+44 203 287 0899 info@solvaa.co.uk
Blog title image "There's an app for that, but do you need it?"
From lead management to turning on the office coffee machine, there’s an app for everything these days. When a task or process is time-consuming or difficult, it can be easy to jump straight to looking for something to do it for you. It’s worth taking time to pause and assess whether it’s something that you actually need an app. This blog post shares advice on what to consider when deciding whether to add another app to your tech stack.


How do you know if you have a problem that needs a solution?

If your process or task is something that’s done on a regular basis and takes up a lot of someone’s time, then it’s probably worth looking for a solution. If it’s something that only happens once a month, or less, it might not be in your best interest to buy an app that will help. This is especially true if the current process is frustrating, but doesn’t take too long. Another question to ask is if the process is business-critical. Are you not getting invoices out to clients on time, or is it taking longer than you would like to write and format emails? Think about the task/process and ask yourself:


  • How important is it to the core of the business or organisation?
  • How often does it happen? Is it frequent or only once in a while?
  • How long does it currently take and how much time could be saved with an app?

Is a new piece of software the right solution?

To get the answer to this, start with the why. Before you consider buying an app, take some time to understand why you need it. What problem are you trying to solve? What pain point would it ease? Fully understanding the problem gives you the best chance of finding the right solution. I like to use the Five Whys technique to get to the root of a question. The Five Whys are a common business technique first coined Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s. In his book Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production as “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach . . . by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.” Many businesses use the Five Whys systems to analyse a hose of problems in different ways. For our purposes, we’re going to keep things simple, if you think you need a new app, ask yourself why. Then ask why again 4 more times to find the nub of the issue. To illustrate, imagine that your problem is creating and sending invoices. It’s a labour-intensive process and sometimes mistakes are made or you don’t get paid on time. Let’s break that down using the Five Whys technique.


Problem statement: Creating, sending and following up on invoices is a labour-intensive process and sometimes we make mistakes or don’t get paid on time.

The invoices are created manually, which takes a long time to create and sometimes people make a mistake. The follow-up process is also manual, which also takes time and means that we sometimes miss late payments.


  1. The information isn’t all in one place, so I have to copy and paste the information from different places.
  2. I have to manually format them.
  3. I keep a list of the invoices and whether or not they’ve been paid in a spreadsheet. I go through all of them once a week and check against payments made to use so I can either mark them as paid or follow up with the customer.


  1. I have to type get the customer details from the CRM and the sales information from the project management system.
  2. I copy an old invoice and add in the new information, it takes time to delete all the old information and paste in the new information.
  3. There’s nowhere else to track invoice information and I don’t know how to automate the process of sending out an email when the payment deadline has passed.
  1. We store the customer information, and the payment information in different places.
  2. We don’t have a template invoice.
  3. There’s nowhere in our CRM where we can store invoice or payment details. I don’t know how to connect the spreadsheet to my emails.
  1. Our CRM doesn’t have the ability to store things like deal or project information, only the customer’s personal information.
  2. I haven’t had the time to learn how to make a template in the software we use to create the invoice
  3. There’s no integration between my email app and the spreadsheet app I use.
Getting new invoicing software is one answer to this issue, but the answers to Five Whys above show us some different options. One way to make the process more efficient would be by having a single source for all client information. If so, a new CRM might be the answer. Creating a proper template will also speed up the process of creating invoices in this case. With some apps, you can create a form for document templates. Complete the form with the relevant information and it will create an invoice using your template. For sending reminder emails, you could look for ways to automate this process. Some email apps have automations and workflows built into them. You could also consider an automation tool like Zapier or Microsoft Power Automate to connect your apps.

Do you need a new app? What can you do with what you already have?

Before deciding to invest in new software, take a look at what you’re already using and see if there’s a feature that could help you with the problem at hand. If you haven’t already, take some time to document all the software that you’re currently using. Also, include any software you’re not using but do have access to (e.g. it’s included in a package, you got the licence and forgot about it, etc). If you don’t already have your apps documented, our blog post How to review your apps and choose the best software has some great tips.
You might find that an app that you use for one task has some built-in features that will help you with another. For example, Airtable and SmartSuite are database apps that also have forms and templated documents. You may also find that some apps have automations built into them that will help you save time. Calendly allows you to add workflows to your events, like automatically sending emails to meeting participants before or after your call. Project management apps like Asana and ClickUp allow you to create automated workflows, to speed up the process of task creation and approval.




Before you download or subscribe to new software, ask yourself ‘Do I need a new app?’ To answer that question:

  • Figure out how much resource it currently costs you to do the process or task?
  • Ask the Five Whys to get to the heart of the issue.
  • Investigate your current tech stack to see if you already have a solution.

Whether or not you need a new app will depend on what you find when you dig into these points, and on your priorities. You might be time-poor but have a decent budget, or you might have flexibility on how something can be done, or it might need to be an exact process. The final decision will be up to you, but I hope that this post has given you some tips on how best to make that call

Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelmand  transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This helps to support our work and allows us to continue providing valuable information to our readers.

Related Posts

Tools for small businesses: do you need a spreadsheet or a database?

Choosing the right tools for your small business is crucial for both cost and efficiency. As with many areas in life, it's important to choose the right tool for the right job. When it comes to storing and organising data, many people default to using a spreadsheet...
An image showing spring cleaning for your technology stack.

Spring clean your tech stack: how to review your apps to save money and boost efficiency

As the flowers bloom and the birds chirp, it's time for that annual ritual: spring cleaning. While you're tidying up your physical space, don't forget about your digital domain. Yes, we're talking about your tech stack. The term 'tech stack' refers to the suite of...
Decorative feature image for Solvaa blog post " Boost Your LinkedIn Sales: Streamline your sales process with Surfe and Pipedrive"

Boost Your LinkedIn Sales: Streamline your sales process with Surfe and Pipedrive

LinkedIn sales thrive on effective communication and relationship management. LinkedIn serves as a powerful tool for sales pros to engage with leads and nurture valuable connections, however, it's challenging to get your LinkedIn leads into your CRM in an automated...
Decorative image - The featured image for the Solvaa blog post "AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy Part 5 - Wrapping up and looking forward"

AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy – Wrapping up and looking forward

In this series about AI automation, we've been exploring how Zapier is weaving AI throughout it's product to enhance user experience and power up automation.   If you missed our previous posts, you can find them here:  Part 1: An overview of AI in Zapier Part 2:...
Image of the Pipedrive mobile app for Solvaa blog post "Optimise Your Sales Journey On-the-Go with Pipedrive’s CRM Mobile App"

Optimise Your Sales Journey On-the-Go with Pipedrive’s CRM Mobile App

In the dynamic world of sales, maintaining connectivity and organisation is paramount for success. Pipedrive's CRM mobile app presents a comprehensive solution, acting as a versatile sales pipeline and lead tracker that empowers businesses of all sizes to effortlessly...
Decorative image - a header for the Solvaa blog post "Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better"

Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better

Meetings. A vital yet often frustrating feature in the landscape of business. Not many people look forward to meetings (there's a reason that "This could have been an email" is now a phrase so viral you can find it on mugs, t-shirts and more), and even fewer enjoy...
Featured image for blog post: AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy. Part 4: No code? No problem. Build an AI chatbot using Zapier.

AI-tomation Part 4: No code? No problem. Build an AI chatbot using Zapier.

Zapier's chatbots feature has graduated from its first version into beta, so if you've been thinking about creating your own AI chatbot, now's a great time to take the plunge! In this article, we'll cover how to create your chatbot and everything else that you need to...
Blog featured image for Solvaa blog post Using business automation software and excited to automate something new? Do these things first!

Using business automation software and excited to automate something new? Do these things first!

In the ever-evolving landscape of business processes, automation has become the cornerstone of efficiency and productivity. In this post, we'll delve into the art of enhancing your existing automation infrastructure by seamlessly integrating new automations into the...
Blog featured image: How to seamlessly weave automations into your process mapping

How to seamlessly weave automations into your process mapping

A process map is a visual representation of a workflow; they're useful for helping you identify issues and areas of improvement in your procedures. Process mapping also allows you to share and teach procedures across an organisation. Our previous post goes into more...
Solvaa blog post title image for post "New low-code features from Zapier bring automaton power to the people."

New low-code features from Zapier bring automation power to the people

Have you ever been frustrated when a Zapier app integration doesn't have the action you need? Or perhaps you have Zaps filled with webhook steps, and only the most technical people in your team know how to update or edit them? Zapier has built low-code features App...
Solvaa blog header image: Automate sales and marketing to make your holidays more jolly

Marketing and Sales Automations to Make Your Holidays More Jolly

Between Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and the holidays, November and December are busy times for businesses. Your busiest days may be yet to come, but if you want to get ahead, you need to start preparing as soon as possible. This post offers tips for automating and...
Header image for the Solvaa blog post AI-tomation: how Zapier is AI to make automation easy. Part 3 - AI apps to turbocharge your Zaps

AI-tomation: how Zapier is using AI to make automation easy

Welcome to the third instalment of our series on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) with Zapier. In this edition, we explore different ways Zapier supports AI, like OpenAI and ChatGPT. This blog post shows how 'generative AI' and automation can increase...
Solvaa blog header image: AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy. Part 2 - Using AI to create Zaps and Zap actions

AI-tomation: how Zapier is using AI to make automation easy

Part 2 of our series of blogs on using AI in Zapier will delve into using AI to create Zaps and Zap actions. If you missed Part 1, which gives an overview of all the places that you can find AI in Zapier, check it out here: Part 1 - An overview of AI in Zapier In this...
Solvaa blog image header AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easier. Part 1 - An overview of AI in Zapier.

AI-tomation: how Zapier is using AI to make automation easy

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionised the way we do business. With so much potential, apps are increasingly building AI into their product. Zapier, the popular automation app, is no exception. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will explore the...
The head image for the blog post showing a photo of a calendar on a yellow background. Next to the calendar is the Solvaa Automation academy & consultancy logo. Under that are the logos for the Calendly and Zapier apps.

Create a Zap for rescheduled Calendly events by adding one simple step

When you're using Zapier, it can be frustrating if the trigger or action you need doesn't exist. If you're technically minded, you may be able to build your own, but sometimes there's a simpler solution. If you're using Calendly with Zapier, you'll know that there...
A man typing on the laptop with floating email icons

Client Success Story : How Summerley Recruitment automated their email chasers and saved hours of manual work every week

We love sharing customer automation success stories with you because it shows how other businesses are using Zapier, and how a sprinkle of Kelly’s wisdom can be a total game-changer. Summerley Recruitment is a busy recruitment agency which spends the winter months...
A laptop with screen showing software app icons which are flying out of the screen.

How to review your apps and choose the best software for your business

These days, businesses use a wide range of software tools to perform their everyday tasks. Some of them may be very old, desktop or local network legacy systems which are creaking at the seams. Businesses may also use spreadsheets and word processing software to do...
Everyday man dressed as a superhero with the text Citizen Developer on his chest.

What is a citizen developer and how can they help deliver automation success?

You may have heard the expression "citizen developer" being thrown around a lot recently so we wanted to get some more insight into what one is and whether they should be an integral part of every business. At Solvaa we talk about the concept of "systems and...
Diary open on a page with hourly sections and a pen poised over the 9am slot.

Why planning your day in advance will help you be more productive

If your to-do list is overflowing and work seems chaotic, then it might be time to take a more organised approach. We strongly believe that planning your day (and week!) in advance will help you be more productive. You'll get more done, with fewer interruptions, if...
Close-up of a woman using a portable credit card reader, holding a receipt which is being printed.

How to automate your sales funnel and win more business

Your sales cycle is one of the most important functions in your business so it's vital that it is efficient so that you can convert more sales and win more business. We have already covered how to automate your marketing tasks so this article concentrates on pushing...
Automate ebook

Get our free ebook

Learn about how business process automation with Zapier can help you to run your business on autopilot. The ebook is packed with real-life examples, use cases, and success stories. Whatever kind of business you have, you can use automation to help you work smarter, not harder.

Thanks! Your ebook is on the way.

Pin It on Pinterest