Why business automation rocks, and how Drupal is helping
Getting bogged down in the day-to-day, repetitive tasks that a business requires is not only a drain on your mental health, but it could also become a hindrance to growing and scaling your business. Add up the time from all the little tasks you do in a day. If you could automate one-third of those tasks, think about how much more your business could grow! Read on to learn more about business automation and how Drupal could be the answer to your business woes.
- Business automation is a strategy in which a business like yours finds a way to automate processes and manual tasks to reduce costs/time.
- The time savings that come from having solid business processes and automation setup, is time that you and your staff get to leverage to grow your business.
- Since Drupal is an open source platform, it gives business owners a huge opportunity to build custom integrations that can drastically reduce workload and help with business automation.
What is business automation?
Business automation is a strategy in which a business like yours finds a way to automate processes and manual tasks to reduce costs/time. This is normally accomplished through third-party software and integrations.
Business automation can be applied in many areas of a company, including, but not limited to:
- Marketing and sales
- Project management and product development
- Accounting and inventory control
Why does business automation matter?
At the end of the day what we are trying to do is save time. Think about it: If you can save 30 hours a month because you have solid business processes and automation setup, that's an extra 30 hours a month you and your staff get to leverage to grow your business.
Business automation is a powerful thing, it gives you the ability to scale your business much faster than if you had to do things manually. Here are the steps you should be taking to work on your business automation.
- What recurring tasks and processes do you and your staff currently have? Also, take a look at any swivel chair processes you may have and see if they can be eliminated.
- Is there a tool, integration or software that is designed to automate this task?
- What is the price of that tool and does it justify the time and money saved for automating that specific task?
Follow those three steps over and over again when trying to find ways to automate your business and you will be well on your way to increasing efficiency in your business.
Why Drupal is great for business automation
This one is simple. Since Drupal is an open source platform, it gives business owners a huge opportunity to build custom integrations that can drastically reduce workload and help with business automation.
Yes, lots of software as a service (SAAS) platforms have plugins and apps that can integrate with their system. But, for the most part, these integrations, modules and APIs are very standard. The moment a business requires something custom that they need their website to integrate with, all these other platforms fail to pan out. On the other hand, if your software is open source, and your business needs a custom integration, it’s most likely it can be built on Drupal due to the open source framework. Just ask some of our clients!
Bar Codes Talk
Selling barcodes & labels is a very complex business. It’s a very unique product that requires a lot of unique solutions. In our time working with Bar Codes Talk our main mission has always been the same, how can we streamline the fulfillment process for both barcodes and labels? With some hard work and custom modules, we have created some awesome integrations that have helped with all of this.
- Nicelabel/NiceForm Module — Communicates with NiceForm (label printing software) and automatically puts the labels purchased in the printing queue.
- Hubspot — Automatically inputs all Bar Codes Talk customers into the Hubspot CRM and separates each customer into different sales tiers based on their purchase.
- Stamps — Communicate with the Stamps.com API for enhanced USPS shipping automation during the shipping fulfillment process.
Click here to see Bar Codes Talk full case study.
The Vault Pro Scooters
The Vault Pro Scooters is a client of ours who was struggling with their shipping/fulfillment process. Their staff was performing a lot of the shipping tasks manually, which was eating up a huge portion of their time that they could be using somewhere else.
In this specific scenario, we flew out one of our lead developers to their office/warehouse to analyze and study their shipping/fulfillment process. Because of this, we were able to use the Drupal platform to eliminate a lot of the manual tasks they were performing during the shipping and fulfillment process.
Here are some other modules that have helped automate and streamline their business.
- Commerce Fulfillment — Allows The Vault to create shipments on their website and automatically send shipment information to FedEx and USPS to generate shipping labels for printing.
- FedEx Crossborder — Integrates with FedEx's Crossborder platform to automatically provide international shipping rates and submit international order information to FedEx. The Vault then just ships order to FedEx's distribution center and FedEx handles shipping the order to the customer.
- Commerce Stock — Automatically updates product stock when purchases are made, either through the online check or through the Point of Sale.
- Drupal POS — We built a POS specifically for the Pro Vault Scooters. The great thing about the POS is that it is built on Drupal. Now all the Pro Vault Scooters inventory, content, product info, pricing, customer data, digital assets, and functionality are all stored in one system. With this one system, you are equipped with an infinite amount of data for personalization, marketing automation, real-time analytics, and business logic. Click here to learn about Commerce POS.
How Acro Media is contributing to business automation
We know the importance of business automation, and while it’s hard for us to know exactly what your business could benefit most from, we tried to create something that could help the majority of our clients.
This is why we created a Drupal Quickbooks integration! Now you can automate all the boring, manual accounting tasks. This integration will sync and automate all your product orders, customers, refunds, credit memos, invoicing… and much more.
If you are looking to save a huge amount of time every month in Quickbooks, you can learn more about our Drupal Quickbooks integration here.
Other Drupal modules that help with business automation
Please note that to be able to use the modules below you will need to own or have access to a subscription for these products.
Hubspot Module — Hubspot is an amazing CRM and marketing tool used by many companies. Some features are free and others are paid. This module facilitates the submission of webforms to the HubSpot Leads API to help in tracking leads through Hubspot.
Mailchimp Module — Mailchimp, in simple terms, is an awesome email marketing tool. This module makes it possible to connect Mailchimp directly with your website helping you automate and build lists that can be directly synced from your Drupal site into Mailchimp.
Marketo Module — The Marketo Module helps you integrate the tracking capabilities offered by the Marketo Automation tool. Webform integration and user registration are key features of this module which also helps you in assessing your website’s ability to capture lead data.
Amazon Module — Syncs your Drupal store with your Amazon store. If you're removing items, adding items, selling items, this module will keep both stores updated and in sync automatically.
eBay Module — Syncs your Drupal store with your eBay account. If you're removing items, adding items, selling items, this module will keep both stores updated and in sync automatically.
CRM Modules — Drupal integrates with many different CRM platforms. If you are currently using any popular CRM, it is most likely there is a Drupal module that will integrate directly with that CRM.
The anything your business needs Module: This is the beauty of Drupal and open source. We can create just about any module for any integration with any software or third party tool you might be using. If there isn’t a module that does what you need, we can build it! This is why Drupal is so superior when it comes to integrations and business automation.
Other cool automation tools
I want to finish this post by giving a list of some other cool tools you can use to help with business and marketing automation. Some of them are free and some of them are paid. Check them out and let us know what you think.
Buffer (free & paid) — Looking for a simple way to automate your social media marketing, then this is a tool you need.
Mailchimp (free & paid) — If you are looking to do email marketing (which you should), then Mailchimp is a great software we use for most of our clients. It allows you to send automated emails based on customer behaviour and preferences. You can get started with pre-built Workflows or use their built-in segmentation and targeting options to build custom rules.
Spark Shipping (paid) — Spark Shipping is dropshipping software that integrates with your existing E-commerce store to automate order fulfillment, provide dropshipping automation and Amazon repricing. If you don’t do dropshipping, you can ignore this one.
IFTTT (free & paid) — This tool has a TON (over 340 services) of different apps and integrations that can be automated. Rather than me explaining everything, I suggest you check it out and see what it can do for you.
Now that you know how powerful business automation can be for your business, you should take the time to follow the steps I outlined at the beginning of this article, to find out what you can be automating and see if what tools and integrations can help you automate those tasks.
Feeling a little overwhelmed and need an extra set of hands? Our ecommerce software consultants are business automation pros and would love to chat with you about your business and help you find ways to streamline things so that you can focus more time and energy on the important things that will help you grow your business. Reach out at any time. We are always here to help.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 24, 2016, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.