Tue, 17th Apr 2018
So What is Airtable?
Airtable describes their product "Part spreadsheet, part database, and entirely flexible, teams use Airtable to organize their work, their way". So what does this mean?
Well, basically you start an Airtable app by firstly creating what's called a 'Base', and then within your Base you start adding tables that present like spreadsheets. You can completely customise the field types within your tables, and easily connect these fields to data in other tables that you've created. Then, you can setup filters on your table and save these as 'Views', which is where the power lies. Views allow you to permanently save any number of filtered datasets for ready access.
Views can also be set to display as a standard grid (spreadsheet), kanban chart, gallery (yep, you can upload pics and video), and as a calendar!
Furthermore, you can create web forms that can be added to your website to allow visitors to drop data directly into your nominated table!
What are some practical uses?
We use Airtable for project management. We've got a Projects Table that contains the name of our current projects, a Team table with staff details, a Status table containing a list of action flags, which are all pulled into the Tasks table.
All tasks are dropped into the tasks table, assigned to a Project, Team member and then allocated a due date. Each Team member then has a View to display today's tasks and overdue tasks, a View to display all scheduled tasks in the pipe, and a View for completed items that are to be billed (this view is connected directly to our Xero accounting package via Zapier for automatic invoice generation).
I personally also have a Calendar View, where tasks that are flagged as 'Events' (such as meetings) are displayed, this view is connected to my Google Calendar via Zapier to ensure events are synced across all my devices.
We also use Aitrable for our CRM, this is essentially a table of contacts that has Views based on 'Active Clients', 'Last Comms' and 'Comms Due'. We've built our own Mail App that is connected to this data via the Airtable API, which allows us to efficiently communicate with our Clients directly from data presented by the above Views.
The CRM has also been linked to an Airtables Map feature, that plots our Contacts locations on a map, and even allows us to launch the Contacts profile for editing directly from the map!
There are countless other possible use scenarios.. basically if you are currently using a set of clunky spreadsheets and formulas to try and tie all your data together, Airtable is your new best friend!
Plus, the Airtable mobile apps for IOS and Android are excellent, and the ability to share your data and collaborate with others makes Airtable a complete package!
Oh.. and yes, you can even use Airtable for Website Content Management (CMS), because we've already connected it to our Genesis Web Development Platform!
What does Airtable cost?
Airtable is free for up to 1200 records per base, so we recommend the 'Pro' Plan which is $20 per month per user, which allows for up to 50,000 records per base (you can have as many bases as you like), plus the Pro plan included Airtable 'Blocks' which gives you access to the mapping option described above, and a range of other tools such as SMS delivery.
Note that not all 'users' in your organisation need to be setup as paid 'Pro' users, you can still share data for viewing with anyone!
If you don't feel confident going it alone when setting up Airtable, we provide a Consulting Service to help you design and setup your base along with on-site training.
Contact us for more information.