Entrepreneurs

Taylor Backman on Using All-in-One Solutions to Lower Cost

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Recently, Small Biz in :15 On Location, traveled to Austin, Texas for Zoho Day 2022. Here, Zoho Senior Evangelist Taylor Backman sits down with Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor of Small Biz Trends to discuss the benefits all-in-one small business software can bring to your company.



3 Advantages of All-in-One Business Software

1. Gives You One Solution vs. Several Different Solutions.

Shawn: If you’re a really small business and you’re just starting with technology, can you talk about some of the ways that using one solution as opposed to a plethora of different solutions can be an advantage?

Taylor: I think if you’re looking at an all-in-one, you’re thinking about what are the different things that the business is doing, what are we working on as an organization? And then we are looking for a solution that is going to line up best with those requirements and then also be something that we can hopefully grow into over time or expand our usage in over time.

So, I think that with that mentality you’re obviously going to find a product that’s going to work for you and it’s going to be a price that you’re comfortable with and everything is going to be good.

But then over time, you’re going to be saving a lot of money and time on not changing things too much down the road because all those changes get really expensive…because now all the data that lived in one place is going to be going to another product.

Or you now must go buy another product which is already adding to the expenses, and now you must integrate that product which gets even more expensive. And now costs just keep spiraling out of control.

So, looking at what are the requirements that we have, what are a reasonable set of requirements that will likely have maybe in the future that we can start thinking about finding a solution that matches up, that has a good price, that works for you today, that has a lot of dividends that goes on paying forward.

2. Critical Business Data is Integrated into One Central Place.

Shawn: You mentioned integration, and I would imagine that’s one of the real advantages because you’re dealing with data in some cases, CRM systems and other things like that. Can you give some examples of systems that you might have in an all-in-one solution that you would want to integrate?

Taylor: Absolutely. I mean, if we have, for example, where are we keeping all of our customer information? So, we have one central place to keep all of our customer information. And once we have that one central place for wanting to think about what are all the interactions that we’re having with that customer?

And so whatever channel or whatever way or form of communication that we’re having with that customer, we want to make sure that’s integrated so that data flows into that customer record and we get a complete view of it. And that’ll be helpful, obviously, any time you’re going to reach out and talk to them.

And then, of course, depending on the kind of business you’re in if you’re selling like, say, physical products online, we want those records to be integrated into the system as well, so we know which products they’re purchasing.

If we are a services-based company and we sign a contract and now we must start billing for hours, we want whatever our project management tool is to connect as well. So that way we can make sure we’re tracking that well and billing for it and getting a good record there. And then, of course, customer support, if we’re really supporting customers, we want that.

3. Automation Saves Time and Money

Shawn: I would imagine that if your data is not all in one place, your customer data, for example, and you have multiple different sources, then there’s even an amount of time involved in transferring that back and forth…or ways small businesses can kind of calculate that out and figure it out to kind of see that savings, because I think there’s a savings beyond just the price tag on the software.

Taylor: I mean, it’s hard to know specifically. But again, think about the sheer number of people who do administrative work where they’re inputting data. Hopefully, your organization doesn’t have too much of that.

But if you have that, think about a way that you could now automate that in some way or think about some way to export all these spreadsheets so that they can then consolidate spreadsheets or create one spreadsheet, so it can then turn into mini spreadsheets and then get consolidated again.

Think about whatever those processes are, and now think about how much time that costs. If you have employees doing that, attach the hourly cost of their time to those tasks, right? And if you can now start automating away or by just simply being better organized on the data side, if you can start cutting that out of their job responsibilities, then you can attach a literal dollar figure to what you’re saving by using these new tools and creating new processes.

Shawn: Let’s talk about the benefits of customer service too, because if you have 20 apps instead of one, you have 20 customer service centers instead of one to deal with.

Taylor: That’s another thing. You have 20 contracts that you’re dealing with that have 20 different payment plans that are on 20 different billing cycles and have 20 different user accounts that must be set up and managed and activated. That is a major issue, right?

I mean, you can run that as a small thought experiment. You’re using ten applications and you must onboard a new employee to do that. Do those ten times versus doing that one time. How much money did that cost you? Just right there. That’s just the beginning, right? So, yeah, there’s certainly a lot of redundancies that creep up.

The Takeaways

Remember to keep it simple when choosing small business software, all-in-one solutions can sometimes provide a variety of services at a lower cost.

Be sure to catch the rest of the episode to find out other useful business tips and highlights like:

  • More real advantages of the integration an all-in-one software platform bring.
  • Ways to calculate the cost of redundant processes and see that there’s a saving beyond just the price tag on the software.
  • How you can keep from getting sucked into a marketing vortex that can lead you into a bad fit and unnecessary expense when it comes to choosing the right all-in-one software.
  • How you can decide if an all-in-one solution is a good fit for the type of industry you’re in.

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