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Power-Ups   |   Enterprise

No More Copy-Paste: Using Trello To Automate Repetitive Workflows

By | Published on | 7 min read
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >No More Copy-Paste: Using Trello To Automate Repetitive Workflows</span>

Are your keyboard’s “c” and “v” keys looking worn down? 

Copying and pasting information is as common to modern work as having too many tabs open or having a cluttered email inbox. It’s another example of a manual process that we’ve just accepted as part of the job.

You take information from over here and paste it over there. Progress updates. Feedback. Tasks. Notes. Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V. Rinse. Repeat. 

And while hitting a few keys on your keyboard might not seem like a big time suck, it adds up fast. There are tons of little everyday actions we take for granted that suck up valuable time. More than 40% of workers spend at least a quarter of their work week on repetitive tasks. And the number is even higher for managers. Thankfully, there’s a silver lining, and it comes in the form of automation. 

Almost 70 percent of workers think the biggest value automation can bring is in reducing time wasted on repetitive work. And two-thirds of businesses are already piloting automations to help increase efficiency and productivity. The most common use case for automation? Business process platforms.

Trello Enterprise is no exception. 

With Trello, you can automate information flow across cards, lists, and boards, and save people across your organization a ton of time each day. No more wasted minutes copying and pasting information from one channel, or tool, to another.

Here’s how to do it. 

Use Butler To Automate Repeated Processes

Butler is Trello’s built-in automation engine. Like the name suggests, it works for you, taking care of a lot of the repetitive work in your boards. You create rules or commands for your board, and when a trigger happens Butler jumps into action. 

The potential automations enabled by Butler are almost endless. But let’s look at a day in the life of a marketing leader, and how Trello’s automation might be used to save them time and effort.

It’s Monday morning, and the marketing leader starts her day by checking her email. Butler has sent her an email report on board activity from the previous week, highlighting what’s progressing and what isn’t. She makes a note to check in on a few overdue cards.

First on her schedule is a one-on-one with the marketing designer. To prep, she jumps into the agenda card that Butler automatically created. Butler also notified the designer to add topics for discussion, so the marketing leader has a better idea of what they’ll chat about.  

After the one-on-one, the marketing leader has an hour to spend working on a few personal tasks. She closes a card that had a long checklist of items that were no longer relevant. When the card moves to “Done,” Butler automatically checks off every item in the checklist. Another task involved writing a project brief. She drags the card to the “copy editing” list and it’s automatically assigned to their lead writer, with a due date set for the next day.

A few meetings later, the marketing leader returns to her Trello board and notices she has a few new cards assigned to her. These cards were all given the “feedback” label by members of the team, so Butler automatically moved them to her to-do list. She’ll tackle those in the afternoon.  

It’s not even lunch time and Butler has automated five different actions within the marketing leader’s Trello board. Even if each task would have taken her a minute to complete — and that’s being conservative—that’s 25 minutes per week in added productivity. The reality is every bit of time saved likely impacts the efficiency of the entire team. Time savings tend to compound.

How To Use Butler

Butler is available to all Trello users, but only Enterprise users have access to unlimited commands. To access Butler, simply click the Automation item in your board menu. 

From there, you can create five different types of commands:

  • Card buttons
  • Board buttons
  • Rules
  • Scheduled commands
  • Due date commands

You then get to pick the trigger and the resulting action. Triggers can include cards being created or moved, the automatic addition of due dates, labels, or attachments, and so much more. And there’s a wide array of potential actions they can cause—everything from sorting lists to assigning work to sending emails. 

Use Unito To Automate Two-Way Information Syncing Across Teams And Tools

Why do we spend so much time copying and pasting information? Often, it’s because we need to keep people updated in several different projects and tools. 

And this problem isn’t going away. The adoption of business SaaS tools is growing steadily, and everyone has their own favorite way of working. This can quickly create information silos, and we end up manually updating information across all tools just to try and keep people looped in. 

Butlers help you automate information sharing in one direction (if x happens, do y). When you need information to travel back and forth across Trello boards or between Trello and different tools, you can turn to Unito. It’s a door between teams, rather than a window.

Board Sync

Within Trello, Unito can be used to sync information bidirectionally across cards or sync entire boards together. 

Imagine you’re a marketing team leader and want to stay updated on the work of your team, track progress on a key initiative, and have the opportunity to delegate cards all from a single board. Unito allows you to build a master Trello board that pulls in information from as many other Trello boards as you like automatically. It can also automatically organize this information into specific lists.

Even better, these cards are automatically updated on all boards. If the marketing leader makes any change — like adding a comment or changing a due date—it’s reflected in the card within the team or project board, and vice versa. 

With Unito, you can also create rules. With rules, only specific information gets synced to your master board. It’s a powerful way to automate the flow of information through your entire Enterprise. It will save you time, increase the visibility of work, and make your collaboration better. 

Cross-tool Syncing

While Board Sync allows you to save time within Trello, Unito’s cross-tool syncing can help you optimize your entire workflow. Let’s say your marketing team is working with a freelance website developer on a client project. 

Your team uses Trello.

The consultant works in Jira.

And the client uses Salesforce.

How do you keep everyone updated and collaborative throughout this project?

The old way would have involved manually copying and pasting information across three tools, which often means getting training on new tools. Or you might  rely on regular meetings to share information. Both options are a huge time suck.

With Unito, you can build two-way connections between your Trello board, your freelancer’s Jira project, and your client’s Salesforce account. 

You can use the Trello board to delegate work to Jira, follow progress, and offer feedback. The freelance developer will be able to communicate with you from within Jira and sync finished work back to Trello with just a few clicks.

On the client side, you can sync progress updates from your Trello board to Salesforce and use rules to ensure only client-ready information is shared. And then can follow up with questions or comments. Your freelancer and client don’t have to interact unless you want them to.

Unito acts as your sidekick, routing important information to both parties and saving you from jumping into multiple tools or endless meetings. You save a ton of time while making sure collaborators and clients always have the information they need in their tools, in real-time.

How To Use Unito

In order to enable any of Unito’s Power-Ups, all you need to do is click on “Show menu” at the top right of your Trello board and select “Power-Ups.” Once in the directory, type Unito in the search bar. You’ll be shown 7 options:

Pick the Power-Up that suits your needs and click “Add.” If you’ve never used Unito before, this will create a new account for you. If you have, it will log you into Unito.

Once that’s complete, you'll be prompted to set up your first flow. Unito automatically selects the board that you've added the Power-Up to; you just need to select the second board or tool and choose your sync direction. Unito can be used for both one- or two-way information syncing. 

You’ll then have three steps for customizing your flow

  • Set rules, so only specific information travels between the two boards or tools. 
  • Map fields, including custom fields, so the right information always lands in the right place.
  • Other flow options, including the ability to make your flow automated or manual.

Then set your flow in motion and watch Unito automate the nitty-gritty of your work throughout both teams and tools.

Repetitive Work Is Much Easier When You’re Not Doing It

Trello automation isn’t about robots doing your job; it’s about eliminating the repetitive, manual tasks that prevent you from doing the best work of your life. When 72% of workers say the hours saved through automation would be spent on work that is more valuable to the entire organization, it’s time to take action.

With Butler and Unito, you can save everyone on your team—from interns to senior leadership—several hours per week both within and beyond Trello. What kind of impact will that have in your company?

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!

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