Want to know the secret to a fast and efficient business? One of the best tips is to connect your applications so they share information automatically. This is a very difficult task for server and desktop apps but very easy in the cloud.
Last week in Hate Data Entry? Kill It with the Cloud I looked at the enormous efficiencies you can find in automating your business by connecting cloud apps together.
Cloud apps can connect to each other by building direct connections. The list of connectable apps is usually listed prominently on the app’s website. But what if you want to move data between two apps without a direct connection?
These services allow you to point-and-click your way through integrating your various cloud-based apps so they share and synchronise their data.
I find this jaw-droppingly impressive.
What OneSaas calls Integrations, Zapier calls Zaps and IFTT calls Recipes.
These API connector platforms work on the concept of a Trigger and an Action. In other words, “When this happens in this app, do this in this other app.” The first event is the Trigger, and then the Action is what you want to happen in the other app.
The combinations of Triggers and Actions are virtually limitless.
OneSaas is well-known within the Xero ecosystem and is very highly regarded. In addition to the integrations that can be achieved through their drag-and-drop interface, they also offer custom consulting services to implement more advanced or newer integrations.
Zapier is equally impressive.
At Practice Paradox we have used it to create ‘Zaps’ to integrate apps including Gmail, Xero, PayPal, Evernote, HipChat, Formstack, Infusionsoft, Google Drive, Dropbox, GoToWebinar and others.
These integrations allow us to automate:
- the creation of new contacts in our CRM and accounting system
- sending custom email notifications based on trigger events in our Xero (such as new invoices being created, which we have automated within Xero for repeating invoices and Xero-to-Xero invoices)
- sending specific emails to prospective clients who answer certain questions in certain ways in our online surveys, and then automatically tagging them in our CRM based on their answers
- creation of notes in Evernote simply by typing a specific code in an IM conversation
A neat feature of the Zapier platform is where you try to connect two apps, and no ‘Zap’ currently exists, you are then prompted to click a button to opt-in to be updated via email when that Zap becomes available. On a number of occasions we’ve received emails from the Zapier platform that the Zap we requested weeks or months ago is now available, and to click here to get started.
The IFTTT platform calls their connectors ‘Recipes’ and their model is based on user-generated recipes being shared between users. There are thousands of them, as each is quite specific in what it does.
IFTTT is more focused on the consumer than the business, with most Recipes focusing on social media (though of course, social media is also a business tool!), file sharing and messaging. This is in contrast to OneSaas and Zapier which include accounting, bookkeeping, CRM, project management, help desk, ecommerce, payment processing, time tracking, invoicing, point-of-sale and other business-related app categories.
So what are you waiting for? Explore OneSaas, Zapier and IFTTT and create some integrations, I mean Zaps, I mean Recipes.
Whatever you call them, they are incredibly efficient ‘virtual helpers’ in your business that are worth the time to create.
Image credit: HIWTC