FormKeep 2019 in Review

Thank you for making 2019 a great year for us! We’ve been listening hard to all the great feedback from our customers and we have been regularly releasing new features and improvements.

Below we’ve highlighted the more interesting changes this year driven by your needs. Thanks for all the feedback and keep it coming! Please send anything you’re looking forward to seeing in 2020 to support@formkeep.com.

File Upload Support

Your forms can now upload images and documents directly to FormKeep and we’ll take care of them. The email notifications will include a link to the uploaded file, or you can send them directly to third parties for additional processing.

Form Designer

This year a lot of effort was spent on delivering a simple and easy to use Form Designer, allowing you to quickly create forms and start collecting submissions from your customers immediately.

Collaborators

Many of our larger customers who have many people working together wanted a simple way to share Forms between their team members. Under the Collaborator tab on a Form you can now control who has access to edit the form, or just have access to the Form submissions.

Slack and Google Sheet Integrations

These were two of the most popular requests from our customers, so we’ve integrated directly with them, making it super simple to send your submissions to these providers. We continue to support thousands of other integrations as well.

Server Side Validations

There’s a lot of ways to protect against spam and we’ve added a commonly requested way to specify which fields need to be filled out. Combined with our industry leading spam solutions, validating this on the server-side allows you to protect better against spam bots and scripts.

Email Response Tags and Attachments

We’ve expanded your ability to format automatic response emails by supporting replacement tags in the body and subject fields. This allows you to include information from the Submission into the response. You can now also attach a file to be sent directly to your customer.

New Pricing Plans

Last year we introduced some entry-level price offerings. Some customers asked for a simple HTML form to email support without all the integrations and other bells and whistles. On the flip side, we’ve also added pricing support for large scale customers who need thousands of forms under a single account. We’re happy to talk about any custom needs you may have, just reach out to support.

Everything Else

We make constant improvements to the site every month, these are just the top feature requests that were driven by our customers. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and continued support.

Please let us know what you want to see in 2020 at support@formkeep.com

Google Sheets Integration with FormKeep


Google Suite apps are the next big thing. Many people base their entire workflow within the Google Suite apps. The live editing features of Google Sheets makes it the go-to choice for teams collaborating on projects. Now imagine being able to see updated form stats and submissions without ever having to leave the Google Suite. All of your workflow in a single place! FormKeep’s latest integration with Google Sheets makes this possible in only a few steps.

Quick Integration Setup Video


All of Your Submission Data In One Place…And It’s Updated Live

FormKeep’s Google Sheets integration gives you all your submission data in a single place. All of the latest submission data from your forms is at your fingertips and can be accessed with ease. By linking your FormKeep account to a Google Sheet you will completely cut out the tedious steps of logging into your FormKeep account and refreshing the page to see your live form submission data. With the Google Sheets integration there’s no need to export to an external spreadsheet. All the data you need will funnel straight into your Google Sheet in real time! As the form owner you have full accessibility to customize which form data goes into your Google Sheet and where in the sheet it sits. Watch the video above for a full guide to rearranging form data in your Google Sheet.

Form Data with the Google Sheet accessibility you love

We launched a Google Sheets integration with our tool because we love the accessibility of Google Sheets. As the sheet owner you have the option to give your team full editing access to change form submission data and arrange where the form data comes in. However, you can also choose to only give your team the “read-only” permission so that they can see the form data live but cannot edit the location of output or the form data itself. 

A Match Made in Heaven

FormKeep is the best way to collect data from online forms without the hassle of running your own servers. Static sites using Jekyll, Hugo, Gatsby, or GitHub Pages can easily collect data from HTML forms, save the data here on FormKeep and also sending it over to Google Sheets for additional processing.

Setup in a Few Simple Clicks

Connect your Google account and you can send your form submissions directly to any Google Sheet. Set headers in the sheet to match the names of the submitted data. See the Data Integrations tab under each Form to select which Google Sheet tab to append submissions. Only non-spam submissions will be sent.



Slack Integration with FormKeep

FormKeep’s latest integration with Slack makes staying on top of form submissions and maintaining strong communication with your team easy!

After integrating FormKeep and Slack, new responses are sent straight to the Slack channel of your choice. The integration allows for easy pairing of specific forms and Slack channels, ensuring that the right people see the data submitted from your website.

With FormKeep and Slack, you’ll be able to

  • Send form responses to multiple channels and teammates
  • Select if you want the form fields to appear in your Slack message
  • Easily search Slack for form submissions

Slack Integration Video

How Teams use Slack with FormKeep

Customer Support

FormKeep’s integration with Slack allows for live notification the moment a customer needs help. Additionally, you can choose to see the content of the support form in the Slack channel of your choice. As a result of these features, FormKeep’s latest integration with Slack ultimately leads to a better customer experience. After all, one of the most prominent characteristics of a good customer support team is consistent timely responses to support requests.

Managing Feedback

Understanding where your product can improve is vital to the expansion and success of that product. Setup a form that prompts users to review your product and provide valuable feedback. Attaching a Slack channel to this form will give you access to live feedback, directly from your customers, about what could be added to your product. Being responsive to customers who are willing to share their opinions about your product adds to your brand image.

Easy Setup

Connecting your form to Slack easy to configure and control!

Important Data to the Right Place

If your team is already working in Slack, having to go to another system to check submissions breaks workflow. Bringing another data source into the original channel removes the hassle of switching between systems.

How to pipe FormKeep data to a data warehouse using Stitch

Create reports and visualizations with data from FormKeep and other sources by using a data warehouse

FormKeep provides form endpoints for developers and designers. You can point your form at a FormKeep URL, publish it to your site, and start collecting data without writing code for the form back end. Once you have some data, chances are you’ll want to combine it with data from other SaaS applications and internal databases. For instance, if you have a form to gather shipping information, you might want to take the data you get and augment it with information in a shipping platform such as Aftership or Shippo. Or if you’re soliciting product feedback, you might want to combine the answers with customer information from Salesforce. You could then correlate data from related applications to surface insights and gain business intelligence.

The best approach for joining information from multiple sources is to create a data warehouse that consolidates all of your data in a single location. Most businesses nowadays use cloud data warehouses for that purpose.

To populate the data warehouse, you can extract the data you have in SaaS applications and on-premises databases and load it using an ETL (extract, transform, load) tool. Once the data is available, analysts can use it to create reports.

In this post, we’ll walk through the process of connecting FormKeep with a data warehouse and a business intelligence (BI) tool to create reports.

Three tiers of the data analytics architecture

Data sources like FormKeep form a foundation for a data analytics stack that comprises three tiers: ETL software, data warehouse, and BI software.

Stitch provides a simple, powerful ETL service for businesses of all sizes. Signup is simple — you can be moving data from one or more sources to a data warehouse in five minutes.

The last few years have seen the emergence of cloud-native data warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, and Snowflake. Because they run on cloud infrastructure that scales quickly and cost-effectively to meet performance demands, they can handle transformation using the same hardware on which the data warehouse runs.

Finally, to unlock the value of your data, you can connect a BI or data visualization tool to your data warehouse and create reports that analyze data from multiple sources, which you can share via browser-based dashboards.

Setting up a data warehouse

Let’s set up a three-tiered data analytics stack, starting with the data warehouse. If you don’t already have a data warehouse, choose one that meets your needs. If you choose Redshift, BigQuery, Snowflake, or one of the other destinations Stitch supports, you can also follow the setup steps for your data warehouse in the Stitch documentation.

Setting up Stitch for ETL

The next step is setting up an ETL pipeline to move data from your sources to the data warehouse. Stitch makes extracting data from a source and loading it into a data warehouse easy. To get started, visit the signup page, enter your email address, then enter your name and a password.

Add an Integration

Next, add FormKeep as an integration within Stitch. Click on the FormKeep icon to get started:

Enter a name for the integration. This is the name that will display on the Stitch Dashboard for the integration; it’ll also be used to create the schema in your destination.

When you click Save, Stitch will generate a webhook URL:

Configure FormKeep to send the data to Stitch

Click the Copy button to copy it, then switch back to your FormKeep account. Choose the form you want data from and, in the Settings Wizard, choose Webhooks. Paste the webhook URL, click Next a couple of times, then Finish.

Now all future form submissions will be replicated to your data warehouse — but first you have to connect the data warehouse you set up to Stitch as a destination. Click on the Destination link at the top of the Stitch dashboard.

Add a destination

Suppose you’ve chosen an Amazon Redshift data warehouse. Clicking on the Redshift icon brings you to a screen where you can enter your credentials:

Now all the pieces are in place, and the data is ready to flow.

When you visit your Stitch dashboard, you’ll see that your integration is marked Active, Continuously Replicated.

From the dashboard you can also do things like adding integrations from other data sources. The Stitch documentation walks through the process for each one.

What happens if your form changes after you set it up? Stitch will see any new fields and add them to your data warehouse, populating them with data that we receive moving forward. Fields that are removed will still exist in the warehouse, but they’ll no longer get values once they’re removed from the source. If you change the type of field, Stitch will add a new column to the data warehouse to hold the new data, and keep the old data around under a different column name. The exact details depend on which data warehouse you use; the process outlined in the data loading behavior section of the Stitch documentation for each data warehouse.

Connecting BI software to your data warehouse

The final stage of the process is connecting an analytics platform to your data warehouse. If you don’t already use BI software, you have dozens to choose from, including such popular options as Tableau, Looker, Microsoft Power BI, and Google Data Studio.

That’s all there is to it. Using an ETL tool like Stitch to move data from FormKeep and other sources into a data warehouse lets you leverage the power of BI tools to correlate and report on all of your valuable data. Give FormKeep a try today!

FormKeep and Zapier Connect Web Forms with over 1000 applications

FormKeep Connects to 1000s of Popular Applications Like Salesforce, Google Docs, MailChimp, Intercom and Slack

FormKeep and Zapier Connect Web to the World.

We know that getting your work done requires many different web tools. In fact, the average mid-sized business uses between 10 and 16 apps and, for enterprises, there can be hundreds or thousands of apps running various workflows. You have your email app, CRM, note-taking tool, emarketing platform, cloud storage tool, team communication app, along with project management tools and more. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to get them all working in tandem. Now that FormKeep has 1,000 integrations, you can choose your favorite tools and easily integrate them with FormKeep.

Thanks to our Zapier integration, FormKeep connects to 1,000 other web tools and applications. Now you can connect data submitted via forms on the web to all kinds of applications and workflows that reside in places like Slack, Google Docs and Salesforce. You can use Zapier to connect with your FormKeep data via codeless integrations called “Zaps”. Zaps will automatically send information from one tool to another, so you’ll spend less time manually transferring data between your business tools and can dedicate more focus to creative, big picture tasks.

Boost Your Productivity with Popular FormKeep Integrations

No matter what other apps you use, chances are you are looking for ways to use web forms to take data from customers and employees via the web and connect that data with the applications you use to run your business. Here are some of the most popular integrations that FormKeep users already use to be more productive.

The New Year is the perfect time to evaluate your processes and find ways to boost productivity. Try out some of the Zaps above or view more ways to integrate FormKeep.

 

Why Integrating Zapier with WordPress Will Save You Hours of Work

If you’re a busy WordPress developer, the last thing in the world you need is to waste time fiddling around with unnecessary applications, moving content around, or really doing anything besides, you know, developing.

Whether you’re freelancing your services or working for an agency, time is your most valuable asset. So how do you maximize your time while minimizing your effort?

One word: automation.

Automation

zapier

Creating a workflow is essential to managing your tasks, and automating that workflow is essential to making sure you have enough time to do the things you need to do without pulling out your own hair. That’s why many developers choose to use Zapier, a popular web automation app.

Zapier allows you to integrate different apps together to complete certain tasks – or, as Zapier calls them, “zaps”.

These zaps create automated processes that allow you to set certain rules and then leave them be. Whether it’s creating workflow notifications or having your content posted to the correct sites in a timely manner, there’s very little that can’t be managed by zaps.

Which Tasks Should You Automate?

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Now, there are some tasks that really can’t (or shouldn’t) be automated and need your keen eye in order to complete, but for everything else, there’s a zap for that. So what falls in the category of “everything else?” Well, basically anything that needs to be done that you don’t want to waste time doing manually.

Social Media

Whether you’re marketing your own services or managing an account on behalf of a client or agency, social media requires a lot of attention, especially on sites like Twitter that need constant updates. If you’re not the type of person who enjoys spending time tweeting and retweeting, crafting media-friendly messages, or logging in and out of sites like Facebook on a daily basis, Zapier is your friend.

If your site involves written content of any kind – blog posts, Facebook posts, status updates, RSS feeds – consider pairing your site with apps like Buffer that automatically handle publishing and posting them to all the necessary channels. Alternatively, you can release posts on individual channels and have them automated, which works well if you only have one or two social accounts to manage.

Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are another major hassle for anyone trying to sort through a massive amount of information. If part of your job revolves around building things that collect data, like forms or subscriptions, then you already know that data has to go somewhere, and it’s probably not somewhere you want to think about again.

By integrating your WP site with apps like Google Sheets, you can save time dealing with all of that excess information. Sync your WP forms with Google Sheets to capture user data, and then pair Google Sheets with another app, like MailChimp, to organize that data for delivery.

Data Capture

You’ve probably spent some time working on tasks that are designed to capture data and generate leads, whether it’s forms, emails, or web pages. While creating those things often requires the wisdom of your experience, like building a lead gen form, for example, there are many tasks that can just as easily be automated.

You can connect your WP site to things like SurveyMonkey to collect user data for A/B testing, link your forms with posts or pages to upsell a service or product, or trigger a Slack notification for updates you’ve already made on the site (or posts that have already been published) to let team members know you’re ready to move on.

Project Management

When it comes time to actually buckle down on a project, having a good workflow in place is essential to productivity. But if you’re sketching out your workflow in a notebook or sending emails back and forth to track your timelines, you’re wasting time. Zaps can connect different tools to help you manage projects faster with minimal effort.

Try combining apps like Slack and Trello together with your WP site to create a seamless workflow that allows your clients to stay connected to the process without sending them countless emails. This is particularly effective if you’re also in charge of loading up content for delivery on a regular basis. You can also manage your projects using something like Basecamp and integrate it with DropBox so clients can share files right to your project folders without having to chase anything down.

Time Tracking

If you’re the sort of developer who needs to keep track of how much time you’re spending working on a site, you can (and should) be using apps like Toggl to track your time. But did you know you can also pair Toggl with WP?

Pairing a time tracking app or a project management service like Basecamp will help to keep all of your information in one place so you know exactly what you’re doing and when you’re supposed to be doing it.

Notifications

Notifications are a big part of being a developer, whether it’s letting your team know about the status of a project, letting a client know when something is ready for review, or informing your audience that a post has been published.

Integrating apps like Slack can help your team stay organized while you’re all working on the same site. You can also use apps like OneSignal to create push notifications, which are especially handy for deadline driven jobs.

Events

Oftentimes companies will create both internal and external events that they want to market to their audience (or their team). These can be anything from a webinar, class, or even a fundraiser.

By using apps like Office 365 or Eventbrite, you can instantly create posts about upcoming events that can trigger notifications for team members to do certain tasks, or you can create Google Calendar events for clients to know when something is taking place.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few ways you can integrate WordPress with other Zapier apps to save time. No matter your work style, saving time and energy will always benefit you in the long run by automating your workflow to simplify tasks and projects.

Consider automating tasks that are data heavy, like forms or spreadsheets, email campaigns, and social media posts. This way you can dedicate most of your time to actually doing the work you want to do.

You should also consider using Zapier to track hours and manage projects so you don’t have to watch the clock. The hours you save can be put to better use building your business and reputation.

And the faster and more efficiently you get things done, the better that reputation will be.

How Integrating Your Forms With Other Apps Will Save You Time and Effort

Does your company use forms? If so, you already know there are plenty of creative ways to use them, from gathering customer feedback to processing product orders and answering questions. But do you also know that your forms can do so much more than that? Your forms, when combined with other helpful productivity apps, can save you a ton of time and effort. How?

Two words: automated tasks.

When you set up a form, the last thing you want to do is track every entry, send a bunch of emails, and follow up with everyone who’s submitted a form on your site. That’s why it’s a necessity to set up automated processes for everything that happens after users hit “Submit.”

If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, you’re probably using plugins to manage your forms, which means you already have some level of automation in place. But there’s plenty more you can do with automation that can save you huge amounts of time (and that lets you do much cooler things).

So where’s the best place to start? With tools, of course.

Automation Tools

When it comes to automating tasks, Zapier is the granddaddy of all automation tools.

zapier

Zapier helps individual apps work together to create an automated workflow. You choose two apps to integrate, and when something happens in one app – someone fills out your form – something happens in the other app – you get a notification (or something much more creative, but we’ll get to that).

There are other alternatives to Zapier, like Pipemonk. But with over 1,000 apps supported, you have a better chance of finding the app you need using Zapier.

Once you’re setup in Zapier, which apps should you combine? Well, you should start with your form, obviously. After that, you’ll need to determine which app will help accomplish your goals. Let’s look at a few options.

Integrated Apps

Apps are a great way to get things done with minimal effort. They take heavy tasks like sending emails and creating databases off your shoulders so you can focus on other things. Here are some great examples of how apps can integrate with your forms to save time.

Send Marketing Emails

Chances are if you have a form, you’re probably collecting emails. But once a user gives you their information, where does it go? Do you collect all the form data together and store it away in some spreadsheet never to be seen again? If so, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity.

By using a tool like Zapier, you can integrate your forms with apps like MailChimp or Intercom to send targeted emails to your users. It could be something as simple as a quick thank you email, or a follow up to a question or concern, or even a promotional email targeting a product or service they were interested in. Either way, sending out a quick, personalized message is the perfect way to keep customer attention and make sure your piles of gathered email addresses don’t waste away in a database somewhere.

Apps to consider: Email or marketing app such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, Intercom, HubSpot, Pardot, Infusionsoft, etc.

Build and Save Databases

Of course, if you’re the type who still needs to collect form data in spreadsheets (and you actually plan on using it later), you can still automate the process to save you some time. Integrate your forms with apps like Google Sheets or Excel to capture bulk information quickly to save or use how you please.

This is especially helpful if you share your databases with other businesses or clients. You can connect your customer forms to any app needed, whether it’s setting up a card in Trello or sending form submissions to Go-To-Webinar. Either way, having your databases easily accessible is a great benefit.

Apps to consider: Database and form apps such as Google Sheets, Excel, Zoho CRM, Knack, FormKeep, Gravity Forms, etc.

Send Team Notifications

Your customers aren’t the only ones that need to receive notifications once a form is complete. You might also consider notifying your team so they can work to process any data that’s been submitted. That’s where SMS and other team notifications come into play. Use apps like SMS by Zapier, Slack, or Flowdock to send notifications to those who need it.

Of course, different notifications work best depending on your situation. Sometimes sending an SMS to every team member is the best choice, whereas a private chat message to a specific team member may be a better alternative. Whichever way you choose, you can use notifications to keep on top of your workload in real time.

Apps to consider: Instant messaging apps such as SMS by Zapier, Pushbullet, Notify My Android, Slack, HipChat, Flowdock, GoToMeeting, Jabber, etc.

Gather Leads for Social Content

Maybe you need your apps to do something a little more creative than standard notifications. How about setting up a workflow that turns your forms into social media posts? Apps like Buffer let you integrate forms (that you can design to gather specific pieces of information) that you can use for social updates.

This system also works to help manage content for your blog. If you use your forms to gather information like customer testimonials, you can easily create documents full of content that can be used to develop new posts later on. The Vadamalai Media Group did something similar by creating a vBulletin forum about agriculture where members could post products they wanted to buy or sell. Then, they made a Wufoo form that allowed visitors to fill out information about the items they want to buy or sell, gathered that information, and used it to create content.

Apps to consider: Lead generation or social apps such as Wufoo, Unbounce, vBulletin, Buffer, Yammer, etc.

Create Surveys

Surveys are a great way to find out what your customers are thinking, but sorting through the data can be a time-consuming job. If you use forms to gather customer feedback, why not integrate with other apps that automate all that information?

You can input your form surveys to a database or spreadsheet, then have those databases send feedback emails and even Twitter mentions to keep your customers feeling special.

Apps to consider: Any survey, database, or social app such as SurveyMonkey, Webflow, SurveyMethods, Twitter, Facebook pages, Google Sheets, etc.

Track Purchases and Orders

While most forms are about collecting basic information like names and emails, some forms are used for more serious business, like processing transactions and purchases. If you use your forms to take payments, then integrating with apps that make that process easy and secure is a must.

If you need mobile payments, you can use apps like Xero to process payments and track invoices. PayPal and Zoho Invoice will also do the job nicely, and most pair well with Zapier to connect seamlessly to your form software of choice.

Apps to consider: Ecommerce or billing apps such as Xero, PayPal, Square, Zoho Invoice, WooCommerce, Shopify, Braintree, Chargify, etc.

Manage Schedules and Bookings

Do you use forms to manage your business calendar and schedule customers for appointments? If so, you might want to consider integrating your forms with your favorite calendar apps to save time.

Some businesses use forms to help customers manage bookings, like the Visit Sierra Leone team. They have an airport transfer and travel guide service, so they created a form for people to submit their arrival information. When someone fills out the form, Zapier connects with Google Calendar and sends a confirmation email to the customer and an SMS message to the airport.

Apps to consider: Booking apps such as Google Calendar, YouCanBookMe, ScheduleOnce, Calendly, etc.

Give Customer Support

If you have customers, you have customer inquiries. If some of the forms on your site are dedicated to taking customer questions and feedback, you’ll want to make sure that process is as smooth as possible. There’s nothing customers hate more than a delayed response when they need help.

That’s where Zapier and other integrated apps can help. Apps like Zendesk make it easy to answer customer questions from one location, and you can import your forms directly to the virtual helpdesk. Do you need to give real-time answers to your customers? Try using a text or chat app like LiveChat to reach customers faster.

Apps to consider: Customer support apps such as Zendesk, Help Scout, LiveChat, LiveAgent, Pure Chat, etc.

How to Use Integrations to Save You Time Every Day

Software created by startups is innovative and develops much faster than old-school software. But these startups are prone to shutting down, pivoting, or getting acquired just as quickly as they rose in the first place. You might read about a new application, try it out and love it—only to have it get bought out and shut down less than a year later.

Untitled

Since you can’t rely completely on any one software, this modern software landscape encourages you to use lots of applications that do one thing really well, rather than one application that does everything. When you want to try a new application, or the one you were using gets shut down, you can sub it into your existing process quite easily.

This approach brings a new problem. Instead of all of your data being contained within the one application’s database, it’s now spread in 15 different databases. Each time you update one of those databases, it’s now out of sync with the other 14, until you manually update each of them.

Why Integrations?

I’m currently writing this on Dropbox Paper, as I love focusing on the writing instead of a million different formatting options. Once I’m finished writing it here, I’m going to copy and paste it into Google Docs, and then update Trello to let the rest of my team know they can review it and make comments and amendments.

They’ll often message me on Slack to let me know about any required modifications. Sometimes they’ll email me. Once the writing part is done, we’ve then gotta move everything from Google Docs into a few different applications. The blog gets moved to WordPress, the newsletter gets pasted into Drip, and we schedule all our social media posts through Buffer.

Phew.

That’s a lot of applications, and a lot of human interaction between them. Not only does this waste a lot of time copying and pasting information between applications, but it means that information is delayed until someone can pass it along. etc. Not only that, but unless I’ve got all the applications open at all times, I can easily miss a notification and trip up the whole process. Not only that, but copying and pasting has potential for human error, and the more copying and pasting there is, the greater the risk.

This is where integrations come in.

What are Integrations?

Most modern applications provide Open APIs, which allow you to run the software from outside the application. For example, you can create a new Trello card using just the command line. But for most of us, that’s not very useful. What is useful is combining two different applications’ APIs using Webhooks: messages that get triggered upon a certain event, and sent from one application to another.

What this means in non-developer is that instead of using the command line to create a new Trello card, you can take any application you’re already using, and get that to trigger some other application you’re already using. Without changing the applications you’ve learned to use, you can eliminate a lot of the manual work necessary to link them together.

What This Means For Your Business

Entrepreneur Simon Senek, author of “Start With Why”, attended the Gathering of Titans, an annual 5-day retreat for entrepreneurs at MIT, and was shocked that many of the business owners in attendance had lost focus on why they started their business in the first place. They spent their time “poring over financials or some other easily measured result, and fixating on HOW they were to achieve those tangible results”, and had become totally removed from actually leading their businesses.

If you’re still manually generating reports or crossing your fingers that all your online orders have been properly fulfilled, you are spending unnecessary energy on operations that can be easily automated. This is time and energy better spent focusing on your core mission.

Getting Started With Integrations

The two most popular Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) are IFTTT and Zapier. IFTTT allows you to connect two individual applications together using one simple statement: “If this, then that.” Users can create ‘recipes’ that combine the triggers and actions associated with each application, with no coding or technical knowledge required. IFTTT is, however, a more consumer-focused platform, whereas Zapier has a clear focus on small to midsize businesses and enterprises. Since that’s probably you, let’s focus on Zapier.

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Zapier is an integration service that lets businesses sync data, connect web applications and automate tasks without writing custom code or requiring extensive technical knowledge. Zapier offers a variety of unique pre-built connections called “zaps” and features over 200 online service providers. The Zapier Zapbook includes web apps such as Asan, Basecamp, Buffer, Disqus, Dropbox, Evernote, GitHub, HootSuite, FormKeep, MailChimp, Salesforce, Trello, WordPress, and Google Apps. Zapier recently launched a new API Status Board which monitors the uptime and downtime for every API used by Zapier.

When getting started with integrations, take a look at each of your processes – design, development, sales, onboarding, etc.. Identify any point that involves simply copying and pasting data from one application to another. These are areas that are prone to error and waste time. Of particular importance are points in your processes that block someone’s work until the data is copied across. For example, if your contact form submissions go straight to your inbox, you’ll get a notification immediately. But your salespeople will have to wait until you have time to input the new lead into your CRM. With integrations, they’ll get a notification at the same time you do. You can even turn off your notifications! Your job there is done, and you can trust your salespeople to follow up as soon as they can.

Although today’s iPaaS vendors make it possible to connect many business, social and cloud applications together, iPaaS is not a silver bullet. The extent to which applications can be integrated depends on each application’s API. Basecamp recently released a fantastic new version of their product, but failed to provide an API. This means that users have the unfortunate choice of using the old version and keeping their integrations, or updating to the new version but reintroducing all that manual work.

However, as iPaaS becomes more popular and necessary, the demand for powerful APIs in every application will increase. And as more and more small web and mobile applications are created, the need to bring data and applications together will increase greatly.