According to entrepreneur and successful SaaS founder Jason Lemkin, getting apps to talk to each other is “a huge next frontier”.
With at least 100 new business cloud apps being added to the market each month, any business making use of Software-as-a-Service can quickly end up repeating data entry in multiple business tools. It is a headache that mid-size companies are currently facing, with small business on a path to growth also being hit.
“We are still doing way, way, way too much data entry by valuable, non-clerical employees”, Lemkin posted to Q&A expert site Quora in February. Lemkin knows the industry well: as co-founder of EchoSign, an electronic signature software service that was snapped up by Adobe, he worked with over 1 million customers and close to 18 million app users. After EchoSign was sold, he became Vice President of Adobe’s Business Services, where he is projected to generate $100 million in business this year.
“We need SaaS start-ups that automate much of what is still manual data-entry in current generation SaaS products,” Lemkin argues.
At CloudWork, we build practical, ‘real world’ integrations that remove all the complexity for those businesses looking for ways to move data from one SaaS app to another. Our integrations do exactly what Lemkin is calling for: SaaS automation solutions that reduce duplicate data entry and allow you to use cloud apps to get your business operations flowing.
Lemkin identifies some key areas where SaaS data entry needs to be automated. We put CloudWork to the test against Lemkin’s demands:
- “CRM that doesn’t require manual entry of leads, contacts, opportunities, stage, etc.” In talking to CloudWork users, we found many business teams end up making minimal use of their CRM app because it is too much hassle to copy and paste in data about every new contact. Our CRM integrations let you automatically add contact details to your CRM from emails, invoice software and marketing campaigns. We also integrate data so your CRM contacts are synced with other business apps you may use. So far, we have Salesforce, SugarCRM, Highrise, Capsule CRM, and Zoho CRM in our integrations marketplace, with more coming soon.
- “Real-time ERP/Financials and Billing that automatically integrates with the revenue side of your app.” In this area of business operations, we are particularly keen to hear what integrations would make sense to your business. For example, we have a series of Chargify and FreshBooks integrations planned, and will prioritize the order of their development based on user experience feedback. The capacities of our integrations are set to grow even further as we implement our PayPal integrations with a range of business apps in the coming weeks.
- “Real-time semi-automated Human Capital Management that provides employees constant feedback, and ends the drudgery and complete ineffectiveness of the Annual Review.”This is an interesting idea and we look forward to exploring the implications of this in a future blog post. It will require businesses to first model the sort of performance indicators that indicate success in the workplace, and then seeing what evidence-based data is available from your business apps to demonstrate worker achievement and high merit. For now, we have integrations that allow managers to receive SMS alerts to monitor support responses, the lead generation impact of turning leads into customers, and automatic record-keeping and time-tracking for newly added tasks in team projects. All can help managers measure the capacity of their staff to act on data and act efficiently at each stage of an operational process. We’d love the opportunity to work with businesses to work out what additional integrations would make sense in this business context.”
As Lemkin argues: “Software is great. Web software is better. Data entry is horrible. Data entry by high-priced employees who aren’t paid to do data entry? Unconscionable.”
Lemkin is right. For businesses to stay focused on customers and to grow their operations in a way that can scale successfully, SaaS automation is the only solution that will work. SaaS has been a game changer for businesses: leveling the playing field and allowing anyone with a lean entrepreneur mindset to compete effectively against enterprises in winning customer loyalty and providing innovative products and services. These gains have begun to be chipped away as businesses spend more time and resources moving data between the multiple SaaS tools necessary in a business’ operations.
We are excited to see CloudWork bring back the productivity gains for businesses that have moved to the cloud. Now is the time to begin using integrations in your business to automate tasks and move data seamlessly. To compete, you need your business to find its flow.
Luckily, the SaaS automation frontier has arrived.