Zapier: Task automation without programming
Automate repetitive tasks with web services like Zapier. The process is similar to setting up an email rule with a web mailer. Here's what a sequence of automation steps might look like:
If (this or that),
- take the data and process (in this form).
- Then send the data / the file to (one service) and
- to (a second service).
The data sent can be visualized as Excel files, which consist of many columns and can contain all the information that you know from your Xentral. Most tools also come with ready-to-use examples for the trial period (or even free of charge for a longer period), which can often be set up with just a few clicks.
It's easy - just give it a try! You don't need to connect Xentral in a technically perfect way yet. It is enough to use a data export of some orders via the reports module in Xentral or to use some existing address data for testing.
As a key user, you have your process in mind and may want to try connecting to new platforms, enriching or modifying data with external data sources. The possibilities in Xentral to connect such tools are described in this article.
The output of Xentral data in charts or the analysis by business intelligence tools (so-called BI tools) is certainly also of interest to many business owners. We will address this topic in another article: Individual statistics: Tableau & Co. Xentral aggregates data from the entire company, from sales, revenue figures and CRM data such as touchpoints, to order processing, warehouse and logistics. In addition, accounts payable or current costs are also recorded through accounting preparation. Incoming payments and credit notes complete the dataset and thus provide an excellent basis for analysis and for connecting external tools.
Basically, the tools described here all work in a similar way: incoming data is processed in individual steps and passed on to the next process step. Anyone who can process data with Excel can already handle these programs. So it's worth spending a few hours on the subject.
Here is a small example to illustrate this: A new order has been received in Xentral, the Transfer module writes the order data as a CSV file to a server via FTP. This starts a chain of automation and distribution. The file is read by the service and the following stored steps are processed:
- Record the customer information in a Google Spreadsheet for the sales department.
- Report name and email address to the newsletter tool if the user has agreed.
- Add the total to your own sales statistics on Google Drive.
- For specific items, send an email to a supplier.
- Send key contact information to CustomerCare in a Slack channel.
Important: All tools described here are examples of many available services and programs. These vary in terms of functionality, complexity, operating system, pricing models and are, among other things, cloud or on-premises operated systems or the associated clients.
As an example, some of the best-known tools are listed below (as of 02/2020):
- Parabola: https://parabola.io/sources
- Synesty: https://synesty.com/
- Integromat: https://www.integromat.com/en/
- Zapier: https://zapier.com/app/dashboard
- IFTTT https://ifttt.com/ or IFTTT for business https://platform.ifttt.com
Note: These tools have not all been tested in interaction with Xentral, but represent a starting point for your own research.