Airtable Automation: More than just integrated automations
In addition to their own basic functions, more and more applications offer the possibility of linking other applications from the outset. For example, you can link your time recording directly to your CRM and see how much time has been booked for which customers. These integrated automations are also available in the table and database tool Airtable. For example, you can have a notification sent to you when a value in a cell changes. But this Airtable automation is not only quite straightforward. There is also much more possible.
Creating Airtable Automations: Fast and Intuitive
When it comes to integrated automations, Airtable is at the forefront. In the Grid View in a Base, the word Automations is emblazoned in the top right-hand corner.
If you click on these, you will directly receive suggestions for small but very helpful automations. You can send a Slack message when an entry changes or create a new entry when an event is created in your Google Calendar. There is also the option to create a custom Airtable automation.
To do this, you select a trigger, for example: a new entry is created or updated, an entry fulfils certain conditions or simply according to a defined schedule. Then you select the spreadsheet that is affected and can add conditions. For example, if the field "Name" contains Peter. Then you define the action to be carried out. And this is where it gets really comprehensive.
You can access GSuite, Office356, Twitter, Facebook, Salesforce or Jira directly with your Airtable Automation. You can create a calendar entry, schedule a social media post, update a Salesforce entry or simply send an email. All directly from Airtable. If you want to try Airtable, start here with our affiliate link.
The benefit of such small software connections is obvious: you save yourself the clicks of doing it yourself. Instead of generating the same email over and over again, Airtable simply does it for you. Such conveniences become even more effective when they happen regularly and frequently. So you can save yourself a few minutes each week. But besides this obvious benefit, Airtable Automations offer even more advantages:
Airtable automations grow with your needs. They run stably, even if the amount of data increases over time.
They can optimise your processes, for example, if it becomes apparent during the creation of an automation that a previous process is actually inefficient.
You save yourself unpopular legwork: Copy & Paste is probably not one of your passions, so Airtable does it for you.
Limits of the integrated Airtable Automations
As easy and quick as it is to create your own Airtable Automation, it unfortunately also quickly reaches its limits. The limit here is the number of applications supported on the one hand and the number of actions to be performed on the other. Approximately ten applications are supported directly in Airtable. That is not all that much, to say the least. And sometimes only one action is available per application, such as "send an email". This is also very limiting. So you might like to be able to connect your Pipedrive CRM, a widely used software, with Airtable. But via the built-in automations, only Salesforce is supported as a CRM. And let's face it, that's already the Champions League. So the solution is called...
Airtable API: Getting more out of Airtable Automations with Zapier and Make
One of Airtable's greatest strengths is not the different views, the numerous templates or the infinite links between them: it is the API. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a programming interface provided to us by Airtable. And it allows us to connect Airtable to thousands of other applications that also have an API. This is how powerful Airtable automations are created, with almost no limits.
You read programming interface and think "oh dear, this must require extremely good technical knowledge". Don't worry, fortunately that's not the case.
Because that's exactly what platforms are for, linking software via the API. Zapier and Make are our favourites here. They come with an interface that does not require any coding skills. Here, too, the process is very similar to that of the integrated Airtable automations: you select a trigger, can assign conditions and then a defined action is executed.
Make and Zapier support thousands of other applications and offer countless possibilities to define triggers and actions. So instead of just sending an email in Outlook, you can create an email as a draft, delete a mail, move it to another folder, search for a message, output attachments or download them. The functions are therefore much more comprehensive than with the integrated Airtable Automations.
In addition, the previous examples have been very simple and only two-step: a trigger in this software causes that action in a second application. Process completed. Of course, there is much more to it than that.
Project example: Airtable Automations as a company core
For example, we recently created a huge Airtable database for a client that combines countless automations:
Countless pieces of information are compiled in the database. Customer data, orders, team members, addresses, product information and much more. This information is automatically entered from the corresponding channels. But the great thing is the information that goes out:
For example, an individual invoice can be generated for customers via a button in Airtable. This button is connected to the accounting software lexoffice. Various information is collected from different places in Airtable, such as master data but also the individual services including quantity, unit and price per unit. This data then generates a legally compliant invoice and is automatically sent to the correct email address of the customer.
These few clicks take a few seconds.
Airtable automations can be used in a variety of ways
This example should show what is possible: namely almost everything. In our eyes, a database is useful for almost every company. This does not necessarily mean that your team works with it a lot, but rather that important information can be brought together and then used in a targeted way. Automation platforms like Make and Zapier are excellent for this. They offer an interface on which applications can be linked.
However, programming skills are definitely useful. At the latest when an unclear error message is displayed and Google doesn't know what to do. That's why we implement not only Airtable Automations but also numerous other automations for companies. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable. Feel free to contact us without obligation if you would like to learn more.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address. 02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.