Do you regularly feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Is your team time-starved? Do you find yourself performing the same tasks over and over, seemingly without end? Then automation may be able to help you.
Using clever little things known as APIs, you can connect your systems together so that they work in glorious harmony, requiring little to no input from you. Taking all those tedious tasks off your hands, automation will free up your time so that you can work more productively and do the things you enjoy.
I, for one, welcome our robot overlords.
What are APIs?
API stands for application programming interface, which is a nerdy way of describing a bit of software that allows interactions to take place between other bits of software.
They can connect your eCommerce store to your CRM to help you track the progress of deals. They can connect your quoting system with your invoicing system, automating how you on-board and bill clients. They can connect databases with spreadsheets, eliminating the need for manual data entry. They can do countless other things too, and there’s bound to be one out there that can help streamline your processes.
They work on a simple programming premise known as IFTTT - or ‘if this, then that’. If something happens in one piece of software (for example, someone buys something from your eCommerce store), then something else automatically happens in another piece of software (your CRM records the sale).
You can connect multiple systems using APIs. After your CRM has recorded the sale, another application can send a receipt email to the customer, and another can dispatch the order to the warehouse. No admin required.
Why use APIs?
If you’re not already sold, APIs can save you time and money. They take the dull, repetitive, manual tasks that bog you and your team down everyday and automate them, freeing up your time to work on more valuable tasks.
They’re also less likely to introduce errors, forget things and do things late. Functioning with true machine efficiency, they keep the engine of your business running while you enjoy the ride.
How do I get this magic in my life?
The first step is to identify where automation can help you out. Think about all the manual, repetitive tasks you do. Think about what it would be like to not have to do them. Write a list.
The next step is to review your existing platforms. The software you’re using may be out of date. There may be better systems out there that do things more effectively. The snag with APIs is that they’re always evolving, and today’s APIs won’t work very well with the outdated stuff you were using 10 years ago. If you’re still using that old stuff, you may want to look at upgrading. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Next, embrace creative destruction. Understand that in order for something new and wonderful to come along and change your life, you’re going to have to burn down your old ways of doing things. This can seem scary, and it may cause disruption. But ultimately it will free you up to spend your time more profitably, and may make a huge difference to your business overall.
Now it’s time for research. Get on Google and start searching. There are APIs out there for almost every use case, and to truly streamline your processes you might need more than one. Some are free to use, some you need to pay a subscription for. Search around to find the best fit for your business. Then, sign up and get connected.
If you’re not sure where to start, or what systems will work best for you, get in touch with us today. Our extremely geeky Development team love nothing more than talking about APIs.