Being on a journey of discovery is the name of the game. Building a killer platform, experience, or whatever one might wish to call them is not the aim. The aim, as some may see it, is a little more mundane, but nevertheless important. The aim is integration, integration of multiple platforms (some people can and do build them) via the APIs (most) modern systems provide.
Below are the results of these journeys, primarily for House of Cloth, however future works may sprout from these.
Project 1: Fieldbook + Shopify
Shopify, for better and worse, was selected as a website/ecommerce/pos all-in-one system about 18 months ago. While it works (mostly), there are things that aren't overly user-friendly, or are simply lacking, like assigning product SKUs based on category. Originally an SQLite database was used for this purpose, but was severely lacking in terms of what was possible (primarily due to setup). Fieldbook provides a simple path to creating a database by uploading a CSV (the hardest thing is getting the CSV up to standard). After migrating, learning how things work and expanding the database, that was the end of things. Then webhooks, APIs were discovered and explored. What now exists is a system whereby when an order is fulfilled in Shopify, or a product is updated, the quantity in Fieldbook for that product is adjusted. There are if's and else's to deal with quick-sales where an item does not exist in either system (some things just aren't worth putting in there) but the system works and come stocktake, most of the counting will have been done.
Project 2: Fieldbook + Elastic Email + Twilio
When a machine service is completed by House of Cloth, the customer is notified via phone call. Service jobs are now maintained in Fieldbook by the technician to easily track parts usage and historical records as time goes on. With a simple checkbox field and a webhook triggered on sheet update, a customer is now notified via email or via SMS, using the APIs of Elastic Email and Twilio. While Elastic Email does SMS too, text messages are sent from US numbers (the business operates in Bendigo, Australia) so Twilio was selected as they offer local mobile numbers which are only used by one entity (for a relatively small fee compared to some local service providers). While the potential for time-saving is there, only time will tell if the cost of this time-saving measure is justified.
Project 3: Twilio + Fieldbook
Built partially as a demo-system for a local business, and partially because the idea was there for the doing (a nice challenge). Fieldbook hosts a small database with customer information, (mobile number, name, address, preferred contact method [pcm]) and allows them to subscribe to various notification lists. A message is sent to a Twilio hosted number, which is forwarded to a specified webhook. This takes the body of the message and processes the commands within. The system works similar to twitter via sms accepting only a defined set of commands, in a strict format, to allow customers to add themselves to the system, update their details, subscribe to/unsubscribe from lists, and leave the system.
As an afterthought, a bridge between email and sms was built (using Elastic Email) accepting a phone number followed by system commands as the subject. Because why not.
On the drawing board is the reverse of Fieldbook + Shopify where when a product is added to inventory in Fieldbook or updated, it is automatically created/updated in Shopify. Then there is the sending out of emails/text messages to the people subscribed to a list (project 3) using Elastic Email/Twilio after pulling the lists from Fieldbook. And no doubt many more exciting times ahead.
This post also published on Bold https://coel.bold.io/recent-projects-2017-06-13