How to sync data with Databox if a native integration isn’t available

If a Data Source doesn't natively integrate with Databox, there are other ways you can sync your data. 

These alternatives include using Google Sheets, exporting or automating CSV reports, using middleware tools like Zapier, Integromat, and Parabola, or pushing the data directly to Databox via an API or terminal.


How to decide which method to choose

Choosing how to bring in your custom data largely depends on the Data Source where your data is stored, your technical expertise, and the time/ resources you want to invest in syncing your data. 

In order to determine the best solution, ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Am I okay entering the data manually, or do I want to create a fully automated workflow? 
    1. If you're okay entering data manually, Google Sheets or the Databox Terminal may be the solution for you. Our Terminal is recommended for a small number of Metrics, while Google Sheets is better for a larger or more regular data syncs.
    2. If you want to create a fully automated workflow, tools like Zapier, Integromat or Parabola might be a better fit.
  2. Am I comfortable around technical platforms and have enough time to set them up?
    1. If yes, tools like Zapier, Integromat or Parabola are great for syncing your data automatically. The initial  time investment for learning and setting them up can save you a lot of time in the long run.
    2. If APIs or setting up automated workflows seems too complicated or time consuming, you might want to opt for entering the data manually into a Google Sheet or to find a developer that can help you automate your process.
  3. Do I have developer resources available?
    1. If you have a developer that can help you, pushing custom data via the API will give you the most flexibility. You developer can also save a lot of time by leveraging a ready-built  platform like Integromat instead of having to create their own script from scratch.
    2. If you don't have a developer, you could either try using middleware solutions like Zapier, Integromat and Parabola. Or, if manual data entry is an option, use Google Sheets instead.

When to use Google Sheets

Entering data manually to a Google Sheet is the easiest, but most time-consuming way to sync custom data into Databox. This method makes sense if you need to prepare reports occasionally (i.e., once a week or month) and the amount of data you need to enter manually is relatively low. Learn more about using Google Sheets with Databox here

If the data requires input of an entire team, using Google Forms in conjunction with Google Sheets can save you a lot of time. For example, if your sales team members need to report on their daily activities, sending them a link to Google Form can help you collect that data faster. Or, if your data is already stored in another app, there are tools available that can automatically upload the data to your Google Sheet (such as Shopify Data Export, Data Connector for Zendesk, and Amazon Seller Central Import).

Some of these tools also let you export your reports in Excel or CSV (comma separated values) formats. These files can then be imported to a Google Sheet and visualized in Databox ( here's how). Some tools (such as Facebook Ads Reporting) even let you automate the export by delivering the CSV files via email or uploading them online.
Pro Tip: The quickest way to check whether CSV reports are available for the tool you want to integrate is to search in Google.

For example, you could search for "Zoho CRM CSV export". If the export option is available, you will get links to the help docs and learn how to download the CSV report. You could also reach out to their support team directly and ask if auto -exports are available.

If you feel that entering or uploading data manually to Google Sheets is too time-consuming, you can use Zapier to automate the process. This is often done for surveys (Survey Monkey, Typeform , Wofoo), lead forms (Facebook Leads), or purchases (Amazon Seller Central).

When to use Zapier

Along with automating Google Sheets updates, Zapier can push data to Databox directly ( learn more here). For example, instead of manually downloading a CSV report and then uploading it to Google Sheets, you can use Zapier to extract CSV data from an email attachment or from online storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, (S ) FTP). Once you have the data, you can tell Zapier which rows or columns you want to sync with Databox.

The only limitation with Zapier is that it's an event/trigger based app. In other words, it can only push data to Databox when something happens now (i.e., a form is submitted). This limits the historical data that can be synced using Zapier (i.e., all of the form submissions for the past year cannot be synced via Zapier).

When to use Integromat

Unlike Zapier, Integromat lets you sync historical data and current data to Databox at scheduled intervals. This platform offers additional flexibility with their native integrations, such as making API calls or formatting data in a particular way.

Integromat does have a steeper learning curve than Zapier . However, the upfront time investment is often worth the effort. With the help of Integromat, Databox users have been successful in integrating Databox with Zoho CRM, Freshbooks, Zendesk, and numerous custom API sources. Some Databox users also turned to the Integromat Partner Program to get integrations built for them.

Learn more about using Integromat with Databox here.

When to use Parabola

Another great option to sync custom data with Databox is Parabola. Compared to Integromat and Zapier, Parabola currently doesn't offer as many native integrations and is mainly geared towards fetching custom data via the API.

If you're technical enough to work with APIs, Parabola is one of the most affordable solutions for processing large quantities of data. Plus they have a very responsive support team that can help you aas you build the API integration.

When to push custom data via the API

If you have developer resources available or feel comfortable using scripting languages, you can also build your own custom integration and the push the data via the API ( learn more here).

Be aware that the data you want to push needs to be pre-processed so Databox can read it. That means you'll need to format the push so that it contains the Metric name (signified by the $ sign) and an optional Date and Dimension.

Here's an example:

A simple way to test pushing custom data is to test out Terminal. You can learn more about Terminal here.

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