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Author : Jeremy Mozlin

Should you choose Zoho FSM or FieldTech?

Should you dive into Zoho FSM?

zoho fsm or fieldtech

In 2019, we got the first glimmerings of a new Zoho app called Zoho FSM, or Field Service Management.  Now over halfway through 2020, Zoho has been slowly–very slowly!–opening the gates to this app and allowing both Zoho partners and users to test it.

And of course, the testing phase is part of any successful app rollout, especially when it’s something brand-new like Zoho field service management.  Zoho has toed the ERP waters before with their combination of Zoho Books and Inventory.  However, Zoho FSM is their first foray into something even grander, something that could dovetail onto that stack and turn Zoho into a real ERP contender.  The question is: Is Zoho FSM enough?

If you’ve known Zoho for any length of time, you know that improving their software continuously is one of their strong points.  They’re one of the companies that seem to lead in this category, giving you real value every time you renew your monthly subscription to one of their apps.  As opposed to some companies, whose software you may use every month, but it’s basically the same software–and, additions of new fields in a module are cause for New Release! announcements.

Hot Take: How do we feel so far?

Even with knowing all this, it’s tough to say how quickly Zoho FSM will be able to deliver on its promise.  But, we at ZBrains are hoping Zoho is able to push this app out to market quickly.

Now… that may seem like a strange comment for someone unfamiliar with what we do at ZBrains.  But, to explain: we don’t just provide Zoho consulting services here.  We’ve actually developed a whole ERP framework for Zoho called FieldTech.

So, at first glance, it would appear that this field service management app from Zoho is in direct competition with the FieldTech offering.  And, sure, in some ways, it is.  But, not in all ways, as we’ll discuss soon.

zoho fsm or fieldtech

So, why is the addition of Zoho FSM a good thing?

It’s a good thing because it gives you, as someone who may want us to help you one day, one more potential option for your field services, construction, manufacturing, or tech business to use as a field service management platform.  Connect that to your Zoho CRM, and suddenly managing your entire business through Zoho doesn’t seem so insurmountable.

Of course, we’d love for you to use our FieldTech offering.  But, we understand it may not be for everyone.  Zoho Field Service Management seems to be geared more towards scheduling appointments or work orders, work order management, and invoices related to those WOs.  FieldTech, on the other hand, tackles those areas and adds the possibility of custom quoting, advanced inventory management, shop orders, job costing, and commission calculation.  So, whereas Zoho FSM is one single app, FieldTech has a Service Order Management component–and a suite of other, connected field service apps.

The costs of using FieldTech versus Zoho field service management are different, too.  Zoho Field Service Management offers a price per appointment model, whereas FieldTech’s pricing is per user.  If a company needed to decide between the two platforms based on pricing alone, it’s hard to see which way the org would go.  At least so far.

But, essentially, as long as you’re using a Zoho service to manage your field service business, that’s a victory for us.

Does this mean we’re going to stop developing FieldTech?

Quite the contrary!  We aren’t privy to Zoho’s overarching vision for this app, or vision for any other apps they may want to connect to it in the future.  If Zoho stopped at just field service management, that would be fine.  But, as you can probably tell by the host of other features inside FieldTech, we’ve never intended to stop there with that suite.  We improve the platform on a weekly basis, and it’s only a matter of time until we release some new apps for the suite.

We’re guessing that Zoho’s FSM app will work well for users with a simpler use case.  And, our FieldTech Service Order Management app will work better for organizations with more complicated needs–either just for field service management, or organization-wide.

What should you do with regards to Zoho FSM?

zoho fsm or fieldtech

If you have access to the app, test it!  We’ll certainly be doing the same.  Any experience you have on the Zoho platform will help you make a more informed choice about which apps will work best for you.

As always, we will keep you in the loop about any Zoho FSM developments.  And, when the full version of the app finally comes out, rest assured we’ll provide a full breakdown of features, as well as an official comparison between FSM and FieldTech.

If you’re still a little in the dark about what to do, get in touch with us for a free introductory consultation, where we can talk about how FSM, FieldTech, or any other Zoho app would potentially affect your business.

Migrating from QuickBooks to Zoho Books

Migrating from QuickBooks to Zoho Books

What you need to know when you migrate quickbooks to zoho books

According to Zoho Corporation, a lot of companies moving from another accounting system onto Zoho Books move there from QuickBooks.  And, whether those companies previously use QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop, the reasons for switching onto Zoho are easy to see.  Well, easy for us to see, anyway.  But they aren’t so obvious to everyone else, who may not think about these problems as often as we do.

In this post, we’ll explore some common reasons for switching. We’ll then dive into some considerations to make before switching.  And, although we’re talking about Zoho Books today, you can apply this knowledge to any software, Zoho or otherwise.

First, here are some common questions we encounter when letting our customers or prospects know that switching is an option: 

Why migrate to Zoho Books if you’re already in the cloud with QuickBooks Online?

migrate quickbooks to zoho books

Not all cloud systems are created equal!  Although QuickBooks Online is a relatively new platform, companies tend to switch from QBO to Zoho Books because:

  1. Zoho Books provides many of the same features as QuickBooks Online–and then some.
    • Books allows for Sales Orders, which QBO does not account for as of this writing.  
    • Moreover, Zoho Books natively integrates with Zoho Inventory, which adds features that make the combination of Books and Inventory more comparable to QuickBooks Desktop.
  2. Zoho Books integrates seamlessly with Zoho CRM.
    • While there is an integration between QuickBooks Online and Zoho CRM, any consultant worth their salt will tell you a third-party integration is a system’s weakest point.  Zoho’s native integration eliminates that weak point, giving you a seamless data transfer; for companies that have already chosen Zoho CRM as their customer hub, moving finances onto Zoho Books seems like an even more intuitive decision.
  3. Zoho Books is more affordable than QuickBooks Online.
    • Zoho Corporation puts out a good comparison sheet to illustrate this point.  The more users you add to Zoho Books, the more money your company can save in this way.

compare Zoho Books and QuickBooks Desktop

How can Zoho Books possibly contend with QuickBooks Desktop?

While QuickBooks Desktop is a bit of a heavyweight in terms of functionality (not to mention ubiquity!), Zoho Books is more than able to rise to the occasion when pushed to the limit. 

Companies often move from QBD to Zoho Books for these reasons:

  1. Cloud-based software gives businesses more flexibility than on-premise software does.
    1. With data breaches on the rise, many companies would much rather offload security responsibilities onto a third party than take on any additional risk themselves.  Zoho takes this responsibility very seriously and uses the most up-to-date encryption possible in their apps–and has been recognized internationally for it.
    2. Cloud-based software means rather than scheduling and installing updates and patches to your accounting system–and paying out the nose for the privilege–updates happen on-the-fly as part of your monthly recurring SaaS (software-as-a-service) fee.  That means no more scheduled downtime for maintenance, and what usually amounts to more money in your pocket.
  2. Zoho Books provides a much more stable integration with Zoho CRM than QuickBooks Desktop could put together.
    1. Like with QuickBooks Online, there is an integration between QuickBooks Desktop and Zoho CRM.  But, introducing a hybrid-cloud integration like this is bound to put some strain on the system overall; incidentally, third-party integrations like this are the more failure-prone points of any system.  Conversely, Zoho Books’s integration with Zoho CRM is native, cloud-to-cloud, and nearly instant.
  3. Finally, combining Zoho Books plus Zoho Inventory gives a business nearly as many features as are in QuickBooks Desktop.
    1. It isn’t a perfect analog, of course, but using Zoho Inventory in tandem with Books gives the user an experience much closer to QuickBooks Desktop.  This includes inventory and shipment management, multiple warehouses, online store integration, workflow automation, and more.

What to consider when switching from QuickBooks to Zoho Books

how to migrate from quickbooks to zoho books

Despite the apparent similarities between QuickBooks and Zoho Books, switching over isn’t such a plug-and-play operation.  It requires a good deal of knowledge: of QuickBooks, of Zoho Books, and of your team’s own ability to learn new software and procedures as needed.  

For those considering making the switch themselves, we recommend evaluating your own QuickBooks configuration, and then activating a trial of Books. Then, you should go through every possible setting and see how easily you can mentally recreate your organization’s QuickBooks configuration. Take note when you come to a setting you don’t understand or that would change how your organization does business; there will likely be some.

After this, will you know if Books is the right choice for you?  Probably not just yet.  You should still confer with your team and ensure you get buy-in, or at least reaffirm that your team of old dogs can still learn new tricks!  Then, it’s time to put your implementation plan together in earnest.  You’ll need a tight schedule, perhaps a Gantt chart, and definitely a project manager.  Also, a data flow model to visually account for any new systems.  This can keep your own plans in line, as well as let any other parties know exactly what you’re doing.

The truth about switching from QuickBooks to Zoho Books

If all this seems like a lot to bite off and chew, make no mistake.  It is.  We’ve heard no shortage of Zoho deployment horror stories over the years.  And, that’s no fault of Zoho’s!  The reality is most businesses cannot afford to drop what they’re doing and devote all their time to learning a new software system.  That goes for the features, the implications for future business, and the effect on company culture.  And, for this reason, projects like these tend to fail; there simply isn’t enough time that many can reasonably devote to a project like this and still maintain their business.  

Some even try to cut losses by hiring a Zoho specialist.  And, it’s at that point that many customers tend to find us!

Why use a Zoho consultant to ease your switch from QuickBooks to Zoho Books?

quickbooks to zoho books migration

The good thing about hiring a Zoho consultant in cases like these is, aside from being able to manage an implementation project of this magnitude, we’ve done projects like this many times before.

And, that doesn’t mean your implementation will be the same as anyone else’s!  Rather, it means we know all the ins and outs of planning and managing–and, we know the questions to ask you about your business so your implementation doesn’t turn out just like everyone else’s.  That is, so it works just for your business and your unique processes.

In this case, once we know the ins and outs of your processes within QuickBooks, we see how well those align with Zoho Books.  From there, we can see if you’ll need just Zoho Books, a combination of Books + Inventory–or perhaps something more customized on Zoho.  We may only be helping you deploy an accounting system, but that system can affect how the whole company does business.  So, we take a comprehensive approach when looking at something like this, culminating in an Executive Summary document, where we explain our project plan to you.

And then, once you agree with our deployment plan, it’s off to the races!  We get to work for you, and we meet with you throughout the project for consulting meetings and for various approvals of our work.  And, in the end, you receive a fully functioning Zoho finance system that functions as part of your company’s business software network.

Ready to see how making the switch would change your business?

Making the switch from QuickBooks to Books is an endeavor.  But, it doesn’t start that way–that’s just a chat.  Contact us today for an introductory consulting session!  We’ll explore at a high level how migrating from QuickBooks to Zoho Books can help make your Zoho system everything it can be.

 

Read more about Zoho Books! 

Zoho Adds Even More Value with Free Remotely Suite

Zoho Remotely is free until July 2020

zoho remotely

In times of crisis, Zoho really seems to have their finger on the pulse of their customers.  They know well that many of their customers are SMBs.  And by that logic, the coronavirus pandemic likely affects a great number of them.  So, Zoho did what it does best: it added even more value to their customers’ experience with the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP).  ESAP allows customers (still, as of this writing) to apply for Zoho licensing forgiveness if their organizations include 25 or fewer users.

But, obviously, not every organization is going to fall into that category, and some are still needing assistance.  To that end, Zoho has made an entire suite of their products free to use through the end of June 2020.  That suite, called Remotely, is made of apps already in the Zoho One suite, but which are designed specifically for remote collaboration.  And, in a time where many now work from home by default, what could be better?

Remotely includes these Zoho apps:

  1. Projects, for collaboration on team projects.
  2. Sprints, specific to remote teams collaborating on software sprints.
  3. Cliq, for sending instant chat messages to colleagues across your organization.
  4. Meeting, for virtual meetings with groups–for sales, support, or otherwise.
  5. Assist, for remote one-on-one support sessions (including mouse control options) with clients.
  6. Lens, similar to Assist but accesses a client’s smartphone’s camera to identify physical (non-software) problems.
  7. Show, for putting together presentations for clients.
  8. Showtime, for giving training content to your clients.
  9. Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet, similar to Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, except integrated with your Zoho environment–great for storing files related to your clients or projects.

zoho remotely

Chances are your business needs more software than just Zoho Remotely to achieve success.  For example, you’ll notice the suite is noticeably lacking the CRM, help desk, finance platforms, etc.  But, if you would benefit from using even one of these apps in the Remotely suite, it could be worth a look.  You may end up using a combination of a la carte apps plus the Remotely suite.  Or, even Zoho CRM Plus and the Zoho Remotely suite.

If you aren’t sure what to do, let us know when you contact us.

Who benefits most from Zoho Remotely?

Aside from the obvious–that the suite is geared towards teams who work remotely–it seems Zoho Remotely is designed for teams in specific industries, too.  This makes more sense if you consider Remotely has existed in Zoho’s library since long before the recent pandemic.  In fact, Remotely has been around since 2019.

While many of the apps included in Zoho Remotely truly are general-purpose, others are quite specific.  The more general apps include:

  • Projects
  • Cliq
  • Meeting
  • Show
  • Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet

zoho remotely

Projects is a good app for any team needing to collaborate on a project that requires multiple steps or dependencies.  Cliq is Zoho’s equivalent of Slack, making it a great intra-office communication tool.  Meeting is similar to Zoom, meaning virtual conferences are on the table.  Show is like PowerPoint or Google Slides.  Similarly, Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet are similar to their Google Apps counterparts: Drive, Docs, and Sheets, which many businesses already use today.  With the possible exception of Projects, one could argue nearly any organization could benefit from using this combination of apps.

So, what about the more specific apps not included here?

More industry-specific apps in Remotely include:

  • Sprints
  • Assist
  • Lens
  • Showtime

Zoho Sprints is geared towards software development sprints; so, tech companies developing programs or apps would find it useful.  It isn’t uncommon for companies like this to employ a remote workforce anyway, so this app’s inclusion in the suite makes sense.

Zoho Assist is similar to Zoho Meet, except it’s used for one-on-one support sessions rather than team meetings.  It gives the presenter the ability to control a guest’s mouse (with their permission, of course), making it great for technical support cases.  Again, this sort of work is usually done remotely anyway.

zoho remotely

Zoho Lens is somewhat similar to Zoho Assist above, what with its device-controlling attributes.  However, Lens gives the meeting originator access to a participant’s smartphone camera, allowing them to see whatever the camera sees.  This is useful when diagnosing certain mechanical problems–or others where a visual display is important.  Again, this would necessarily be remote work, as the only alternative would be to bring an additional person to the work site.

zoho remotely

Zoho Showtime is like PowerPoint, or Google Slides, except it’s specifically made for showing training content.  In it, you can not only show special training videos, but also administer quizzes and track engagement.  As with the other aforementioned apps, this is necessarily a remote job.  The next-best thing would be to get your staff into a classroom, which is hardly ever feasible in the best of times–and especially not in today’s climate of perpetual social distancing.

Little confusing?  You’ve got power in your corner

Times are difficult enough these days, and while Zoho means well to add another software choice to its arsenal, some may not have the time to really sit down and analyze whether using it would be a good idea.  (Choosing the wrong software and/or provider seems to be a popular reason system implementations fail, when they do.)

If that sounds like you, just let us know and we’ll be happy to analyze your situation for you, then let you know if you’d benefit from using Remotely.  You don’t have to take a big chance on something like this; leave it to a team of experienced Zoho consultants to lend a hand and put you back in the Zoho power seat.

 

zoho for enterprise businesses

Zoho Aims for Enterprise Businesses

Zoho Corporation is looking to revamp its image as it grows, adding more partners who service larger businesses.  Historically, Zoho has been known as an inexpensive software option, especially useful for smaller businesses.  However, when enterprise-level customers do come knocking, they’re frequently impressed.

Zoho has done just fine by gathering up smaller businesses, making the relationships “sticky” with suites of apps like Zoho One, and growing with (until recently) hardly any US advertising.  But, Zoho is showing Salesforce isn’t the only game in town for larger businesses.

So, what does this mean for Zoho Corporation, for you (whether part of a small business or a larger one), and for us as Zoho consultants?

No matter what, Zoho still wants to help you

Businesspeople shouldn’t look at this move by Zoho as an eschewing of the company’s roots.  Rather, smaller businesses make up the vast majority of the global market.  And, chances are larger businesses have even more connections to smaller businesses that Zoho can use to its advantage–namely for referrals.  So, no, Zoho won’t likely turn into a one-dimensional company from this move.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Is it better to be big, or small?

The question remains: Is Zoho still better suited for larger businesses, or is it better for smaller ones?  Zoho purposefully paints with a very broad brush, offering software packages suited for both larger and smaller enterprises, with pricing plans to match.

The answer is it doesn’t really matter, and it all depends on your preference–as always.

Zoho purposefully gears themselves towards smaller organizations.  

Their competitive price points make the barrier to entry very low.  As well, Zoho’s plasticity makes it easy for some businesses to turn on an app and start using it in production right away.  And, suites like Zoho One or Zoho CRM Plus provide a whole system of apps for less than their constituent parts combined.  Recent additions like Zoho Remotely and the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) ease small business pains related to working from home, or from the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Zoho Corporation clearly values their SMB clients greatly.  However, they expect some companies to grow larger as a natural function of their success.

Zoho’s customizability makes it a perfect choice for enterprise-level companies.

Anyone can turn on Zoho CRM and start tracking lead data.  However, many Zoho apps boast a slew of features specific to automating workflow and simplifying processes for large departments.  (Take blueprint, for example, available in Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk too.)  Many Zoho apps can communicate with each other.  Others can also integrate with third-party apps like QuickBooks Desktop or Sage 100 ERP.  Furthermore, Zoho’s platform-as-a-service, Zoho Creator, puts it on par with Salesforce by allowing for creating custom apps and connecting with Zoho CRM.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Clearly Zoho has designed their apps with both small and large companies in mind.  Some businesses may have growth plans that don’t include Zoho.  And, for some, that is to be expected, a natural part of growth.  But, Zoho purposefully designs software to last, and includes “sticky” apps that companies won’t want to stop using after starting to use them!  So, even if some companies actually plan not to use Zoho forever, they sometimes find their plans change due to their users benefiting greatly from using the software.  Again, this is a natural part of growth as a company.

What does this push to enterprise businesses mean for us as Zoho consultants?

As Zoho consultants, our job hasn’t changed.  No matter the size of your business, our job remains to devise the best Zoho solution for you given your business goals.  We’ve done this for one-man shows and we’ve done it for companies with hundreds of users.

If Zoho begins to attract more large companies, however, Zoho Corporation will likely begin expanding upon newer apps like MarketingHub. They’ll also probably offer more industry-specific solutions, and improve upon Zoho Creator.  Zoho will probably release those improvements to larger and smaller companies alike.  And this, in turn, makes our job that much easier, as it makes Zoho that much easier to sell.

And, whether Zoho adds functionality to Zoho Creator itself or creates new apps specific to industries like field services, construction, or manufacturing, larger companies have everything to gain.

How Zoho Helps SMBs in Crisis

Who can small businesses turn to in the face of a crisis like the coronavirus?

zoho coronavirus help

Here’s why Zoho is just the software–and the company–to take advantage of.

Even perpetual doomsayers likely could not have predicted the wave of confusion–and businesses forced to close–in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether your business was forced to transition to a work-from-home model, or you lost business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or you were simply forced to shut your doors, chances are the virus has affected you in some way.

And, whether or not you even use Zoho software, you’re probably looking for guidance to power it through this troubling time.

Fortunately, Zoho software was practically built for situations like these, even if you didn’t know it already.

How Zoho software positions itself to help businesses

zoho coronavirus help

Zoho is well-known for being an inexpensive business software option.  And, unfortunately, this lends it a bad rap among some circles.  It’s widely known that highly-priced products are seen as more valuable than lower-priced ones, even if that isn’t actually the case.  And, in this case, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

For example, despite Salesforce being a household name, Zoho packs about 95% of the features of Salesforce.  Furthermore, any small gaps can usually be filled by Zoho’s platform-as-a-service, Zoho Creator.  But, the difference in price between Zoho and Salesforce is anything but small.

Zoho’s flagship offering, Zoho One, goes for $45/user/month.*  And, that gives you nearly every app (40+) in Zoho’s arsenal. *Pricing updated June 2021

Compare that with Salesforce’s enterprise-level solution, which comes in at $150/user/month–and that’s just for the CRM!  Add extra apps and the recurring price only rises. Businesses who have switched from Salesforce to Zoho know all too well about these differences in costs.

Zoho’s Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP)

zoho coronavirus help

Zoho already prices itself very competitively.  But, the recent coronavirus pandemic has caused Zoho Corporation to take swift action to help its customers even more.  Zoho knows that many of its clientele are small businesses.  And, because of the size of these businesses, statistically the coronavirus outbreak affects them most.  Zoho wants to do everything it can to help keep these customers in business.  After all, small these businesses have been a key to Zoho’s success thus far.  Furthermore, the loss of their business software wouldn’t just mean these companies would move to another platform.  Rather, it could mean the end for some, if not most of them.

For these reasons, Zoho has launched the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program.  This allows any severely affected Zoho customer with 25 or fewer employees to apply for completely free licensing for up to three months.  While ESAP requires an application to receive help, its availability to begin with shows Zoho’s great empathy for its customers.

How about working from home?  Zoho covers you there with Remotely, too.

zoho coronavirus help

Even if coronavirus hasn’t sidelined you completely, you’ve likely shifted at least some operations from an external office to a home office.  Any business can use Zoho CRM Plus if they need a whole suite of apps, but what happens if a business needs to be a little more collaborative than CRM Plus allows?

Zoho Corporation has made their Remotely suite completely free to use through July 1, 2020.  This move will surely help businesses through these troubling times.  Remotely contains these apps, which focus on collaboration or general communication between team members:

  1. Zoho Cliq
  2. Zoho Meeting
  3. Zoho ShowTime
  4. Zoho WorkDrive
  5. Zoho Projects
  6. Zoho Sprints
  7. Zoho Assist
  8. Zoho Lens
  9. Zoho Writer
  10. Zoho Sheet
  11. Zoho Show

What can ZBrains do?

As always, we maintain our full staff of Zoho certified consultants and developers completely on-site to help with any Zoho project.  No matter what you need–from consulting, training, integration, or a custom ERP app–we have the tools to help.

zoho coronavirus help

We don’t often recommend jumping into action, especially if we haven’t already analyzed your Zoho software and helped plan your next moves.  However, if you don’t have time to spare, doing something–anything–may be miles better than doing nothing.  Let us know exactly how you’d like to engage with a Zoho partner, and we’ll do our very best to make that a reality.

As a small business ourselves, we know what you’re going through, and we care about you.  Above all else, stay safe, and we hope to collaborate with you soon.

Should you use Zoho Finance or FieldTech?

Should you use Zoho Finance, or FieldTech?

Like with all things Zoho, your software choice should depend on your business.

fieldtech zoho finance

There’s a new player in town when it comes to the ERP side of Zoho.  We released FieldTech formally several months ago, and while a good number of companies enjoy its benefits today, it isn’t always clear what the differences are between FieldTech and the Zoho Finance platform at large.  So, we present this post in hopes of clearing that up.

When should you use Zoho Finance?

If your accounting and ERP needs are relatively simple–or if you don’t use inventory–you may not need anything more than Zoho Finance.  Finance works well for professional services companies, as well as distributors with very light or uncomplicated inventory.  For anything a little more complex, Zoho’s custom functions can transmit information between the modules of different apps, and workflow automation can speed up slow processes and prevent certain tasks from falling through the cracks.

fieldtech zoho finance

And, for anything more complex than that, businesses can use Zoho Creator to built separate apps to then connect to the Finance platform.  These apps give these businesses ways to manipulate their data that Zoho Finance could not do on its own.

The drawback to simply building your own Zoho Creator ERP apps is doing so takes lots of time: Someone has to architect your solution given the way you do business, then actually build and implement it for you.  This is one of the chief reasons we built FieldTech: to address this potential need of many companies who wouldn’t be satisfied with just Zoho Finance, and who don’t have the time to develop their very own apps.

When should you use FieldTech?

Zoho Finance’s familiar array of features suits the needs of a lot of businesses.  But, the suite tends to alienate several other kinds of companies inadvertently:

fieldtech zoho finance

These kinds of companies depend on certain features available in ERP software that Zoho Finance doesn’t provide, or only partially provides.  Things like:

  1. Complex, mobile quote creation on-the-fly (with a CPQ tool)
  2. Assisted scheduling of appointments or work orders
  3. Work order management, including tracking time, materials used, and equipment
  4. Production (manufacturing) order management
  5. Advanced inventory management, including MRP and an RMA module
  6. Job costing, factoring in both labor and materials
  7. Commission calculation for salespeople

And, this isn’t to say those companies with these needs can’t use Zoho Finance at all!  They can, and often do–sometimes to their detriment–for years.

The point is Zoho Finance isn’t always enough for these companies.

The reason for FieldTech’s existence

As Zoho consultants, we get calls about the shortcomings of many Zoho apps, including the Finance suite, on a daily basis.  Zoho Corporation is notorious for improving apps and releasing features at a breakneck pace, but this doesn’t usually translate into accommodating the sort of requests we were getting (and still get) from the kinds of companies mentioned before.

Eventually we wisened up to the fact that our customers needed more than what standard Zoho apps could reasonably offer, at the pace it was needed.  So, over the course of years, we built the FieldTech platform to help address these needs.

Is it possible to use both suites at once?

fieldtech zoho finance

As Zoho Finance isn’t always enough for some businesses, and FieldTech can supplement the Finance suite’s features,  many companies find it useful to use both Zoho Finance and FieldTech together.  The FieldTech suite has many standard integrations with Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory, Zoho CRM, and even Zoho Desk.

Could we cut out Zoho Finance entirely?

From time to time, people ask us why they need Zoho Finance at all, if FieldTech works so well as a sort of Zoho ERP.  The answer is that Zoho Finance, in spite of its shortcomings, packs a lot of extremely useful accounting functions and third-party banking integrations.  We could develop these things for FieldTech too, but, except in very extreme cases, we’d be reinventing the wheel.  Better to let Zoho do what they do best.

Get the full Zoho Finance vs FieldTech Feature List

This post serves as a very general overview of Zoho Finance vs FieldTech.  But, if you’d like to really dive into the weeds and explore the full feature list, we’ve got you covered.  The feature list shows exactly where FieldTech shines, where Zoho Finance shines, and where the capabilities of the two overlap.  It also breaks features down by category for easy navigation.

Contact us using this form and we’ll send you the full feature comparison list.

 

 

Reasons to use a Zoho Consultant

3 Reasons to Use a CRM Consultancy When Implementing Your CRM

Why Use a CRM Consultancy When Implementing Your CRM?

No matter what kind of business you run, implementing a CRM correctly is no small feat.  Sure, it may seem tempting to ease your way into any CRM by simply turning it on.  But then, the wealth of features you’ll probably see before you might just make you hang up your hat before you even get started.

Working with a product like Zoho, which advertises itself as DIY, we see this kind of thing happen a lot.

And, we get calls about it weeks, months, or even years after the initial projects start.  It’s still not off the ground, or No one is using the system correctly.  People lose faith in themselves at that point.

Well, I want to tell you not to give up.  Most CRMs are tricky to use correctly because they’re very powerful, and Zoho CRM is no exception to this.  Play around with Zoho One long enough and you might get really confused at the array of 45+ apps.  It’s not your fault.  And, I believe software as powerful as Zoho should come with sufficient resources to help you along the way.  Chances are you believe that too, if you’re reading this blog post.

With that in mind, let me tell you three ways using a CRM consultancy (like us!) helps greatly with proper CRM deployment.  You may get some ideas of your own from this.

#1: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you’re using your system in the best way possible for your business.

crm consultancy

Even with documentation, deploying a CRM and related business apps by yourself is at best a chore. At worst, it’s a show-stopper.  With no one to help, it can be difficult to know if you’ve deployed your software the very best way.  Tech-savvy team members certainly do help, but unless they themselves are CRM experts, that’s only one piece of the puzzle.  Having someone on staff who has worked previously with the CRM you’re deploying is closer to what you’ll need – but, if they too worked with a faulty system in the past, they may not know the very best way to do things either.  Your best bet at a successful CRM implementation is with a CRM consultant at your side.  If you plan to deploy Zoho CRM, for example, you’ll want a Zoho CRM consultancy to assist you.

Ordinarily, using a CRM consultancy helps with figuring out the best way to use your CRM by exploring how you do business. That can involve everything from a business process analysis, review of current software systems and purposes, and interviewing key personnel to gauge their responsibilities.  It also takes into consideration the business owner’s vision for the company moving forward, as this vision usually highly impacts how your business software is utilized.

Once this analysis is complete, your CRM consultancy will have everything they need to present you with a clear plan for moving forward, and you’ll have what you need to make an informed decision on what exactly you’d like to do, which parts of the plan make sense, and which parts need revision.  It’s not a simple process, but it’s necessary for you to get the very most out of your new system.

#2: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you have a high adoption rate so you don’t end up with another failed project.

crm consultancy

Even if your CRM is set up correctly, that doesn’t guarantee your staff will always use it the right way.  We’re all human, but sometimes we find our customers’ Zoho CRMs set up in ways that actually hurt productivity.  And, it’s not their fault!  Those people did what they thought was easiest and best, and no one was there to tell them yes or no.  And, of course, CRM usage (adoption) eventually dwindled because the CRM wasn’t deployed in a way that actually provided value to the users.

While a good CRM consultancy likely won’t recommend bending the rules of CRM to fit someone’s arbitrary desire, one can usually account for quirks by setting up additional reminders, workflow automation, and the like, to steer things in the proper direction.  Setting up the system the right way ensures the CRM works better without needing additional customizations that end up bloating the system and making things more confusing in the long run.

Your CRM consultancy will be able to figure out the extent of the “quirks” during the business process analysis. They will complete interviews, and make recommendations. This is to set up workflow automation, reminders, or custom function that actually help your team’s performance and make them want to use the system more.

#3: Your CRM consultancy will ensure your system stays up-to-date and scalable, depending on your plans for the business.

crm consultancy

Aside from helping to solve your current problems and make sure your new CRM has a high rate of adoption, the next-most important thing a CRM consultancy can do is make sure your system can also solve future problems.  And, it’s not as if your system can anticipate problems before they come up all by itself.  Rather, the system needs to be configured to act that way!  And, the way a consultancy does this is simple in theory, but a little complicated in practice.

A good CRM consultancy will be able to predict what problems can come up based on how you already do business. They can help with how you plan to grow your business.  To understand these parts of your business, a CRM consultancy will carry out interviews. They speak to key personnel to understand their current business responsibilities, current system duties (if any), and their trajectories in your business.  Then, based on business knowledge, the consultancy will put a plan in place that accounts for those future problems.

Future-planning like this can solve problems as large as a planned change in your business model in five years and as small as how to organize the departments in your website chat widget once you ramp up your website traffic to a certain number per day.

Looking to the future

crm consultancy

As proper deployment of your CRM leads to success for years to come, don’t take it lightly.  You may have the time and ability to tackle your deployment head-on, but if you’re unsure, it’s best to contact a certified CRM consultant.  Around half of IT projects fail to some degree, whether out-of-budget, working only partially, or a complete loss.  You stand a much better chance of succeeding by putting your business sense together with someone who has CRM sense.  Together, you really do have the best of both worlds.

On that note, will our worlds collide anytime soon?  Contact us and let’s see if we’d be a good fit for your CRM system goals.

Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho is at once an amazing and frustrating product.  You probably have some idea of this, or maybe you’re still in the dark – but, the truth is out there.  In this article we compare Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One.

crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho is incredible in the scope of what it can do and at the price you pay for it.  

There are very few, if any other platforms that provide so many different software apps, and so much useful functionality, for such a low price, comparatively.  But, at the same time, Zoho’s various products – whose functionality often overlap – and software bundles with the very same issue, are often not explained in enough detail for potential customers to make informed buying decisions.

There is so much information about Zoho products available.  How can none of it accurately tell you the difference between, for example, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One?  It’s enough to drive you up the wall.  

When comparing CRM Plus vs Zoho One on the surface, the offerings seem similar enough: Bundles of Zoho apps for members of your company to use.  But, one bundle includes many Zoho apps (Zoho One) and one includes comparatively fewer (CRM Plus).  And, Zoho One is more expensive… Unless you get your whole company on the software, in which case it becomes much cheaper.  Is this gaming the system? What gives?

Well, not quite.  There’s actually a method to the madness that is the different pricing and different apps present in the Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus bundles.  In this post, we’ll address the two problems that seem to arise from having different bundles with seemingly (but not actually) illogical pricing models.  Then, we’ll lay out some facts to help you determine which bundle is best for your business. Finally, we’ll give you a bit of history that led to the introduction of Zoho One at all.

 

crm plus vs zoho one

One problem: Why does Zoho offer two different bundles?

The answer here is simple on its surface.  Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus exist to meet two different distinct software needs.

What is Zoho One? 

Zoho One is Zoho’s all-inclusive bundle, boasting 40+ fully-featured apps, all Enterprise-level (Zoho’s top tier of features).  You can purchase a license for any number of employees at your company for $105/user/month*. However, if all employees at your company use Zoho One, the price is only $45/user/month*.  Obviously, that’s a substantial difference.

What is Zoho CRM Plus? 

CRM Plus is the original Zoho bundle: Nine essential Zoho apps, all Enterprise-level, for $69/user/month*, regardless of how many employees use the apps.  This gives companies a better overall cost than they would get from buying different Zoho apps a la carte. (Apps include Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Zoho Desk, SalesIQ, Social, Projects, Survey, Analytics, and Motivator.)

*Pricing updated June 2021

So, we can see these two bundles serve distinct purposes.  We can deduce from the pricing info that CRM Plus is an intuitive choice for a company looking to save on licensing for many of the apps they would need anyway. But, they might not want to give all of their employees a license.  This situation comes up frequently for manufacturers, who often have many employees who work in a warehouse or factory and never interact with computers at all.  There’s no point in those employees having Zoho licenses they will never use.

Zoho One, on the other hand, is a great choice for a company that is either:

  1. Looking to save tremendously on business software licensing costs by buying licenses for all employees, even if not all of them use the software,
  2. Needs all of their employees to use Zoho One anyway, or
  3. Stands to save a considerable amount of money by allowing some of their employees to use Zoho One rather than CRM Plus or a la carte apps.

 

The Devil’s in the Details

This is a lot to unpack, but…better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?  Strap in and let’s examine the three Zoho One use cases posed above.

Use Case #1

zoho crm plus vs zoho oneBusinesses stand to save a good deal on Zoho One even if not all of them use the software.  This would happen in situations where a company with fifty employees had thirty of them in need of the software, and twenty with no need for Zoho One licenses at all.  In this case, it makes more sense to eat the cost of ten additional licenses than only buy licenses for forty employees.  This is because for only forty employees, the cost of the licenses increases by nearly a factor of three!

      • 30 users * $105/user/mo (Zoho One flexible user count) = $3,150/mo in licensing
      • 50 users * $45/user/mo (Zoho One for all employees) = $2,250/mo in licensing

Use Case #2

You can benefit from Zoho One for certain if you need all of your employees to use the software anyway.  No matter how many you employ, the offer is $45/user/mo if you purchase a license for all your employees.  Especially for smaller companies, this seems almost too good to be true – and, more on that below, shortly.

Use Case #3

For some companies who only need some of their employees to use business software, Zoho One may make more sense than CRM Plus simply because the $105/user/mo price provides more needed functionality than would be available with CRM Plus, or CRM Plus and a combination of a la carte Zoho apps.

      • 10 users of Zoho CRM Plus with Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Webinar ($69/user/mo + $249/company/mo + $19/mo) = $958/mo
      • 10 users of Zoho One (flexible user count) ($105/user/mo) = $1050/mo

While the savings here appears to be on the side of the a la carte options, we have not factored in any additional limitations or add-ons that could occur with this option. Including a max of 25 people on Webinar events, and additional fees for additional users, warehouses, orders and labels, and warehouses, ranging from $9-10 each for the add-ons.

What are your next steps to implementing Zoho?

Remember, before deciding about Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, it’s always best to get some Zoho CRM Plus consulting, or Zoho One-specific help.  You can use that consulting time to set up the apps you need. Additionally, you can use it to get an expert’s recommendation on which bundle to pick, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, if either are a good idea for you.

Now that we’ve gone into great detail about the different apps and scenarios when one might be better than the other, there’s still one nagging question…

 

Another problem: Why are Zoho losing their shirts by offering Zoho One at such a discount compared to CRM Plus?

[caption id="attachment_3832" align="alignright" width="400"]selecting the correct fit Okay, not quite 80% off…but darn close.[/caption]

At first glance, this looks positively insane, and you’ll be certain you’re gaming the system by buying Zoho One.  This is especially true if you run a smaller company. Imagine having so much functionality that every employee can enjoy for only $45/user/month!

But, it’s not a mistake.  Zoho has a very, very good reason for doing this.

They’re playing what’s known as a long game.  And, to put this game into context, we have to imagine what life was like before Zoho One.

 

The Good Old Days

Believe it or not, there was a time when Zoho One was but a twinkle in the eye of Zoho Corporation CEO Sridar Vembu.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case, Zoho Corporation noticed something quite significant in their sales.

They were losing the attention of smaller businesses.

zoho one or Zoho CRM

A la carte apps and CRM Plus (the original bundle of apps offered by Zoho) were great for some companies. But, for others who needed a lot of functionality to help them off the ground, Zoho’s cost for entry was simply too high. Zoho likely lost a good number of clients to attrition during this time. Certainly many who simply could not stomach the price of CRM Plus, or even a handful of a la carte apps. Others probably liked what they were getting with the a la carte apps. But ultimately found themselves unable to scale, so they abandoned the platform.

In Zoho’s eyes, the small businesses segment was an untapped market. And, Zoho’s idea was not just to make a bigger, badder bundle that would accommodate the needs of companies who needed more functionality.  No. They were going to offer everything they had, at a price even lower than the cost of their next-best bundle.

Consider this:

Zoho Corporation makes its living on recurring revenue from their software. They want businesses to use their software as long as possible by providing customers with value. And – this is a big one – according to NAICS, there are about 1.5 million businesses that have more than 10 employees in the USA.  

This number, 1.5 million, is essentially who Zoho was marketing to in the USA with their CRM Plus software bundle. But, if you follow the link you’ll see that there are just as many businesses in just the 5-9 employee count category. As if that’s not crazy enough, look one row up and you’ll see there are seven times as many businesses listed as between 1-4 employees.

Again, what an enormous market.

 

Like Miracle-Gro for Small Biz

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho came up with this fantastic Zoho One package because they knew businesses needed some help just entering the world of Zoho. That way, they could realize immediate benefits of using the software. And also see what benefits they’d reap if they grew their companies!

Many small businesses remain one size forever because that’s what works for them. However, for companies that start small and grow with Zoho, those are customers Zoho never would have had access to previously.

It’s accepted that happy customers with talk with their like-minded friends who run businesses. Because of this, suddenly Zoho has potentially increased their reach by millions in the USA alone.  Perhaps tens of millions worldwide!

By offering Zoho One, Zoho is betting you’ll start small with them. Then grow into something that may not have been possible without the software. Starting with Zoho and using it to grow makes it less likely you’ll use another platform in the future. If it works for you, why try anything else? 

The Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho CRM Plus and Zoho One may seem pretty confusing in how similar they are.  But look beyond the names of the familiar apps, analyze the pricing a bit. Then consider Zoho’s history, and you’ll see the distinctions between the two packages are pretty clear.

 

The Road Ahead for Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho one

We don’t expect you to read this blog post and suddenly know how to decide between Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One. You’ll still have to prepare your own cost breakdowns according to what you need. And, if you don’t have time to put all that together, let alone examine your own business thoroughly to determine that exact need, this all may not have helped your stress levels.

[caption id="attachment_3837" align="alignright" width="401"]zoho crm plus ZBrains Expert Consultants help guide you to which Zoho apps are best for your business, and we’ve helped clients like you since 2012![/caption]

So, let’s turn that around! ZBrains has helped lots of businesspeople who were strapped for time. This includes determining which Zoho apps would work best for them, and which exact package would be best.  Is it Zoho One? CRM Plus? Maybe neither of the two? It remains to be seen. But we can show you the way so you turn from would-be Zoho user to Zoho Hero.

Then, if you need help with Zoho implementation or Zoho training, you can rest assured you made the best software choice, so you’ll have the best chance of really growing your company with Zoho, as opposed to just getting by.

Contact us today for help determining which Zoho suite to use, or for anything else Zoho-related.

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

3 Things a Zoho Campaigns Consultant Does For You

Zoho Campaigns Consultant = Peace of Mind

If you’re reading about marketing strategies in a blog that’s specific to Zoho consulting, chances are you’re looking for some help with Zoho Campaigns, or one of the many other apps in Zoho’s marketing stack.  And, we can definitely provide that to you. But, what you may not know is that using a Zoho Campaigns consultant is about more than just getting your Campaigns app set up the right way. It’s about giving you confidence in Zoho’s flagship marketing app (well, at least until MarketingHub usurps it) and taking stress off your plate.  It’s about giving you peace of mind in an area where you previously didn’t have much.

zoho campaigns consultant

What can a Zoho Campaigns Consultant do for you?

Zoho Campaigns gives you a lot to play with, especially during setup.  Upon first login, you’re greeted with an enormous dashboard and no good place to start.  What’s to do?

Well, that all depends.  In order to know what exactly to do with setting up Campaigns, you (or your consultant, in this case) will want to take a step back and consider some questions:

  1. What is your marketing objective by using Zoho Campaigns?
  2. How frequently do you want to email your prospects?
  3. What metrics do you use to measure marketing success?

The reason for asking these questions is simple.  Anyone can set up Zoho Campaigns so it works correctly.  But, whether or not the system is set up for your business’s needs is something else entirely.  Your answers to those questions will help your consultant set up Zoho Campaigns for you.

Diving a little deeper…

Let’s explore these questions in a little more depth.

  1. What is your marketing objective by using Zoho Campaigns?  
    • Believe it or not, your answer matters here.  For example, your app will need a different configuration for garnering new leads (outbound marketing) than it will for contacting lists of customers or prospects who already know you (inbound marketing).  You’ll use different aspects of Campaigns, either way. And, your answer will inform what kinds of information you’ll need synced to Zoho CRM.
  2. How frequently do you want to email your prospects or customers?
    • Zoho’s pricing model varies depending on the number of emails you’d like to send per month – or, the number of contacts you’d like to be able to send emails to.  For emailing large numbers of contacts, you may want to set up segments for your mailing lists. And, to protect against spam reports for very large lists, you may want to vary your sender name or even your email domain in some cases.  This ultimately protects your domain and your brand so you can use Zoho Campaigns without worrying about a blacklist every time you hit Send.
  3. What metrics do you use to measure marketing success?

zoho campaigns consultant

    • The stats you want to track to measure your own success will dictate how you set up your Campaigns.  For example, maybe you measure success in the number of signups you get for a service, or maybe you’re only tracking email opens – or, maybe you want your email marketing to lead your prospects down the entire sales funnel.  Of course, you’ll modify the content you create based on these goals too.  But, your Zoho Campaigns consultant will recommend a slightly different setup depending on your goals.

By coordinating with a Zoho Campaigns expert, you can make sure your marketing app will be set up according to the answers to these questions, and more.  Proper training would of course cover the whole spectrum of the app, but that too would be tailored to your needs somewhat to avoid confusion.

Let’s reframe: What happens without a Zoho Campaigns Consultant?

A number of things can happen.  From best to worst:

  1. Campaigns won’t be set up according to your needs.  So, even if it’s somewhat effective for boosting business, you may have untold room for improvement.
  2. Your staff will find the software too difficult to use due to improper training – or lack thereof entirely.
  3. Your marketing efforts might even confuse your customers because they misunderstand the software’s purpose, and you could actually lose business.

Don’t fall victim to improper Zoho usage!  Your success is imminent.

zoho campaigns consultant

Good email marketing can mean the difference between a flat year or a banner year for your business.  And, you have the power to decide how it all goes.

If you’re like most people involved in a business, you don’t have time for another set of responsibilities, or at the very least you’d like having some work taken off your plate.

Don’t stand for figuring out another piece of marketing software on your own.  Contact us today to get an assessment at ZBrains and begin your journey with a guide.

Zoho Commission Calculator Webinar – Thursday, June 6th!

Stop wasting time with calculations – Start paying your employees easily

Our in-depth webinar on the Zoho commission app shows you just what you can do

commission calculator webinar

It’s a shame that after all the hard work you can do in building and improving different facets of your business – whether through optimizing sales processes, increasing efficiency in operations or fulfillment, or making sure you retain the clients you worked so hard to earn – employee payments tend to be one of the most overlooked, and most inefficient parts of a company.  Of course, everyone you employ gets paid.  Maybe you even get everyone paid on time, every time.  But, how much time do you spent calculating payments or doing manual work to prepare payments so you can be on time?

If you have a complicated commission structure, chances are you spend a lot of time doing just that.  Maybe you even have someone who works full-time doing that for you!

Now, we aren’t in the business of putting people out of work, but we do like to help people better their businesses, and that includes making processes more efficient – including commission calculation. To that end, we’ve developed commission calculation software on Zoho Creator that helps do just that.

We’ll be demoing the commission calculator and going through all its various features during a Live Commission Calculator Webinar on June 6th at 10 AM PDT.  

What’s so hot about this particular commission calculator webinar?

Aside from the fact that we built this app on Zoho Creator (so it integrates with Zoho CRM and other programs), this commission app is part of a software suite called FieldTech.  FieldTech is a software bundle built on Zoho that improves the functionality of Zoho, especially for service, construction, and manufacturing/distribution companies.  You don’t have to use all of FieldTech to use this commission calculator.  But, if you need to, the option is there – and we consider it a great “gateway” to the FieldTech suite, for those looking to refresh and optimize their business software suite.

Some features we’ll be going over in the webinar:

  • Calculating commission based on a fixed amount, revenue amount, or profit margin
  • Spiffs and incentives
  • Splitting commission between multiple reps or teams
  • Commission overrides
  • Commission approvals
  • Clawbacks or credits for refunds
  • Sales rep portal for up-to-the-minute commission totals
  • Emailed commission statements
  • Integration with Zoho CRM
  • Integration with Zoho Finance

commission calculator webinar

Stay right there for the Q&A session after the walkthrough!

After we show the features of the commission calculator, we’ll be answering any questions you have about the app.  Stay tuned in so you can ask us questions about the app, as well as listen to others ask questions of their own.

Thank you for stopping by this post.