The Automation Mindset

It is often hard to know where to start with automation, so we’ve put together some tips from our own thought process. This is all about how to approach problem solving and process automation.

Start with process

To start with you have to understand what the process is in the first place, this might sound obvious, but if you don’t have this process mapped out and understand all of the data that is being gathered and used at each stage, you won’t have a complete view of the process to be able to truly determine what the problems are.

For each stage, try to note down:

  • What is happening
  • Who is doing it
  • How long it is taking
  • What data fields are important

It is essential to get feedback on the process from the people involved in carrying it out and those relying on it. It can also helpful to understand other perspectives such as customers and suppliers.

If you’re able to define cost that will be useful to evaluate benefits of change. An estimate is better than nothing!

Analyse and prioritise

The next step is to identify what the areas for improvement are in your process.

This could be duplication of data, wait and completion times, inconsistencies in data or customer experience.

You then need to prioritise. Which steps are causing the biggest problems?

Can tech help?

The next stage is understanding if technology can help. Not all process problems can be solved with technology.

You may not know what technology can solve your problems. App Advisory Plus can help you here. Get in touch.

Is there a native integration?

There’s a lot to this stage which I won’t cover here in terms of research process, you can find that in our knowledge base on App Advisory Plus. But relevant to understanding if Zapier can help is first understanding if we can solve with a native integration. It’s really only if we can’t do that, or that integration isn’t sufficient that we can look to Zapier.

Is there an integration with an integration tool?

You then need to know if the apps you need to move data between integrations with tools like Zapier or Integromat.

We also have a Zapier filter as part of our non-accounting integrations filter within our app directory.

Is there open API?

Application programming interface (API) provides the means for interaction with certain elements (called endpoints) of an application. These endpoints may be more extensive than those that are available via an integration tool, however you will need a basic understanding of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) programming language to use it.

Here’s a few articles to help you get a further understanding:

You can usually find out whether an app has open API and what it can do by doing a quick search, or consulting their website footer – looking for ‘Developers’ or ‘API’ or ‘Partners’.

Evaluate the costs and benefits

This is a crucial part that can easily be ignored, but should be easy to do if you have a good understanding of the time and money your process is costing in the first place.

Want help with automation? Get in touch

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