Why simplifying is fundamental for your business
Simplifying processes is important for many professional activities. It can help reduce errors and delays, increasing business productivity. It has strong impacts on customer satisfaction.
This article aims to expand on this important concept with examples of automation services with the IFTTT and Zapier platforms.
Much has been written in recent years on the topic of simplicity. Making an activity simple for others implies that first of all it is simple for professionals who conceive an idea or something to share.
Simplifying means above all optimizing and saving on the management of your repetitive activities.
In Digital Marketing the activities that I have been following for some years have confirmed this trend. More and more often simplicity is strongly requested by customers and this result can be obtained after an accurate analysis even with free tools and platforms. There are many platforms on the market to automate repetitive processes and activities, among the most complete and used IFTTT and Zapier. In the next paragraphs I describe its main characteristics.
The free IFTTT acronym of If This Then That (or if this happens then make that happen) is a web service that allows you to create automated “recipes”, i.e. associations between events (the “This”) and actions (the “That” ). This means you can automate actions across different services and devices, such as:
- Create simple, easy-to-follow processes and procedures.
- Reduce the amount of steps required to complete a task.
- Use tools and technologies that simplify the work.
- Send a message on a messaging service when you receive an email.
- Automate site form responses.
- Turn off the house lights when you leave your phone in a specific area.
- Automatically save photos taken with your smartphone to a cloud storage service.
- The usefulness of IFTTT is to allow you to automate actions and processes, saving time and effort in performing repetitive tasks, it also allows you to create greater interaction between different applications and devices.
It allows the creation of simple chains of conditions, called applets. An applet is activated by other services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and can for example send an email message when the user uses a hashtag in a tweet or it can send a copy of a Facebook photo to an archive when the user is tagged in it. Today, IFTTT services are widely used and shared by its users, if they exist for different devices for both iOS and Android (see figure 1).
The terms used by IFTTT are:
- Services. They are the basic building blocks of IFTTT. Describe a series of data for a specific web service, such as YouTube or eBay. They can also concern actions controlled by APIs such as text messages. They can also represent weather or stock information. Each Service has its own triggers and actions.
- Triggers. Match the “this” part of a recipe. These are the elements that initiate an action. For example, from an RSS feed they can receive notifications based on a specific word or phrase.
- Actions. Match the “that” part of a recipe. They are the result of what started the triggers.
- Applets. They are the set formed by triggers and action. For example, the like of a photo in Instagram (trigger) will upload the photo to the Dropbox account (action).
- Ingredients. They are individual data made available by a trigger. For example, the email trigger can return the subject, the body and the date the message was received, the attachment and the sender’s address.
IFTTT can be used effectively to manage and automate processes related to web applications, for example by publishing the same content on different social networks. Those who work in the marketing sector can use IFTTT to register mentions of one or more companies in real time thanks to RSS feeds or receive personalized weather forecasts from Weather Underground and alerts.
Zapier is a service similar to IFTTT that allows you to automate actions and processes through the creation of “zaps”, i.e. automations that allow you to associate events and actions between different applications and devices. Basically, a “zap” is a set of instructions that tell Zapier what to do when a certain event occurs.
An example of a “zap” might be: “when I get a new email from a specific address, create a new task in my task management software and send me a message on Slack”. In this case, the event is the arrival of a new email and the action is the creation of a new activity and sending a message on Slack.
Every activity you perform through a Zap counts as one task. This means that if your Zap automatically adds 100 emails to Dropbox, your Zap just performed 100 tasks. Every task your Zap performs is another task you don’t have to do manually. It’s important to keep in mind the number of tasks your Zaps perform, because it helps determine which Zapier plan is best for your tasks.
Zapier is an online automation tool that connects apps, such as Gmail, Slack, Mailchimp and many more. You can connect two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without developing code to build the integration. It allows you to automate actions across different services and devices, such as:
- Create a new entry in a spreadsheet when a new contact is added in a CRM
- Automatically create a new contact in a CRM when a person signs up for your website’s newsletter.
- Send a Slack message when someone sends an email to a specific address.
- Create a new task in task management software when a new record is added in a spreadsheet.
- Create a new post on a social network when you publish a new article on your blog.
- Send an SMS or push notification when a certain event occurs in a calendar.
- Create a new task in task management software when a person completes a form on your website.
- Send a welcome email to a new user when they sign up for your application.
- Create a new entry in a database when a new record is added to a table.
The Zapier platform allows you to automate actions and processes across disparate applications and devices, saving you time and effort in performing repetitive tasks.
Even in my experience in managing complex projects in large companies it has led me to emphasize the concept of simplicity in all phases: from the most basic to the most critical (I am referring in particular to the operating environments of large systems), from planning to realization.
Simplifying or removing the complications and difficulties of an activity requires much more skills than it may appear at first glance, it is a fundamental element of experience that all technical activities need today.
To do this, specific skills are essential to manage all possible alternatives. To define the detail of a solution or a really simple and effective strategy requires analysis and a lot of effort. It also means opening up to understanding others by overcoming the idea that all customers are the same.
Simplifying is not a temporary fad, it’s really a need that will be increasingly important in the future to differentiate yourself. Also for this reason, I invest my time in deepening these aspects in the activities I carry out. This is why I call myself a Digital Simplifier.
It is very important that this philosophy is immediately identifiable when I introduce myself to new people who do not know my path.
For more information book an appointment in the Contacts section. It will be a pleasure to provide you useful information for your business.
Published by Nicola Lapenta
Photo by Unsplash