready.

Why Rely on Open-Source Workflow Automation?

The workflow automation market is still young, but already today the competitive pressure is high. In doing so, n8n connects important dots that can become a huge advantage for companies in the years to come:

The open-source code gives you security. Not only because you can host it wherever you want, but also because the community support is usually strong. If n8n goes bankrupt the day after tomorrow (which we don't expect), you can still use the service for years to come. Especially if a lot of your workflows are integrated, this is an important factor.

In addition, n8n gives you the choice between cloud and on-premise. It's exactly between these two worlds that many companies still find themselves today. n8n accommodates this dilemma, and you don't have to choose. However, we expect the current trend to continue: More companies will migrate completely to the cloud.

n8n offers a great introduction to the world of open source workflow automation. It is essential that the barriers are not too big, so that you and your team are really convinced of the facilitation that automation can offer. If team members are then even able to create small integrations themselves, acceptance can increase.  

If you are interested in using n8n to automate your workflow, contact 0hands today. Our team of experts can help you get started with n8n and show you how to use it to connect to the services and applications that are essential to your workflow. Contact us today to learn more!

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