The biggest time waster in every company is moving data between apps and updating records manually. But there’s an easy solution: automate the boring stuff with Zapier, a service that lets your apps talk to each other.
Active Collab is now integrated with Zapier, which means you can integrate Active Collab with other apps you use and automate work. You no longer have to wait for the official integration or use your developers’ time - now you can do it yourself.
How automation with Zapier works
When something happens in one app, something can happen in Active Collab (and vice versa).
Let’s say you have to arrange a meeting. First, you need to add an event in Google Calendar. Then, you need to create a task in Active Collab so you can track time for the meeting (and later bill your client).
Instead of creating the event in Google Calendar and then manually creating the task in Active Collab, you can connect Active Collab with Google Calendar using Zapier. You do this by definining rules in Zapier (aka. zaps), like:
WHEN there’s a new event in Google Calendar, THEN create a task in Active Collab
How to connect apps in Zapier
- Create a Zapier account,
- In your Zapier account, connect accounts of apps you use,
- Create a zap,
- Define trigger condition (when something happens in one app…)
- Define action (…do something in the other app)
- Chain multiple zaps together, if you want
Triggers (when any of these things happen, an action can happen in another app) that Active Collab supports:
- New project / task / task list is created
- New comment / time record added
- Task is completed / moved to another task list
Actions (what can happen in Active Collab when something happens in some other app) that Active Collab supports:
- Create a project / task / company / time record / discussion
- Add a new comment in selected task / a new comment to discussion
- Complete a task / project
- Invites a new user to a project
Tip: you can connect Active Collab with Active Collab; for example, when a new project is created, invite a user to the project. This can save you a lot of time.
What you can automate (examples)
Bug catching: when a customer finds a bug and fills out a form using Google Forms, create a task in Active Collab for developers to work on.
Reporting: gather data from all sorts of apps and record them into a Google spreadsheet. Then you can use one master data source instead of searching for information in multiple apps.
Sales leads: when a potential client fills out a lead generation form, create a new task in “New Leads” task list; then, automatically email them asking for more information; when they fill it out, move the task to the “Ready to Contact” task list (which your sales agent go through).
Presentation scheduling: when a customer requests a presentation in YouCanBookMe, create a task, email the assignee, and add an event in a calendar.
Saving chat transcripts: when a LiveChat is finished, save the transcript in a task for archive purposes.
Managing job applications: when a job applicant fills out a form, create a task in HR project with their name as task name, cover letter as task’s description, and a link to their CV; then, when you move the task to “Interview” task list, send an email asking them if they’re available; if you move them to the “Rejection” task list, automatically send a rejection letter.
Tracking work progress: when someone completes a task, post a message in Slack. With Zapier, you can control with more precision what kind of notifications you want to receive in Slack.
File management: when a new task is created with attachments, save them in a special folder in Dropbox.
Github issue management: when someone raises an issue in Github, create a task in Active Collab; when it’s completed, close the issue.
Project management: when there’s a new folder in a Dropbox folder from some client or a new note in Evernote, create a new project or a task.
Time logging: create a time record in Active Collab or add a time log in Harvest whenever you send an email to a client.
Client management: when there’s a new company in Pipedrive or some other CRM, create a new company in Active Collab and issue them an invoice.
Customer support: create a task when there’s a new ticket in help desk software such as Zendesk or Helpscout.
What you should know about Zapier
Automation comes with a price, so you have to calculate whether the time Zapier saves you is worth paying for their service. Zapier has a free plan and multiple levels of paid plans.
The free plan lets you create 5 different zaps that can happen 100 times per month (all together). You also can’t chain more zaps together and can’t use Premium apps.
Cheapest paid plan is $20/month and it lets you have 20 zaps with 3,000 occurrences; you can also chain zaps together and you have access to every app Zapier supports.
The most expensive paid plan is $125/month, and it’s more suited for big companies that need multi-user access. It lets you share zaps with your team, have separate personal and team zaps, and control who can edit zaps. You can have 125 zaps which can occur 50,000 times per month, plus zaps happen closer to real-time (meaning, you’ll have to wait 5 minutes for a zap to happen as opposed to other plans’ default 15 minutes).
You might not need Zapier
Active Collab has some built-in integrations that let you automate the essential stuff. These add-ons are free and don’t have any limit on how much times you can use them.
Slack integration: automatically push a message in Slack whenever something happens on projects in Active Collab.
Calendar integration: see Active Collab tasks and projects in your favorite calendar app (like Mac or Google Calendar).
Email integration: create projects and tasks by sending an email. (Your clients can also create discussions by sending an email to project’s address; this way, they don’t need to open Active Collab.)
Invoice reminders: let Active Collab send overdue reminders for unpaid invoices.
There is another automation option that doesn’t require Zapier: build it yourself (in which case, you need programming experience). Plenty of Active Collab users created their own automation using Active Collab API and webhooks.
This takes a bit more time and expertise, but it’s more reliable than using other services (even if they’re as professional as Zapier). If you need any help with our API, we constantly monitor StackOverflow so feel free to ask us there by using #ActiveCollab hashtag.