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Using Zapier to Automate Common Business Workflows

Adam Bertram| April 18 2019

| IT insights, Automation

using-zapier-to-automate-common-business-workflows

A typical company has thousands of workflows happening all of the time, whether it's onboarding new employees, approving expense reports or opening up a helpdesk ticket.

Every business has many sets of processes that contain tasks that happen in sequence, one after the other, over and over again. The minutiae of the task may change like an employee name, department, manager and so on but the overall process is consistent. These workflows are ripe for automation, and where there's a need, an industry will rise.

Zapier is an online service that allows users to link together many different services so that seemingly disparate products can communicate with each other as if they were one system. Zapier is one of the most popular workflow automation services touting support for more than 1000 different online services from Google Docs, Trello, Amazon S3 and hundreds of other products.

Even though these services seemingly have nothing in common, Zapier allows users to link one service to another via each service's API. Since many online services build their APIs via the standard REST method, Zapier hosts a platform that links all of these products together via their APIs.

Managed File Transfer AutomationFor example, maybe you need to add a contact to your MailChimp email campaign when a new row gets added to a Google worksheet or create a new AirTable database row when a Trello card matching a specific name moves to a new list. These kinds of workflows are possible with Zapier.

Zapier is able to integrate into hundreds of online applications and provide a dashboard that allows users to create what Zapier calls zaps which are essentially workflows.

To provide a real-world example, my company, TechSnips, uses Zapier extensively to automate hundreds of workflows. We currently have a zap (workflow) set up when a new client is added to our system. We use the AirTable service to add new clients when they come onboard. We also use Trello cards to represent clients, use JotForm forms to receive input for various clients and have a DropBox folder to drop client files into. That's four seemingly different services. You can see the zap below.

zap

Using Zapier, when a new database record goes into AirTable we:

  • use the Code step written in Python to add the client name to a Trello card
  • populate a form field on a JotForm form with the client name
  • create a client folder in DropBox

This is only a single, simple workflow. You are able to get as complicated as you need with paths branching off in various if/then directions, filters that only allow certain actions matching specific criteria.

Are you using Zapier to automate your workflows? Share it with us in the comments below. 

managed file transfer

Topics: IT insights, Automation

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY Adam Bertram

Adam Bertram is a 20-year veteran of IT. He’s currently an automation engineer, blogger, independent consultant, freelance writer, author, and trainer. Adam focuses on DevOps, system management, and automation technologies as well as various cloud platforms. He is a Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP and efficiency nerd that enjoys teaching others a better way to leverage automation.

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