I’m a web nerd. I love apps. I love seeing how the developers and UX teams have solved issues. I love muttering “oh that’s cool” when I see a new take on how to present information or how to move people through an interface. I like apps so much I started a company to give me more of an excuse to play around with them!
Due to this nerdiness, I like to think that I have a pretty high bar when it comes to the crunch around what are the best apps out there. Favourites of mine are Excel (most useful and powerful), Slack (the future of communications, best onboarding ever) and Trello (so simple it hurts).
Now I’m not prone to hyperbole but the absolute best app in the world, ever made is Zapier. I actually get excited every time it looks like we are going to break Zapier out to solve some sort of issue.
So what is Zapier? Zapier is an Integration Platform. Wikipedia states: An Integration Platform is defined as a computer software which integrates different applications and services. Basically, it allows different apps to talk to each other easier. No one does this better than Zapier.
“Woo down geek boy” I hear you muttering. Bear with me!
An example of how this can work:
Let’s say I have a Google Form that collects prospective client data. A field in this form, if answered in a certain way, signifies that this is a special type of enquiry that needs to go to a particular specialised sales person. You could leave it up to form manager to forward the message on to our specialised sales person, creating a time lag or risk that the job will not be completed. Or you can make a Zap in Zapier and automate that problem out of your life.
In its simplest form, a Zap is a trigger
When A happens in App B then…
and an Action
Do X in App Y
So in our example “When a new entry is created in Google Forms then send an email from Gmail”
The Zap allows you to build the email content from the form post and then send it from any email account.
This just scratches the surface of what you can get this software to do. There are multi-step apps where you can use a range of different applications. There are inbuilt components that allow you to add your own code, send/receive SMS, schedule tasks, translate foreign languages and format data.
If you know what you are doing you can build working prototypes of a concept software without knowing how to code.
The user interface is incredibly simple and there are about 500+ apps with available connections including pretty much all of the well-known ones.
When it comes to meshing together software systems, Zapier is our go to tool when integrations aren’t available out of the box. It’s how we can get the micro changes that can have instant benefits in terms of productivity, customer satisfaction and staff morale.
The key thing to think about is not just the timesaving and focus win that you get from automating a process step. The key thing is avoiding the disruption from a system failure. Missed sales, unhappy clients, stressed staff. The firefighting hat goes on and time, money and energy are spent fixing something that shouldn’t be needed to be fixed. Your business takes a step backwards. Negative energy builds. All this when you could spend an hour to automate that risk away.
Removing extraneous process steps with Zapier is a great way to start getting your business on the continuous improvement track.