Stuck Like Glue: Making Your Product Fit into Any Workflow

Hey there product-savvy folk! Are you tired of your customers constantly nagging you about integrations? Well, fear not! We've got the lowdown on all things input and output integrations, and how to make your product the belle of the ball in the workflow fit department.

First things first, let's talk about input integrations. These are all about allowing your customers to use the systems they already have in place, rather than forcing them to adopt a new one just because yours is better (cough, cough). To do this, you'll need to do some research on the shape of your customers' data and figure out what formats they're using. For example, maybe your audience is a bunch of plumbers who need help managing their inventory of pipefitting supplies. Do they use an API? An Excel sheet? A Google spreadsheet? Or do they just "go and check" every now and then? Whichever it is, you'll need to make sure your product can work with it.

But wait, it doesn't stop there! The more input formats you support, the more potential customers you'll have. Just make sure to keep an eye on the cost of building and maintaining these integrations – sometimes it's just not worth it for that tiny fraction of customers. Some options to consider include: integrating with industry-standard formats, CSV (the universal data language), Excel and Google sheets (for those self-organized systems you're hoping to replace), and JSON and XML (for compatibility with other services and APIs in your space).

Now let's move on to output integrations. These are all about allowing your customers to continue with their workflow after using your product, and making it easy for them to utilize their data. By doing this, you'll increase customer retention and turn your product from a nice-to-have into a must-have. When figuring out the shape of your result data, consider both the immediate steps that follow and the final outcome of your customers' task. If you can provide data that helps with both, you're basically a superhero. Bonus points if you can enrich your customers' data with something they can use later on.

Some options to consider for output integrations include: producing industry-standard formats, CSV (because it's always a good idea), Excel and Google sheets (for those who aren't ready to say goodbye to their beloved spreadsheets), and JSON and XML (for compatibility with other services and APIs).

And there you have it – the lowdown on input and output integrations. Now go forth and make your product the most integrated, workflow-friendly tool on the market!