‘Automate What You Hate’

With the move to remote working and the changes to social distancing since the onset of COVID-19 many businesses have been forced to evaluate their use of technology and quickly adopt solutions to fill in some gaps in their business processes that have changed under the coronavirus. Companies that never thought they could function with a remote workforce have been forced to adapt quickly – I’ve spoken to many employees at other companies who have helped their organisations transition to a remote workforce in under 2 weeks.

I’ve had a lot of conversations over the past 6 weeks with customers who have found themselves in two common situations:

  1. having been forced into working remotely they quickly need a new solution or integration (e.g. implementing eSignatures now that in person signing isn’t safe or transitioning from retail sales to online sales)
  2. they have been able to take the extra time they have to finally get around to some of those projects they have been putting off, such as getting an eCommerce store up and running or integrating two different software platforms to remove those repetitive manual tasks.

Earlier this week Shopify, a leading global commerce company, announced that the number of new stores created on Shopify grew 62% between March 13 and April 24, compared to the prior six weeks. In the 6 week period since March 13, local orders have more than doubled in English-speaking geographies. As retailers suspended their in-store operations retail merchants managed to replace 94% of lost point-of-sale orders with online sales over the same period.

Earlier this week I attended the DocuSign Momentum Live APAC which was streamed live where a number of DocuSign customers shared their experiences and best practice examples of how they’re keeping business ticking in the current climate. We saw examples of how businesses are using the DocuSign platform to complete JobKeeper application forms so they can access the Australian Federal Government JobKeeper scheme payments. This form can be bulk sent to employees and a complete audit trail can be maintained.

DocuSign have a dedicated page on how they are supporting the global response to COVID-19 in healthcare, government, education, and business. We’ve helped a number of businesses in the past 6 weeks quickly adopt DocuSign for sending out agreements to their customers which, for now at least, can no longer be signed in person. Using eSignature allows you to have agreements signed remotely anywhere from any device – using our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution you can also integrate this into your existing FileMaker solution.

I came across an article recently on the Inside Small Business website titled Automate what you hate which talks about the benefits of automation and how small businesses can use technology to replace boring manual repetitive tasks. The article goes on to give four reasons to automate the repetitive tasks you hate.

Here at Databuzz we’re big fans of using technology to automate repetitive manual tasks and leveraging the power of APIs to integrate various systems, something we’ve written about many times before. If you find yourself with some extra time during the COVID-19 shutdown we would encourage you to use this opportunity to look at ways you can streamline your current workflows and remove any unnecessary manual tasks, particular those that involve double data entry. If you’ve been planning to integrate your FileMaker solution with another platform now is a great time to make these system changes to your business and automate what you hate.

Here’s some ideas based on conversations and work we’ve done over the past few months helping customers on ways you can change the way you communicate with customers or integrate your FileMaker solution with other platforms:

  • SMS is a great alternative replacement for certain communications, such as appointment reminders, special offers, school alerts to parents. We saw a great example recently with a doctor in the USA using our fmSMS solution to implement a “Doctor by Text” service
  • If you have an online store and find yourself manually entering orders into your FileMaker solution look at whether you can integrate the two platforms. Most online stores have APIs that you can use to integrate with your FileMaker solution – if you’re using either WooCommerce or Shopify we have integration solutions already built that you can use to get up and running quickly.
  • eSignatures are becoming more popular with the social distancing rules and can help you remove paper and establish a digital audit trail and allow your customers, staff etc to sign documents on their own device at their convenience. Our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution is proving very popular at the moment as it can help you get up and running with integrating eSignatures into your existing FileMaker solution
  • Accounting software integration: see our earlier article about the benefits of integrating your FileMaker solution with your accounting software. If you find yourself manually entering the same invoice, payment, purchase order etc in both your FileMaker solution and your accounting software there is a better way! If you’re using either Xero or MYOB AccountRight we have integration solutions already built to help you fastback an integration.

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