Businesses require an extremely high level of communication and coordination across every department. Workflow automation is becoming more vital each day. Phone calls and emails are a great start, but it’s extremely difficult to multi-task with just those. Skype is employed by businesses all over the world due to its user-friendly messaging and video chats. WebEx and Clearslide let businesses communicate in a virtual conference center. Apps like Asana and Slack represent a new wave of business communication and organization.
But what if you could roll it all into one? Enter Zapier.
The company started in 2011 as a way to connect several applications into a consolidated workflow. Sounds complex, but the idea was simple; get your apps to talk to each other. The prototype started with 25 apps but has blossomed to more than 1,500. Everything from Facebook and Twitter to Eventbrite and QuickBooks is available on the system.
How Zapier Works
Zapier is an automation service, so as the name suggests, it helps automate multiple facets of your business and make life easier on everyone. It works by creating trigger events that communicate from one application to the next, which creates an action. Like a series of dominos, your initial trigger event trickles through the automation hitting each app and putting everything on the same page. With one step, you can eliminate the need to visit and organize several applications on your own.
You’re able to choose what apps you want to integrate and the workflow that works best. Each workflow is called a “Zap,” and the program records each Zap flow as a task. The task total is helpful to show the efficiency of your team and your projects.
Imagine your business relies on a team of remote employees each with a very specific function. Your designers upload designs to DropBox and content writers send everything to Google Docs. Sales reps enter leads into Salesforce and you use Mailchimp to standardize all emails going out to your prospects. Developers complete tasks on Asana and accounting logs everything into QuickBooks.
Sounds exhausting right?
With Zapier, you can create a series of Zaps that can consolidate everything into automated steps all landing in one place. New leads entered into Salesforce automatically trigger an email from MailChimp. Design and content uploads trigger an email notification of completion. Task completion on Asana triggers a notification on Slack, so everyone is up-to-date without ever skipping a beat. Invoices and purchase orders automatically load to your Google drive.
Everything moves together and now your chaotic workflow is consolidated into an easy to manage portfolio.
Where Zapier Gets it Right
Automation is a golden goose for any business and especially small businesses operating online. Different departments mean different assignments on different timelines, and no one person has the time to manage everything. Zapier does a great job facilitating that automation on an unbelievable scale. Many apps and industry-specific programs offer integration, but the process can be tiresome and complex. Zapier eliminates the need for reaching out to another app’s IT department to get your API and their API to talk to one another and determine an information flow. It’s already done for you with an existing catalog of over 1,500 applications.
The program uses icons for each app giving it an extremely clean looking UI The process is also easy to understand and plan around. Staging your Zaps isn’t a difficult process when you know exactly what tasks need to get done and where the data goes. After all, no one knows your business better than you.
Moreover, Zapier does a great job providing video tutorials. The “Zapier University” lessons are easy to follow and a fairly exhaustive training tool. Along with a great description of the product, the online help center goes into further detail on other aspects of integrations like defining APIs for the less tech-savvy among us, which goes a long way in making us not feel so lost in a sea of integrations.
Where Zapier Could Use Some Work
Despite a clean looking interface, the actual setup can feel a little clunky and overwhelming. The enormous database of available apps is a huge plus for the company, but it can also be a little bit confusing. Zapier provides an app search function to help setting up Zaps, but once you find the app you want to use, setting up your trigger can be even more confusing.
Essentially, because the program is so overwhelmingly complex, it’s hard to be very user-friendly. Setting up Zaps will be difficult for new users without training, but luckily, Zapier addressed that with their training video series. The training videos are a time investment, but they are vital for becoming proficient with the complicated system.
How Other Companies Use Zapier
Techno-PM, an online marketplace selling project management templates, is a real life example of the extraordinary power of Zapier. The company cut down more than 40 man-hours per month by implementing several Zaps.
Formerly, Techno-PM would receive an order and process payment via Paypal. Then they would email the digital purchase to the customer, which may have taken a while depending on availability. Since the customers provide their email addresses, the company could add them separately to their MailChimp account for marketing campaigns.
By setting up Zaps the process is instant. Techno-PM’s sales process through Paypal, which immediately triggers an email with the customer’s purchase. The sale also immediately adds the customer to the company’s MailChimp account into specific mailer campaigns. They follow a similar process to automate sales on other marketplaces like Shopify. Purchases automatically add customers to MailChimp campaigns without needing a single employee interaction.
Now, the company can focus on growth and dedicating more time to improving their product and their business. Zapier helped their workflow with a few easy automation steps.
Zapier is unlike any other app integration system around. It brings an invaluable amount of efficiency to businesses by cutting down man-hours and automating mundane work for employees. The complexity of the system and somewhat cluttered structure is off-set by the great help resources and the easy-to-manage dashboard.
Zapier solves an almost universal issue for many businesses, which is using several programs and applications separately, by creating simple integrations and workflows. The enormous database of options gives it the versatility to cover any industry.
Overall, Zapier is an automation powerhouse.
How We Can Help
Automation tools like Zapier and others make streamlining your internal processes effortless and free up time for the most valuable asset, your customer. Let us help connect your workflows and become more efficient today.