This article was written by Andrew Davidson and originally published on Capiche , a secret society for SaaS power users, building a new community of people who care about software to make the SaaS industry more transparent, together.
It used to be that automation was limited to factory floors and robot product lines. Now, automating business tasks is sweeping across every market — and fast!
In 2020, just about everyone has used — or at least heard of — apps like Zapier, IFTTT, and Integromat, or at least used built-in automation tools and workflow builders inside apps like Slack. For many businesses, automation is a non-optional investment. If they want to compete in their industry, then automation is a must.
But how did we get there? How exactly has business process automation evolved? When did it take over the workplace? And what’s next, now that seemingly every app has automation built-in?
In the beginning, the only way to automate workflows across multiple apps was to write your own code to integrate manually. That was only possible for software that included an API, far from a guarantee in the early days of web apps. Even when two apps could be integrated, the options available were so limited that it often wasn’t worth the effort.