[21 Days of Automation] Day 7: How to know when you’re at peak automation

21daysofautomation blogbot v 0.2 Sep 21, 2022
[21 Days of Automation]  Day 7: How to know when you’re at peak automation

Originally posted by Blogbot on Medium on 1st Feb 2020 

Last year I decided to re-design how my company thought about task management and customer operations across our cross-functional team of Managers, Customer Success Managers, Relationship Managers, Implementation Managers and Solutions Architects.

I used Airtable and Zapier as a starting point, and the main challenge was that I was contending with several legacy platforms — Including Salesforce (which is a wonderful tool, but it is, and will never be an operations tool) and Financial Force (which, in my opinion, should be killed with fire).

So I had a starting point, and I had a small group of users to help me kick the tyres and ensure that my shell of an idea might have legs.

Fast forward one year later, we have gone from 4 users to nearly 40, and have added several features along the way. We moved from a weekly manual import of a Salesforce accounts and a lot of V-Lookups to a halfway solution that involved a tool called G-Connector, and so many inefficient zaps I received 10 emails a day telling me my zaps were being held in a queue. Eventually, I had to reach out to the kind folks at Zapier to up my limits. It wasn’t really sustainable, but a recent beta release of Zapier’s Salesforce V2 connection solved 99% of my issues.

So what now? The system is a fully functioning Task tracking, timesheets automation tool which helps the team prioritise and manage ad-hoc tasks, automate standardised tasks for their client base, log time automatically and manage the beta process with the Product team (we’re still getting this last bit right). It’s hard to know when one can sit back and say “well-done everyone — We did it”, because Airtable especially, is in my opinion, a product builder (and an amazing one at that), and products are never finished.

And if products are never finished, could always be improved and iterated upon, then how can we ever see the finish line? The truth is, that there is no finish line, so you need to set small milestones along the way, and accept that with each ribbon you cross, and podium finish there will be another ribbon and podium to aim for in 3 months, and that it will be no bigger or smaller than the one you just crossed. It will be exactly the same size, but the number of people that it will impact will keep growing if you’re doing your job correctly.