You use many different tools in your company. You have WordPress, Google Drive, Evernote, MailChimp, Asana, and dozens of other applications. And while all of these tools are incredibly helpful, there is one big problem:
They don't communicate well with each other.
In other words, getting information from one app to another is usually not easy. For example, let's say you want to create a new row in a spreadsheet every time someone contacts you through your website.
Typically, you will have to manually download, copy, and paste the contact information into the table. It's torture.
This is where Zapier comes in.
Zapier allows you to connect apps that don't normally communicate and automate tasks between apps. This can save you a lot of time and eliminate the tedious tasks that clutter up your day-to-day life.
Let's take a closer look at this opportunity.
What is zapier
Put simply, Zapier is an online tool that connects and automates most of the applications you use, such as WordPress, Gmail, MailChimp, Wrike, Zoho, ConvertKit, Trello and many others. It acts as a kind of translator that translates the language of one app into the language of another so that they can exchange information with each other.
The nice thing about it is that it doesn't require any additional programming. No waiting for developers who first have to implement what you want. No laborious attempts to link different apps together in a complex way. Zapier does it all for you.
This tool acts as a kind of digital butler. You can have Zapier automatically repeat tasks that you would normally do yourself in your various apps. You can create a so-called "Zap" (= automated workflow between your web applications) that connects two or more apps with each other so that they can communicate with each other without you having to do anything.
Zapier constantly monitors all applications, so if a pre-defined condition occurs (like filling out a WordPress form), the task you created will be carried out.
Scheduling meetings is another great example of how Zapier works. For example, suppose you work a lot in Slack and you tend to forget to peek at your calendar. You can create a zap that connects Google Calendar and Slack. Zapier notifies a Slack channel of your choice that there is an upcoming Google Calendar event.
And Zapier can do that with over 1,000 other apps.
How does Zapier work?
We've already explained the basics, but let's dig a little deeper into the subject. To understand how Zapier works, one has to start learning the jargon.
A zap is basically a template for something you want Zapier to do repeatedly and automatically without your intervention in any way.
Within a zap there are triggers and actions. A trigger is the first event that sets the zap in motion. An action is what the zap does in response to the trigger.
Let's take WordPress as an example. You could tell Zapier, "Whenever I post a new post in a certain category, I automatically create and post a Facebook post on my page."
The trigger here is that you publish the WordPress post and the action is the posting on Facebook. Then you can create a template for that trigger-action combination and apply it to all WordPress posts. This template is known as a zap.
If you want to compose the text of the WordPress post in a Google Sheet, thanks to Zapier you can do it easily - write, finalize and post.
Or let's say you've created a new eCommerce shop with WooCommerce. With Zapier you can enter every purchase in a Google Sheets spreadsheet so that you can keep track of all your orders. That's how powerful and flexible Zapier is.
The best part is that you can set up custom zaps for any application that Zapier supports (that's over a thousand, as we learned earlier). Pick two or more apps, choose the trigger, choose the action, and zap them for any future similar situations.
With some apps, Zapier checks your triggers every 5-15 minutes, imagine someone checking your email every 15 minutes for important messages, while other companies take hours to reply.
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.