There’s a debate going on in the cloud app world at the moment:
• One cloud “cover all” app to run your business; or
• Many cloud apps each doing their own thing, well.
What’s my opinion? While it’s not the easiest to manage at times, and definitely not the cheapest way of running things, I’m definitely a fan of using many apps to run your business – each doing its own thing extremely well.
Why? Because of the same reason you’d go to a cardiologist and not your local GP if you’re having heart problems.
Each app has it’s own specialty. And while some apps might cover multiple functions of your business, there’s likely a range of apps that fits together like a jigsaw piece for your business.
The problem then comes about where you’ve got all these cloud apps, multiple databases, different tasks – but how do you get them to talk? The other option is to go and update them all manually, but that defeats the purpose of automation benefits of cloud apps.
So to avoid the catastrophic disasters of multiple databases having unsynchronised and conflicting information… That’s where some smart cookies decided to create an app that integrates apps!
Apps that Integrate Apps
There’s a few to choose from, each with their own strengths:
OneSaas keeps a central database of contacts, invoices and your business resources, then synchronises this with your various apps. The idea is to keep one updated, and it will do the rest.
– Integrates with 31 apps at time of writing
– Paid subscription model
Zapier is sensational – the most connected by far. In contrast to OneSaas (where OneSaas itself keeps a central database), Zapier pushes information between apps based on certain triggers that you set up.
You can also trigger ‘zaps’ (Zapier’s word for a trigger pushing between apps) to be used within the same app. Let’s take Twitter for instance: You can set up a Zap to thank a new follower for connecting via a Tweet. All automatically!
(Follow me on Twitter here and you’ll see what I’m on about 🙂 )
- Integrates with a whopping 422 apps at time of writing
- Fremium model (try basic features for free, pay for premium)
IFTTT is short for “If This, Then That”. Or even shorter for “If this app does this task, then this other app over here will do this other task”.
- Integrates with 146 apps at time of writing
- No obvious subscription model
Another great gem, is that some cloud apps actually build their own integrations with other app partners.
Let’s take Xero for example, where they have what’s called an ‘Open API’. In short, an Open API is where they share their code with other software developers and developers can build an integration very easily. They’ve currently got a dictionary sized list of apps that have integrated with them as a result.
Having an Open API can mean avoiding the need for one of these ‘connector’ apps, as the information passes straight between the two – no middle man required!
Get Your Apps Talking
You need to get all your apps talking with one another, once you’ve worked out the best mix for your business.
Be sure to use one or more of the methods above – you cannot afford to lose productivity, time, accurate records and the pulling out of hair that come about as a result of using unsynchronised apps.