The first time I came across IFTTT’s ability to automate tasks involving multiple online platforms was in a 2011 email pitch when I worked at The Next Web. I instantly thought ‘this is incredible - we need to cover this right now’. I was about to finish work for the day, so I passed it on to my colleague Brad McCarty and that’s how IFTTT got its first ever media coverage.
Since then, the benefit of user-customisable automation has become clear. Zapier took the IFTTT concept and deployed it into the business market. Meanwhile, the success of companies like UiPath has shown how important automation is to businesses that want to make the most of services they already use.
Looking to enter this market with a fresh approach is Manchester’s Versori. While Zapier offers pre-baked connections between services and tools to allow app developers to build their own integrations, Versori’s Switchboard product lets its users create any link between any two services without developer involvement.
Just upload the OpenAPI schema for the services you want to connect, and Switchboard will automatically figure out how to make them work together.
Let the data flow
Versori co-founder Sean Brown explains: “If you take the analogy of what an actual switchboard is, you have data coming in, in one format, normally it was like a VHF radio or it was a telephone line. And then you'd speak to the the exchange and say, ‘hey, I want to speak to this number’. And at the exchange, they were relatively low-skilled people and they would just map the connections from input to output.
“That is the user using Switchboard now - they have enough knowledge of what the context is of what they need to do, but they have a big tool that allows them to map and do that integration between data source A and data source B.”
Brown says that making it incredibly simple to connect up any data source makes life easier and more flexible for businesses as they no longer require developers to build custom connections between platforms and services.
Versori’s technology machine-reads the API schemas and transposes them to a simple UI where the user can simply connect functions together to achieve their desired outcome.