IT

3 Automation Tools To Start Automating Your Business

Modern businesses rely on automation every day. Here are three of our favorite tools for helping our clients automate tasks and be more productive.

Automation is quickly becoming a key component of any successful business. It allows you to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and free up time to focus on more important tasks. In this article, we want to highlight a few tools that can help you start automating simple tasks in your business today: Power Automate, Zapier, and BrightGuage.

Power Automate is a powerful automation tool from Microsoft that allows you to automate a wide range of business processes. It is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products, making it a great option for businesses that already use Microsoft tools.

Zapier is a popular automation tool that connects over 1,000 different apps and services, allowing you to automate almost any process you can imagine. With Zapier, you can create custom "zaps" that automate tasks and processes between different apps, saving you time and effort.

BrightGuage is a software automation tool that allows you to easily show your clients the value you provide on a regular basis through automated client reporting. This helps build strong client relationships and trust. With BrightGuage, you can choose to send reports to either your clients or internal teams and customize them using default templates or starting from scratch. You can also set the schedule for when the reports will be sent out.

If any of these tools sound helpful for you in your business, keep reading to learn more!

Power Automate - A Microsoft Ecosystem Automation Tool

Power Automate is an enterprise system from Microsoft that allows businesses to automate processes and tasks to increase productivity and efficiency. This online service allows users to connect and synchronize data analysis and applications without requiring extensive coding. Power Automate can be used to automate routine business processes, move data between systems, send reminders, and support data from any API. It can also automate tasks from a local device.

Power Automate Pros & Cons

As with any software, there are benefits and downsides to using Power Automate as your solution for business automation.  Here’s a quick list of the main pros and cons of this software.

Pros


Cons

  • Comparatively poor compatibility with non-Microsoft software, such as CRMs, marketing email newsletter platforms, etc.
  • Limited to sequential workflows
  • Limited complexity of automations

Example Automations Using Power Automate

Here are a few examples of what you can do with this simple software automation tool to save you and your employees on both time and headaches.

  • Automatically save email attachments

Power Automate can save email attachments to the relevant SharePoint folder, making it easy to access files without searching through emails. This can potentially integrate with your CRM and associate all attached files with the client’s profile, though integration limitations may prohibit this further step in some cases.

  • Manage holiday requests and approvals

Power Automate can automate the request and approval process for employee leave, allowing managers to quickly respond to requests and employees to track the status of their requests. This and similar automations can help keep your HR team lean and efficient.

  • Request approval for new documents and notify employees via Teams

Power Automate can automate the approval process for new documents, allowing team members to quickly review and approve them. Once approved, team members can be notified via Microsoft Teams.  This helps reduce the communication bottlenecks that can slow down project completion.

Zapier - An Affordable Tool For Cross-Platform Automation

Zapier is an online platform that connects apps and services to automate workflows. Using Zaps, users can create automated tasks without the need to build integrations themselves. Yoast SEO Premium offers a Zapier integration to help users streamline their workflow.

Zapier Pros & Cons

As with any software, there are benefits and downsides to using Zapier as your solution for business automation.  Here’s a quick list of frequently reported pros and cons.

Pros

  • Can integrate with almost every app or service
  • Can create custom integrations
  • Free version available for testing
  • Easy to use builder with advanced features
  • Low barrier to entry with a starter plan under $100/month


Cons

  • Limited number of tasks and per-task fee after that point
  • Limits to collaboration and support for the user community
  • Advanced users and large companies will face significantly higher costs

Example Automations Using Zapier

Here are a few examples of how Zapier can be used to automate valuable business tasks with its various cross-platform software integrations.

  • Send out follow-ups from customer interactions

A simple automation to get started with is automatically sending digital surveys to customers who have an interaction with your customer support team.  Integration with survey monkey quickly and easily makes this valuable process effortless.

  • Keep track of social media mentions

You can track mentions of your business with Zapier by creating Zaps to automatically search various social media platforms for mentions of your business.  This lets you stay on top of and manage your online business reputation.

  • Automatically post social media content calendars

While there are many dedicated tools for social media management, you can use the vast array of integrations in Zapier to create zaps that post automatically to business social accounts using planned content stored in spreadsheets with no additional software subscriptions.  This is extremely flexible and can be noticeable cost savings over social media management finicky tools.

BrightGuage - A Tool For Creating Automatic Graphs and Dashboards

BrightGuage is a software automation tool that allows you to easily show your clients the value you provide through automated client reporting generated at regular intervals. This helps build strong client relationships and trust. With BrightGuage, you can choose to send reports to either your clients or internal teams, and you can customize them using default templates or starting from scratch. You can also set the schedule for exactly when the reports will be sent out.

BrightGuage Pros & Cons

As with the other software automation tools we’ve discussed, there are advantages and drawbacks to using Brightgauge for your business.

Pros

  • The software is powerful and helpful
  • Easy to deploy
  • Support was able to help with most questions

Cons

  • The filter option is only available to users with an "Editor" license
  • Overhauls and audits are difficult to manage
  • Additional costs for setup and new data sources
  • Different prices for different functionalities.

Example Automations Using BrightGuage

Since BrightGuage is an information visualizer with both client-facing and internal-use dashboard applications, it is both less flexible and more capable in its niche than the other two software automation tools we’ve discussed so far. Here are a few examples of how Brightgauge can be used to automate reporting and data visualization tasks.

  • Automate reporting to all stakeholders

Set up BrightGuage to automatically send reports to all of the key stakeholders in a client's organization, including custom variations for different departments and stakeholders. The same principle can apply to your internal reporting, with the most relevant information being displayed for each party.

  • Increase transparency and remove user bias with automation

Using BrightGuage to share both the good and the bad with clients in their reports help to promote trust and keep your team on top of problems as they arise. You can always address any shortcomings in follow-up calls, and your clients will appreciate the transparency.

  • Flexibly change out which data points are being presented and emphasized

You can use BrightGuage to periodically revise the KPIs in client reports and internal dashboards to ensure all parties are always presented with the information they actually need.  Unlike more limited reporting software with canned report types, you can really play with what data you’re presenting and its placement to maximize the impact of your reports for particular client types or industries.

Ready To Get Started Automating Your Business?

If you are ready to get started with software automation tools in your business, please reach out to our team of IT experts.  We help our clients manage and support implementing software automations in all kinds of businesses, from SAS to manufacturing.  

Brian Gagnon

Brian is CTO at Uprise and is a technologist with 25 years of experience building, scaling, and optimizing business ecosystems at companies that include HGST/Western Digital, VMware, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

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