Taylor Backman on using all-in-one solutions to cut costs


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

3 benefits of all-in-one business software

1. Gives you one solution versus several different solutions.

Shawn: If you’re a very small business and you’re new to technology, can you tell us about some of the ways that using one solution versus a plethora of different solutions can be an advantage?

Taylor: I think if you look at an all-in-one, you ask yourself what are the different businesses of the business, what are we working on as an organization? And then we’re looking for a solution that will best meet those requirements and also be something that we can hopefully grow over time or expand our use over time.

So I think with that mentality, obviously you’re 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 you’ll be fine.

But over time you are going to save a lot of money and time by not changing things too much down the road because all those changes are getting very expensive…because now all the data that used to live in one place is going to disappear to another product.

Or you now have to buy another product that is already increasing expenses, and now you have to integrate this product that becomes even more expensive. And now the costs keep spiraling out of control.

So looking at what are the requirements that we have, what’s a reasonable set of requirements that maybe will have in the future that we can start thinking about finding a solution that fits, has a good price, works for you today, it has a lot of dividends that continue to pay.

2. Critical business data is integrated into a central location.

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

Taylor: Absolutely. I mean, if we have, for example, where do we keep all of our customer information? Thus, we have a central place to keep all the information of our customers. And once we have this central place where we want to think about all the interactions we have with this customer?

And so whatever channel or way or form of communication we have with that customer, we want to make sure that it’s onboarded so that the data flows into that customer record and we have a complete view of it. And that will come in handy, obviously, whenever you go to contact them and talk to them.

And then, of course, depending on what type of business you’re in if you’re selling, say, physical products online, we want those records to go into the system as well, so we know what products it’s it’s about buying.

If we are a service company and we sign a contract and now we need to start billing hours, we want our project management tool to be connected as well. That way we can make sure we’re tracking that, charging for it, and getting a good record there. And then, of course, customer support, if we really help customers, we want it.

3. Automation saves time and money

Shawn: I imagine if your data isn’t all in one place, your customer data, for example, and you have multiple different sources, there’s even some time it takes to transfer that data back and forth. ..or the ways small businesses can sort of do the math and math to see the savings, because I think there are savings beyond the price of the software.

Taylor: I mean, it’s hard to know precisely. But again, think about how many people do administrative work where they enter data. I hope your organization doesn’t have too many.

But if you have that think of a way now that you could automate that somehow or think of a way to export all those spreadsheets so they can then consolidate the spreadsheets or create a spreadsheet, so that it can then turn into mini spreadsheets and then consolidate again.

Think about all these processes, and now think about the time it costs. If you have employees doing this, attach the hourly cost of their time to these tasks, right? And if you can now start automating or just be more organized on the data side, if you can start reducing that from their job responsibilities, then you can put a literal dollar figure on what you’re saving by using these new tools and create new processes.

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

Taylor: That’s something else. You have 20 contracts you are dealing with that have 20 different payment plans that are on 20 different billing cycles and have 20 different user accounts that need to be set up, managed, and activated. This is a major problem, isn’t it?

I mean, you can run this as a little thought experiment. You use ten applications and you need to onboard a new employee to do so. Do these ten times rather than just once. How much money did it cost you? Just there. This is just the beginning, isn’t it? So, yeah, there are definitely a lot of layoffs creeping in.

Takeaway meals

Remember to keep it simple when choosing software for small businesses, sometimes all-in-one solutions can provide a variety of services for less.

Be sure to watch the rest of the episode for more helpful business tips and highlights such as:

  • More real integration benefits from an all-in-one software platform.
  • Ways to calculate the cost of redundant processes and see that there is a saving beyond the price of the software.
  • How you can avoid being sucked into a marketing vortex that can lead to poor fit and unnecessary expense when it comes to choosing the right all-in-one software.
  • How to decide if an all-in-one solution is right for the type of industry you are in.

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