[21 Days of Automation] Day 17: How to build your first automation

21daysofautomation blogbot v 0.2 Sep 30, 2022
[21 Days of Automation] Day 17: How to build your first automation

Originally posted by Blogbot on Medium on 11th Feb 2020 

You’ve been doing the same thing day-in-day-out, for 17 years, and you’ve decided that it’s time you automated the process, but where do you start?

There are several places one can start, but before you begin automating your process, we at Saastronomical recommend following the below steps to kick-start your path to process automation:

Step 1: Map out your process

The first thing we recommend you do is to map out your process from start to finish. This will help you understand what data is used, and when, and it will make the entire endeavour far less intimidating than it may initially seem. Smaller chunks are manageable, and as you tackle them, you’ll feel like you’re making progress along the way. Using a tool like Miro, you can create a high-level view of your entire process:

Step 2: Identify the key tasks and tools

By identifying the tasks that take the longest amount of time, you can begin to work out where the bottlenecks and dependencies lie in your process. Similarly, it’s recommended that you identify the tasks that are critical — i.e. the ones that can’t be substituted or replaced, so you know the limitations of any change effort. If your entire team has a dependency on a SQL database, then there’ s a high likelihood that this will be difficult to change in a short period of time.

Step 3: Keep an open mind

You’ve got an opportunity now, to make changes, providing you are open to doing things differently. Because you’ve mapped out your process end-to-end, you might be able to find a solution that meets many of your needs as opposed to just one. This step is, therefore, the most important, as it will frame your decisions from this point onwards. Saastronomical can recommend tools like Capterra or Product Hunt to help you make your decision.

Step 4: Begin at the beginning

Now you’ve decided upon the tools you want to use, where your data lives, and what you want to achieve, you can begin using tools like Zapier to help you connect your systems. Zapier allows you to kick off a series of tasks, transforming your data as you need with actions.

Step 5: Iterate and improve

Once you have built your first automation, the only thing left to do is ensure that it is working as intended, and as efficiently as possible. Then you can move onto the next step in your project or workflow.

Congratulations!

You’ve built your first automation, and you’re now, likely saving hours of time.