The ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers is a problem for a wide variety of companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. IT professionals in particular are desperately sought after, as the ongoing digitalisation brings with it more and more IT processes that need to be managed by an expert.
But it is not only IT staff that is becoming scarce, because no matter how many documents have been scanned and are available online, or how many processes such as making appointments, writing invoices and so on can now be done online - for most tasks, a person has to sit behind the PC and carry out these steps individually.
Or maybe not?
Using the right software, certain processes can be automated so that professionals spend less time on repetitive tasks that can be automated, such as responding to the same emails, sending links or even simple data transfer.
In this way, a person who has 8 to a maximum of 10 hours available on a normal working day can manage their time more efficiently and does not have to waste it on so-called routine tasks such as sending invoices, making appointments and so on.
The error rate can also be reduced at the same time as a small bonus, since e.g. data transmission with the help of software cannot have any clerical errors or the like.
So automation is not about replacing skilled workers with automated processes, but rather relieving them and enabling them to use their time more efficiently.
In order for every professional to realise their full potential and make maximum use of their time, it is essential that staff are not held back from superfluous tasks.
There are two ways to solve the skills shortage with software:
One way would be to apply more and more cloud processes in the company and give employees the right tools to easily automate tasks.
However, care must be taken to ensure that these cloud processes or iPaaS (short for Integration Platform as a Service) are user-friendly so that you are not soon faced with the problem of needing an IT professional to manage these tools.
Make and Zapier are such automation software that offer you exactly that.
They have a user-friendly interface reminiscent of smartphone apps and are thus easy and quick to use, even without any particular background knowledge.
These softwares work with API interfaces that connect digital tools such as mails, cloud storage, CRM, accounting tools, email marketing and much more in one place. This allows data to be passed automatically from application to application, creating an automated flow of data and requiring much less work to manage certain processes.
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Here is an example of how such an automated process could look at Make, where an invoice received by email is transferred to the Lexoffice accounting software.
As soon as an e-mail arrives in a defined mailbox, it is first checked for attachments. If the invoice was sent as a file attachment, e.g. as a PDF, it is transferred to OneDrive and uploaded from there to Lexoffice (upper path).
If the invoice is not available as an e-mail attachment, but only in text form, a PDF file is first generated from the e-mail.
Then the same steps follow as before: The invoice is transferred to OneDrive and at the end uploaded to Lexoffice, where it is available for posting (lower path).
If you now imagine that these steps would otherwise be carried out by a specialist dozens of times a day, you can quickly calculate how much time is saved by this automation.
This saved time is now available to this person for tasks that unfortunately cannot (yet) be automated with the help of software integration.
Here is a comparison of 5 automation tools to get you started, because Make and Zapier are just two tools of many!
The second option is to build up knowledge internally on how certain processes can be automated, so that the technical staff can automate these processes themselves and make the day-to-day work more efficient, which gives you and your employees even more flexibility.
By showing your staff how to apply these automation processes, you don't need an IT professional on whom the company's processes depend and, in a way, you can also replace potential professionals with software.
Of course, there are also certain measures that can be taken to counteract the skills shortage in the short term, but these iPaaS are a long-term solution approach that can bring more efficiency and productivity to your company if the matter is approached properly.
However, it is also important that certain processes are not only automated because one can, but because the whole thing makes sense and more efficiency is brought into the company.
To ensure that this is the case, the processes in the company must first be thoroughly examined and analysed before you start optimising and automating them. Here you can read how to determine whether a task can be automated.
But don't worry, you don't have to spend hours dealing with every single process in your company or business, we can do that for you! Simply contact us and find out in a free consultation how we can shape your path to digitalisation and automation together.
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.
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Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
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.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
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.