On Integrations Sunsetting

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  • Updated 11 months ago
I was quite surprised to receive the integration sunsetting email yesterday, particularly because of the removal of the Quickbooks integration.
I purchased the original Automatic shortly after they became available, primarily because of automated mileage tracking and automatic download into Quickbooks--the market standard of small business accounting software.

In the time I have owned my Automatic, I have come to terms that the sole value of my Automatic is for automated mileage tracking and automated mileage/cost info import into Quickbooks.  The OBD2/software MPG calculations have always been inaccurate, the fuel cost metrics have always been inaccurate, and that other Labs functionality is either irrelevant to me or is--again—inaccurate.

In your email sent yesterday, you cited "a lack of customer engagement" as one of the reasons you were sunsetting the Quickbooks integration.  It's quite obvious that you would have a lack of Quickbooks integration users, as you have not advertised the integration on any of your webpages for a very, very long time.  (Reference other posts I have made on this forum.)  In fact, as I write this post, I cannot select the Quickbooks integration under the "Integrations" section of "Related Categories".

I'm not sure how removing support for the market standard in small business accounting software helps you guys.  It seems to me that it would reduce the size of your customer base.  Outside looking in, I get the impression the integration is falling victim to the Bay Area / Silicon Valley echo chamber of “innovation”; that is, it’s cool, sexy, and hip to support the “disruptive” app-of-the-week, regardless of that app’s sustainability, and it’s not cool, sexy, or hip to support “blue chip” market-leading apps that have been around forever, and will likely be around for the foreseeable future.  Will Xero, Freshbooks, Expensify, etc. persist in the without being acquired by larger competitors (e.g. Intuit)?

If your decision is made, it’s made; this post won’t change that.  But I have the sneaking suspicion that Automatic is becoming another “web app company” that cannot be relied on. That is, you’ll change your platform on top of which other apps are used, leaving customers that relied on that over-the-top service/integration for your platform to provide them value.  Sure, breaking integrations may benefit Automatic’s financials in the short term, but what is being done regarding providing your customers enduring value?

Regarding timing of the announcement: a two week notice is rather short.  The email indicated that “no data is stored in these apps” (e.g. Quickbooks).  I question the validity of this statement.  When I record business trips using the Automatic/Quickbooks integration, financial entries are recorded in my Quickbooks account.  Does your statement mean that when the integration is removed on 8 September that all of my accounting entries for mileage logged will be deleted, as the data was never stored in Quickbooks to begin with?  If so, I have a horrendous problem on my hands, as all of my business’s books will immediately become inaccurate and I will need to divert my attention away from my business to quickly address a problem Automatic has caused.  If not—it goes without saying—it would have been preferred for your communications team to send a better-informed/properly-worded email to affected integration users.

As a small business owner, I cannot afford to spend time on frequently migrating my company's financial data to the shiny app of the week when one of the tools I use to streamline administration of my business no longer works with the apps on which I rely.  

I wish Automatic the best, but without Quickbooks integration, I’ll be throwing my Automatic adapter in the garbage.  
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  • like I will no longer be an Automatic customer.

Posted 11 months ago

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Ani, Customer Care Lead

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Hey Brett, I'm sorry that we ended up having to sunset the Quickbooks integration. You won't lose any data after September 8th, what is being removed is the interface and the link between your Automatic and Quickbooks account. Your data in your Quickbooks account is not affected and your data in your Automatic account is not affected. We'll just no longer have the connection to push data to Quickbooks after the integration is shut down.