Nowadays, most small businesses are moving to Cloud-based business software solutions. This is where you access your business software (and data) through a web browser, over the internet. Nothing is stored locally – and this gives some big advantages:
- Much cheaper to set up – high initial costs for server hardware or software licenses are replaced with a low monthly cost
- No ongoing IT maintenance needed
- Much better disaster recovery than with local systems
- Easy (but secure) access from anywhere – work, home, mobile etc.
- Costs scale proportional to the value you’re getting
Businesses are using accounting and payroll solutions like Sage Business Cloud, Xero or Quickbooks. They’re also using web-shop solutions like Shopify, WooCommerce or Wix.
But then they need to join these systems together – and add other services. For example, how can I get my Shopify orders to automatically create an invoice in Xero? How can I automatically print picking labels in my warehouse when an invoice is paid? How can I have my warehouse staff confirm that an order is shipped and automatically email my client to confirm?
The default route for many businesses is to have someone sitting there, rekeying data from one system into another. This is slow, error-prone, and doesn’t scale well.
Instead, you can use a no-code integration solution. These solutions allow you to connect online services by using their developer APIs, but without having to write a single line of code. There’s several out there – Microsoft’s own Power Automate, Zapier, IFTTT … but the best combination of ease-of-use, power and price that I’ve found is Integromat.
Integromat has 100’s of pre-built apps for services like all those mentioned above, plus Google Forms, Google Drive, Google Docs and Sheets, Microsoft OneDrive, Salesforce, Zoho … and integrates with local printing services and even your mobile phone.
You don’t have to have any programming experience to use them (though if you do, it helps). All you need is a logical, analytical approach.
IFTTT works best for very simple, one-to-one integrations. Zapier can handle things that are a little more complex. Microsoft’s Power Automate is powerful but very complex, and best reserved for programmers who already know Microsoft Azure.
I’ve used Integromat successfully for many years now. Here’s an example of the types of projects I’ve delivered:
- I’ve connected new Shopify with Xero to automatically create sales invoices in Xero when a Shopify order is placed
- I’ve built a picking system that automatically prints a customised picking label in the warehouse when a Shopify order is marked as paid
- I’ve connected online training systems with CRM systems to automatically provision training accounts for new customers and track their progress in the CRM
- I’ve created scheduled Opportunity progress surveys for resellers, with the results coming back in to a CRM
- I’ve built a simple Partner Relationship Management (PRM) system and integrated it with a CRM
- I’ve automatically updated a fixed-format protected spreadsheet when a data extract is downloaded from a process monitoring system, and automatically submitted it by email
- I’ve synchronized sales opportunities between two CRM systems that use different definitions for sales cycle stages and products
- And I’ve built Integromat apps for online services that didn’t yet have an official Integromat app
If you’d like a no-obligation discussion about how Four Furlongs can help join your business processes together, please get in touch.