A couple of weeks ago, I was looking into tools to help automate workflows, preferably online tools. My initial premise was that I wanted to be able to track steps, tasks, and procedures in our real estate investing.
Some of the tasks can be accomplished by the popular IFTTT service. But what I have figured out is that the majority of what you are able to do with IFTTT is geared towards personal convenience and not business processes.
Initially, I was looking at Microsoft Flow, an online workflow automation tool, but while investigating some the connectors for it, I found some built-in integration capabilities already exist in services like Trello and Slack. So, deeper down the rabbit hole I went.
I was able to set up a Slack workspace and that in itself is a pretty cool tool for facilitating and capturing communications, documents, and other business-related information,in addition to being able to tie in to my G-suite Docs.
I mentioned Trello above. I had looked at them in the past, but had not really found it useful for what I was wanting to do, at initial glance. I also remembered that the manufacturing business we invested in uses it to track orders and everything related to the orders. I contacted the investment partner who had set it up and asked him to explain how they were using it.
It is set up like a Kanban board and as each task or set of tasks is accomplished, it is moved to the next stage in the order process. What I don’t like is that it is not automated. Each “card” (where the order information and communications are captured) is moved manually from one column to the next when someone accomplishes a milestone in the process.
A similar service called Pipefy appears to provide the same Kanban-style setup, but it looks like you can set triggers for the cards to automatically advance from one column to the other. Since I just found it as I am writing this post, I don’t have time to investigate yet, but it looks pretty powerful. I think it has the potential to claim a spot in my workflow automation toolbox.
Anyway, I can visualize building out steps the process across the columns and have each card contain the tasks needing to be completed before it moves to the next column.
The more I thought about this, I realized that by combining Slack with something like Trello for the manufacturing business, we could achieve a few long-term goals. Trello actions could be reported into a Slack channel, giving us, (investment partners), a simulacrum of a real time dashboard of what is going on with orders in the manufacturing business. A similar setup could be made for product quotes. Slack channels could be used for communication between employees, management, and investors, respectively. Other channels could be used for Knowledge Management (KM)…a living archive of answers, best practices,documents, etc. I think I will call that channel #stunt_brain!
There are other options for automation and integrating various online applications like Podio, Zapier, and Zoho CRM. I haven’t played with them much, so I can’t really say a whole lot about them other than they exist.
Hopefully this has given you some insight into what I thought to be cool tools to bring efficiency to your workflow.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.
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Our light show running in the VERY VERY RARE snow day in South Louisiana!
About three years ago we got into animated Holiday lighting…it involves synchronizing you lights to music to put on a show. You can start with a basic AC controller (alternating current, for regular Christmas lights) and expand on up to where you can do the equivalent of a Jumbotron screen, displaying video and animation!
Now that New Year’s Day has passed, it is time to take down our Christmas show. The show ran from Thanksgiving night through 01-Jan-2018. Some of the elements of it were up since September, when we put up our Halloween show. I’ll touch on why that was in a later post.
The show starts out with designing a layout, then simulating that layout in the visualizer software. That involves a picture of the house and each string or group of lights on an individual channel to be drawn out in the visualizer and assigned to a channel on a controller.
What the LOR Visualizer layout looks like.
Once the show layout has been put together, it is on to selecting songs and sequencing the lights to the songs. This probably takes up most of the time involved in setting up the show. It may take me up to 10 hours to do a single song from scratch. We have some favorites and perennials, so it is easier to take some sequences from previous years and just add on the extra sequencing to cover new elements or additional channels added to the setup.
My basic setup uses Light-O-Rama (LOR) controllers. We started with one 16 channel AC controller the first year, then added a second 16 channel AC controller and a 24 channel “Dumb RGB” controller, (by “Dumb RGB, meaning that every light connected to a channel will be the same color, as opposed to a “Smart RGB” controller, which can address each individual pixel on a string of lights and turn it to a different color.), and last year during the off-season, we added a third 16 channel AC controller giving us a total of 72 channels. 48 of which are regular AC lights and the other 24 account for 7 RGB flood lights and the most recent addition to our show, a “dumb RGB” strip star, as seen in the picture below.
Highlighting the RGB Star.
Overall we had a good run with very little problems this year. We were only shut down by rain twice.
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If you do not know me already, my name is Clint Galliano. I live in Louisiana and have worked in the oil and gas industry for most of my career. But I also do other “stuff”. In addition to working in O & G, my wife and I invest in real estate and invested a door manufacturing business, which I sit on the board of.
I started this new blog because I wanted to start posting content mainly not related to my OFTAS Blog (Oilfield, Tech, And Stuff), and leaning more towards finance, business, and investing.
In addition, one of my partners challenged me to write more in 2018. I take it as a growth opportunity.
While 2017 was interesting for me and my family, I am ready to plow into 2018 and grow as a person and as an investor. I am going to set a goal of writing a post a week on this blog, minimum, for the whole year. I may post more, depending on current events.
Below is the list of topics I plan to cover:
Real Estate Investing
Holiday Lighting Displays
I hope You enjoy my posted and can benefit from them.
Leave me comment to let me know what you think about the topics!
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