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Category : Certified Zoho Consultants

Is Zoho CRM working for you?

What you should know about CRM Adoption

Is Your CRM Working for YOU?

Here’s what you should know about CRM adoption, to ensure that you are maximizing this tool. 

[caption id="attachment_5440" align="alignleft" width="400"]Planning A CRM Project It’s not uncommon to spend months planning a CRM implementation project. If you’re already down that road make sure the CRM adoption rate is high, this survey can help![/caption]

It can be difficult, overwhelming, and time consuming for users to learn a new CRM system, and sometimes that’s even after training. Most organizations spend months or longer researching and planning to bring on a new CRM or software. Then they begin to ramp up, perform initial training, and finally send their users out into ‘the wild.’ Your hope is everyone in your organization will be wildly successful with this new tool, and business operations will be better than ever!

With highly proficient teams, this shouldn’t be a concern, but we all know that every team is not highly proficient.  

In the real world where capabilities across teams vary, it is inevitable that different users will use the new systems in different ways – and to varying degrees of success. 

Some members of your team will not take to the new CRM at all!

This is low user adoption.

You might think, “well, that’s their problem if they don’t use the tools provided to make their work easier. We gave them training!” But trust us, we know you’ve probably made a decent investment in time and resources to implement this tool. You deserve to get the most out of it. You likely had the intention of equally balancing the goals of making your staff the best they can be, AND giving yourself and business operators the essential insights based on CRM data. 

But perhaps your CRM  just hasn’t taken hold.

If you suspect this might be the case in your organization, it’s time to take a closer look.

What is User Adoption?

[caption id="attachment_5441" align="alignright" width="400"]CRM Users Adoption What is CRM Adoption? A high level of CRM user adoption means that users are successful in their goals by using a software product. [/caption]

This is really straightforward, so we’ll share it quickly. 

User adoption is the process of ensuring that a system user can be successful in their goals by using a software product. 

In this case, we’re talking about how successful your teams are in being able to attain their objectives using your current CRM. This includes how quickly it becomes a routine tool, and how much users like it and want to keep utilizing it.

Consider your teams across Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Leadership when observing for user adoption.

Then consider if all teams used the tool to its full potential, and fully adopted the CRM.

What does great user adoption look like? With that data at hand, you have the power to create accurate dashboards and better forecasts, and you can empower your businesses’ leaders with the information they need to grow and make their teams successful. Win – Win!

 

Using Your CRM to its Full Potential

Curious if your CRM users on the teams we mentioned above are in a murky area of user adoption? You can make sure you’re getting the most of your CRM investment with this quick CRM User Adoption Checklist – it’s just 20 questions!

Take a look and get the info you need in order to assess whether or not it’s time to take action and realign around your CRM.

Is there potential for your CRM to work better for your organization? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.

 

Take the CRM Adoption Survey

 

Zoho Sandboxes Webinar

Zoho Sandboxes in 10 Minutes or Less

In this quick webinar, ZBrains Founder, James Converse shares how sandboxes work, how to avoid common pitfalls, and briefly reviews how to set up Zoho sandboxes.

  • First, we’ll show you how to set up a sandbox test environment in Zoho CRM.
  • You’ll learn which functionalities from production exist in the sandbox environment, and which don’t at this time. 
  • We show you some methods for populating your sandbox with sample data, or your own data.
  • At the end, you’ll see how to ship all your sandbox customizations back to production after testing.

It’s important to know that not every Zoho application has sandboxes, so we’re discussing Zoho CRM and Zoho Creator here. 

Register now for this on-demand webinar and feel free to leave any questions in the comments or contact us if we can help you with your Zoho sandbox and test environment setup!

 

Register for the Webinar

 

 

Zoho August 2021

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | September 2021

Welcome back again to your Zoho Updates September 2021. In the past month, we’ve seen a number of improvements across Zoho Books and Zoho CRM. In this digest you’ll find time saving new features, how CRM is making user experiences even more customizable, and how Zoho Desk is making the ability to relate contacts to multiple accounts simpler!

Keep reading for details about What’s New, Zoho Updates September 2021. 

New Features & Improvements from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • New feature in CRM allows you to assign the record owner through a Workflow. You may now define conditions in Workflows, and the owner will be assigned when the condition is met. Zoho says, “Records can be assigned to users, roles, users who create or modify records, or to those mentioned in the Assignment rule criteria.” Additionally, “owner assignment will be triggered ONLY from the first workflow rule that it matches. For the subsequent workflows, all other actions except owner assignment will be executed.”

  • Adding Users to Zoho CRM just got easier with the ability to import up to 1000 users at a time. Admin profiles and those with Manage User permissions can now import users into their organizations account using .xls, .xlsx, or .csv file types. Learn more from Zoho’s help article on this topic.

  • Webform Analytics in CRM has new metrics and charts available. Metrics for time spent on fields, field correction rate, drop rate, and the order that fields are filled can be put to use in your analytics. You now also have access to device source for form submissions. Individual form analytics now display average time spend and the abandon rate in submissions. Having this information available helps in analyzing your form success rates and adjusting forms for better engagement.

  • Expanded capabilities including Subform Fields now exists when you map dependency. Previously only fields from the layout were available to be mapped.

  • Zoho introduced their new CRM designer called Canvas, calling it “the industry’s first CRM design studio. “This no-code, drag-and-drop design studio is built into Zoho CRM and allows users to create contextual, immersive experiences for their teams.” Learn more about it from Zoho.

  • Email status updates make filters more straightforward so finding who responded to your messages possible. The Latest Email Status filter now includes “Responded” as an option. Use this and “Opened and Not responded” to segment your contacts for better communication messaging, for example positioning follow ups.

  • If you have questions or need help setting up any of these, ZBrains Support is here for you!

Zoho Desk

  • Have you ever needed to associate a contact with multiple accounts? Now you can select to enable this Accounts feature in Zoho Desk, and select to relate a single contact to multiple accounts. You can learn more here.

Zoho Books

  • Custom Reports in Books gives you the capability now to save your customizations. Find them instantly and use them again and again. There’s increased flexibility around user control, for example, who can view, export, or schedule custom reports.

  • New from Zoho Books, “Once you reconcile an account, you can now print the reconciliation details as well. You can print the the transaction details, transaction type, deposits and withdrawals.

  • Increased capabilities to select the customer advance accounts for tracking and recording excess payment, and configure the default account for tracking excess payments.

ZOHO UPDATESApplication Updates from Zoho

Zoho Desk

  • The Community module in Zoho Desk has three updates this past month including:
      • Assigning category visibility to “agents only.” This makes topics in these categories internal and visible to agents only.
      • New key category metrics are now available including: # of forums, @ of topics and comments received, % of topics created under each topic type, and more.
      • Increased functionality around controlling the ability to choose who can post and reply to topics in a category.

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • Creator rolled out a set of minor fixes product-wide including: bugs related to adding and deleting fields in forms, issue with record detail view in blueprint, a minor issue in file preview, and several additional minor issues.

 

Have a question we didn’t answer here?  If you have questions or would like to connect with one of our consultants, schedule below. We’re also available by phone, just call our offices at (888) 207-4111.

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

Zoho Updates from ZBrains

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | August 2021

This month, we saw just a handful of new features and improvements in our Zoho Updates August 2021. These are primarily for Zoho CRM and Books, and there were a few bug fixes in Creator. We think you might be interested in the update regarding Zoho CRM attachments, and its integration with tools like Google Drive and OneDrive.  Additionally, if you’re a Books user, hopefully you’ve seen the addition of in-app messaging from Cliq.

Get all the details for What’s New, Zoho Updates August 2021. 

New Features & Improvements from Zoho

Zoho CRM

Zoho Books

  • Zoho Cliq chat bar is now available in Books. Enjoy even more seamless communication with your colleagues in the app you’re using, without having to switch tabs.
  • You can now set tax preferences for your vendors and customers in Books. “A major update in the customers and vendors module is the ability to assign tax rates. You can assign these tax rates while creating or editing existing customers or vendors. So, the next time you create a transaction for them, the tax rate will be automatically applied to your line items.
  • Books improvement lets you create and associate budgets to individual branches or regions of your organization. To associate budgets to your branches: Go to Accountant > Budgets > New Budget > Select a branch. If you have questions or need help setting up this function, ZBrains Support is here for you!

 

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • The Creator team shared many bug fixes this past month ranging from “minor bug fixes related to pivot chart and table sync issues,” to transition and highlight issues in Blueprint.
  • Another change in place for the maximum length of decimal fields. The field type used for decimal, percent and currency will now max at 16, versus 19 digits in Zoho Creator. Technical limitations are the reason for this updated, and once the change is in place, values longer than 16 digits will be rounded off.
  • Previously, Count as a Percentage or Fraction in Creator pages would not display as anticipated when a record was empty. A recent bug fix resolves this issue.
  • Finally there were minor bug fixes performed, related to subform workflows and pivot reports.

 

General Zoho Ecosystem Updates

In case you missed it during prior months: Important information from Zoho regarding price changes can be found here. If you have questions about this change or wish to schedule a consultation to discuss, please contact us using the form at the end of this article.

Have a question we didn’t answer here?  If you have questions or would like to connect with one of our consultants, schedule below. We’re also available by phone, just call our offices at (888) 207-4111.

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

Zoho Administrator Outsourcing

Should You Be Outsourcing Your Zoho Administrator?

How to Find the Right Zoho Partner for Outsourcing Administrative Work

Should you be outsourcing your Zoho administrator duties? The pros and cons of outsourcing have been discussed for years, some of the benefits being you don’t have to hire, onboard, or train; you get the advantages of a larger pool of knowledge; and you can potentially save in terms of labor costs paying only for the time you’re truly using. We would also add that in the case of highly specialized tasks, your organization benefits by being able to keep its focus on the things it does best – without having to ensure that internal resources have proper training, sufficient time, and the desire to take on new and different responsibilities. 

The cons of outsourcing can include losing some control, or that needs may get lost in translation. Although, more often than not, the benefits of outsourcing the tasks involved with Zoho administration far outweigh them. Let’s talk about it a little more so you can see if it’s the right move for your business.

What is outsourcing in Zoho administration?

[caption id="attachment_5260" align="alignright" width="400"]Zoho Administrator Help ZBrains has helped clients like you build a strategy for digital transformation and growth with Zoho since 2012.[/caption]

In this case, outsourcing is the practice in which designated company tasks or functions are given to service providers outside of your company. This support is provided to your company by an external resource instead of an internal one. Some tasks handled by a Zoho administrator can include:

  1. Assisting with best practices and implementations for user credentials and permissions.
  2. Ensuring that application updates are timely, and testing them to ensure that all integrations work as required prior to roll out.
  3. Responding to incidents as reported, and helping you with remediation.
  4. Helping to identify and notify you of opportunities to improve, enhance, or get more out of your system.
  5. And of course, many other tasks as they arise. Just ask!

 

We know as well as anyone that Zoho is definitely simple to pick up and use. But  customizing it to your needs, and correctly integrating and maintaining systems can be confusing for the uninitiated!

 

The Benefits of Combining Zoho and Administrative Outsourcing

We scratched the surface of this just a bit in the intro, but diving a little deeper, you have a lot of opportunities to benefit from outsourcing Zoho system admin work. Here are the three areas we think are most notable.

 

1. You Get a Better Return on Your Zoho Investment

For starters, we know that no business tools, especially systems for your CRM, Accounting, or other specialized applications were easy to implement. We see it very often – businesses have a lot of excitement up front about their new systems, but lose momentum due to lack of expertise. They begin missing out on the many additional features of Zoho that could help them optimize their businesses!

If you’re like most of our clients, the investment in time, resource training, and ongoing maintenance of your systems is not insignificant. However, are the resources in your organization who handle system administration the most qualified? And are you losing any time or efficiency each week simply by having the wrong person in the seat? 

Outsourcing your Zoho administrator duties can help enhance the return on your Zoho investment, and can even help lower your labor costs. Consider the economies of scale you could impact once you have assigned those tasks to the resource who’s best equipped to make your Zoho system thrive.

 

2. Expert Insight Can Lead to Innovation

It goes without saying that you are the expert in your business. From the products or services you provide, to the processes you use to deliver those to happy clients, you have spent the time learning and understanding what sets you apart. These are the factors making you successful!

Now consider what benefit could be derived from being able to tap into another knowledge base, particularly, a knowledge base with expertise in the Zoho systems you rely on day-to-day. Without having to add to your org’s headcount, you can bring in top-level talent and expertise to help you streamline automations, increase process efficiencies with workflows, templates, and even deeper software integrations. Letting an expert help you admin your Zoho systems means you benefit from another set of adept eyes.

 

3. You Have One Less Thing to Manage

[caption id="attachment_5258" align="alignright" width="400"]Zoho Admin Help With help from a designated Zoho admin you can focus on your core competencies, and avoid the distractions and unanticipated “emergencies” of system maintenance.[/caption]

Hiring a trusted partner to keep an eye on the often out of sight, yet routine, necessities that allow your systems to operate seamlessly, means a ton of management time is freed up! Now you can focus on your core competencies, and avoid the distractions and unanticipated “emergencies” of system maintenance that an outsourced Zoho administrator can ensure is always on track. 

For example, how many times have you missed software notices about integration updates that set your business behind by a few hours, or even a day or more just because a simple function needs attention?  You’ll always be on top of it – mitigating those risks of lost time and productivity – when these tasks are a priority for your administrative partner in Zoho. 

Speaking of agreements, you can also increase the speed and quality of work for outsourced activities. This flexibility is another, sometimes overlooked aspect of a service agreement for administrative oversight. This relates back to having a partner with experience that may be lacking in-house. The right partner will ensure that planning is up to date. They will help you focus your strategy. And  can ensure you get the services or help you need, as you need it. 

 

How to Find the Right Zoho Partner for Outsourcing Administrative Work

Establish Your Goals & Needs

The very first step in finding the right Zoho admin partner is to detail the needs you have to be outsourced. This includes documenting Zoho processes, product ownership, and maintenance services you require, and how frequently you believe these items require attention. Evaluate with your internal teams and establish agreements before beginning discussions or negotiations with any potential providers. 

 

Evaluate Potential Zoho Partner Credentials

When you do begin discussions with Zoho Consultants or partners, be sure to find answers to the following:

[caption id="attachment_5259" align="alignright" width="400"]Zoho Admin Needs Start your search for a Zoho Admin by detailing all of the needs you have to be outsourced.[/caption]
  • Do they cover the applications you use, 
  • Do they have working knowledge of any integrations currently in place,
  • What sort of plans do they offer (hourly or monthly service options),
  • Where are they located, and where are the people performing the work located,
  • And what experience do they have helping others like you in your industry?

 

These questions will naturally open conversations to more detail. This will allow you to gauge whether or not a partner will be able to assist with the needs and goals you outlined.

 

Selecting the Right Zoho Admin Plan

Consider again the goals and needs you established up front. This will help you select the right Zoho administrator plan. Depending on the size of your business, and the internal depth of expertise in Zoho, you may require  weekly, monthly,  or quarterly assistance. You absolutely have the option to bake that sort of maintenance into your Zoho system administrator requirements agreement or scope of work with the right partner. And if you’re looking for something a little more flexible, some organizations may allow for an hourly flex plan, and/or monthly retainer. 

 

Finding a Zoho Admin Partner at ZBrains

[caption id="attachment_5261" align="alignright" width="400"]ZBrains Zoho Administrators Achieve more with help administrating your Zoho system from a Zoho Certified partner like ZBrains.[/caption]

If you’re here, you may be considering ZBrains as a partner for your Zoho system administrator needs. You’ll find answers to most questions here on our site. However, we believe it’s important to connect in person with every client from the start. This ensures we get the most information from you, and have a greater understanding of your needs and goals. So feel free to contact us any time. 

  • ZBrains can help you with Zoho administration – whether your team is 5 or 500 users. If you’re just getting started with Zoho, or you recognize it’s time to take its capabilities to the next level. We have helped clients like you build a strategy for digital transformation and growth with Zoho.
  • We have proprietary integrations for Quickbooks and even built a field services and manufacturing ERP called FieldTech. 
  • Our teams offer both hourly flex support and a monthly retainer for support services, so you can get the coverage you need.
  • All of our talent is US-based, and we’re a Zoho Certified Partner who have been working in this space since 2012.
  • ZBrains works with many types of businesses, but we focus primarily on industries such as manufacturing/distribution, construction and field services, and those working in technology or SaaS organizations

 

Ready to discuss Zoho Admin Support with ZBrains? Get in touch today!

Connect with Us

 

july 2021 updates from zbrains

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | July 2021

Welcome to Q3, and your Zoho Updates for July 2021! With the first half of the year at a close, we are sharing just a few notable updates this past month from Zoho including on-premise Zoho Creator options, Microsoft-BI Integration, and multi-org sign in for CRM.

Get all the details for What’s New, Zoho Updates July 2021. 

General Zoho Ecosystem Updates

In case you missed it last month: Important information from Zoho regarding price changes can be found here. If you have questions about this change or wish to schedule a consultation to discuss, please contact us using the form at the end of this article.

New Features & Improvements from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • Good news for multi-org Zoho CRM users! “Zoho CRM allows users to access multiple organizational (CRM) accounts using the same email address. This is especially useful for organizations who maintain different CRM accounts to manage their business, such as a franchisee or a subsidiary.”
  • A CRM improvement now searches for similar records using unique fields, plus system-defined fields in the Leads module when converting Leads to Contacts and Accounts. Then, based on whether a value is available or not available for these fields the system will either ask to create a new record or merge with existing record.
  • You can now copy Campaign Member status from from CRM account to another while copying customizations.
  • Introducing Zia Reasoning in Assignment Rules! Zia now determines a pattern from your existing data to automatically assign the most appropriate owner for a record. Of course, admins can disable or enable the contributing fields to enhance Zia’s owner suggestion skills, too.

 

Zoho Creator

  • Creator Reports embedded in the Pages component have been enhanced. They will not appear as a larger window in Pages, and helps standardize the appearance of the detail view when embedded. Additionally, the user interface is improved, and several minor bug fixes were rolled out with this set.
  • Notable announcement from the Creator team says thatZoho Creator On-Premise was launched recently to help businesses host their apps on their own servers.”  If you’re interested in this solution, please don’t hesitate to let us know, we’d be glad to help you determine with On-Premise is a fit for your organization.
  • Microsoft Power BI desktop app connection is now available in Creator. It “brings together multiple software services, apps, and connectors to convert data from different sources into a collective, meaningful combination of information to obtain visually insightful data.” 
  • Good news for app creators! After several months in the works, Creator’s V2 upgrade is now in place, and brings Improvements including improved security, better error handling, improved performance compared to V1, and more. 
  • With this new enhancement, you can import data from a live app and update existing records while importing. This includes the addition of “Smart Suggestions” to provide intuitive recommendations while importing data.

 

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • Creator bug fixes addressed this month include those that address: downloading page as PDF, visibility permission in subform field, editor popup in notes field, and localization in rich text field.
  • Creator Android app Version 6.4.8 subform fix addresses issues with dropdown field and OCR field in subform.

 

Have a question we didn’t answer here?  If you have questions or would like to connect with one of our consultants, schedule below. We’re also available by phone, just call our offices at (888) 207-4111.

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

Zoho Implementations for Tech and SaaS

SaaS & Tech Companies: Zoho Implementation Works for You!

As one of the largest SaaS companies in the world, we like to think that Zoho knows a thing or two about making software systems for this segment. If you’re in the market for a new system, or starting your research here, this article will help you understand the capabilities of Zoho for SaaS and tech companies. And we’ll share details about what it’s like to work with ZBrains on your Zoho implementation.

This is your bread and butter, so you know that the details – KPI’s, clean data, and seamless integration – are paramount for most businesses, but are especially important for Tech & SaaS. 

[caption id="attachment_5119" align="alignright" width="450"]Zoho Implementations for SaaS Zoho is one of the world’s largest SaaS companies, and serves over 60 million users worldwide with their solutions.[/caption]

Before we get into it, ask yourself: What would your business look like if you could integrate your solutions for managing subscriptions, keeping an active CRM, giving internal and external customers an easy to use service ticket system, and being able to keep your accounting accurate and streamlined in order to maximize customer retention?

You need to keep a pulse 24/7 on all the numbers to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction. This is where the power of Zoho implementation and its integrations become very apparent. 

Are you already using several applications to keep your operations in line?  If you’re considering a new implementation, or improving what you’ve got with greater integration, having the right system and partners in place can make a world of difference. Here’s our advice and insight on the process needed to make it happen.

Begin by Evaluating Your Inputs

A single source of truth is invaluable, so maybe it’s time to stop using siloed data, and multiple systems that don’t quite ‘talk to each other.’ Believe it or not, you can get a true picture of profitability, costs, and almost any other meaningful KPI with the help of a well-appointed Zoho implementation.

You know what data is needed, so let ZBrains assist in getting you up and running in a system that brings everything together. The ZBrains process is key to ensuring your success, and we’ve spent every year since 2012 steadily improving our business as Zoho Certified Consultants. This process is the heart of what keeps us – and you after implementation – running smoothly.  Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of integrated software, including subscription billing, CRM, service tickets, and the other applications from Zoho to keep your Tech or SaaS business running effortlessly.

 

Why should you consider a Zoho Implementation?

In a SaaS or tech company, like almost any other business, an  software is meant to help maintain operations, make them run smoothly, and provide visibility to your most important metrics. When you have organizational efficiency and combine it with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of an integrated software is recognized.

We like to ask clients this question: “How would your business change if you were able to keep subscriptions, product data, and financial data in the same system? What about the ability to centralize your operations including everything from insight into customers, quotes, sales orders and invoices, to product inventory, work orders and process automation?”

Your business, and oftentimes your clients, will require you to have easy access to this information. Without it, your customer service suffers, user experience can be a miss, and  inevitably your subscriptions dwindle and profits suffer.  Are you sure that all of your KPI’s are accounted for and are you able to measure them and benefit from the results of knowing what’s working and what’s not? Software is the key to organizing processes, people, and data you need to make sure you can.

Business Process Management On a New Level

Take a moment and imagine having a system in place that can offer you:

“a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results” that are aligned with your strategic goals. 

When you are finally able to align consistency with your business goals, every little step in that direction adds up, and gets you one step closer to success. Does this idea intrigue and energize you? If so, keep reading. 

 

Can good business processes really solve problems?

How do the aspects of the definition above apply to common activities you do in your business like: quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, scheduling, invoice and expense tracking, customer service, and subscriptions management? Do you currently have a way to achieve each of these points?

  • Is the process simple to see data and share between teams and/or departments? Or is the data siloed?
  • Does it take more than one hand to count how many software systems you’re using?
  • Are your associates able to seamlessly handoff projects from one department or process to another?
  • Does information get lost in the shuffle or is never considered at a global level?
  • Can you see which associates are working, where they are, and how effective they are in a given project? 
  • Is your subscription management process automated, including dunning management?

You’ve come to the right place if implementing solutions for any of these problems feels like a good next step for your business. You can achieve streamlined operations and processes with Zoho, but first let’s discuss some benefits of standardized processes.

 

6 Ways Standardized Processes Help Tech or SaaS Organizations

Which of these points could benefit your business the most? 

1) Increase Your Productivity 

Imagine a solution that could give you access to your service team status and location immediately, or that would allow you to create a quote faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry? And document handling was all digital? What if you could automate some of your routines? How could this affect your productivity factor?

2) Quality Control & Customer Experience

[caption id="attachment_5120" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho Customer Management Zoho’s subscription lifecycle management tools include features that can improve customer experience, helping you retain more subscribers than ever.[/caption]

When reviewing your NPS or customer feedback, does it say that some customer experiences are perfect while others fall short? Standardization makes your business, project planning, and deliverables executions more straightforward. This data also means you can streamline the training/onboarding process. Subscription lifecycle management features an also improve customer experience including:

    • Recurring payments and accounting features that ensure payments come on time and can facilitate payments through multiple methods.
    • Subscription metrics & reports help you stay up to date on your subscription business metrics and provide comprehensive reports
    • Even subscription automation that allows you to automate billing and subscription related tasks with the help of workflow rules and webhooks.

3) Bring Teams & Customers Together with Easier Collaboration

A well-provisioned system allows for more meaningful collaboration across teams because it helps to remove siloed information. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily. Additionally, a good solution for your organization could include a customer portal where they can view invoices, make payments, or connect with an agent via a ticketing system to solve technical issues or request work.

4) Reduce Operational Costs

This can take many forms from being able to accurately quote and job cost, to giving clients self-serve options and giving your employees the tools needed to easily track time and materials in order to avoid overages or oversights. We’re just scratching the surface of how effective software helps reduce costs. Now imagine a system that can offer recurring billing and invoicing, and even dunning management to deal with payment failures and declines. The system can automatically initiate a recovery process which will save time in your financial department and reduce churn rate!

5) Give Yourself More Time for Innovation & Beat the Competition

Combining your entrepreneurial business instinct with the data an integrated system like Zoho One can capture is almost like a superpower. Put experience to work, plan and implement your innovations, and then use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. With the power of data behind you, you are able to make accurate and incremental changes often and quickly. When you continually add automation to the mix, you’ll be giving yourself more time for innovation. Using the time you’ve saved to innovate, you’ll  be well on the way to being able to beat your competition.

How much time do you spend wrangling data? Checking multiple sources, and rechecking? What time is lost chasing invoices, customer data, and subscription information? When you are spending less time searching for data, managing individuals, and chasing processes, you can spend more time working in your business. With this gain in time you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition! 

6) A Single Source of Truth to Rule Them All 

After points one through five, you can easily recognize how standardized processes can improve business operations beyond the basics. Zoho can help you bring your data to one ecosystem, and provide you with a single source of truth. Imagine a single sign-on that lets you access Zoho apps to operate every department, and gives peace of mind with security protocols that more than 60 million users rely on every day at work.

Have the scenarios we’ve shared about how Zoho can help your Tech or SaaS business been resonating with you? If so, you’re likely a serious candidate for implementing Zoho. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

What’s the ZBrains Business Process Analysis?  And how does it impact my Zoho implementation?

Every new engagement with ZBrains begins with a Business Process Analysis or BPA. Using what we know about all of the reasoning we shared above, we’ve developed a process that applies the same principles to our assessments. This is what is looks like:

Starting a BPA with ZBrains

The business process analysis is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects and Zoho implementations. As with any planning effort, it ensures a successful project plan is in place that fits with your business processes. We always start by getting to know you and your business.The best way we can solve your business problems is to first completely understand your current state.

Here’s what we do:

  • First we analyze expectations and identify any existing performance gaps in your business processes. 
  • Next, we examine your business from a wider industry perspective. What makes you the same and differentiates your business from others?
  • Then, ZBrains Certified Zoho consultants evaluate opportunities for improvement. 
  • Lastly, we decide which methods need to be introduced to positively impact the business.

We start by meeting with your team to thoroughly discuss and review your processes. This means taking time with sales, marketing, accounting, customer service, finance, and your operations teams to ensure every requirement is captured, and that we fully understand your existing systems. We’ll identify the best way to consolidate your operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub.

After the BPA is finished, you receive expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations from our team that are needed to meet your goals. We share a project timeline, deliverables, and an outline of targets so that you’ll always know project status. The strategy you receive can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

How we work with Technology and SaaS Businesses

Zoho and ZBrains are both in this industry, and because of it we believe we’re uniquely positioned to offer our expertise here. And ZBrains specializes in small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

Most often, we work with a champion from your company, normally a President, VP, or another C-level representative. We’ll talk about your executive dashboards, and business analysis tools, areas for improvement, and overall company goals with a new Zoho system.

Also, we ask to include members from teams across your organization in the intake sessions. This means representatives from all teams who will be using the software. We like to include SME’s from your Sales, Estimating, Marketing teams, Customer Service teams, and other Service or Resource Management representatives, and of course, Finance. This ensures that we get a global perspective of the business in our  intake, and we find that it encourages greater user adoption later on!

 

What information does ZBrains gather during a BPA?

During our sessions with each of your various team representatives, ZBrains will collect detailed information about their daily/weekly/monthly processes. We’ll see what’s working for them, what isn’t, and what improvements are needed. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

[caption id="attachment_5121" align="alignright" width="450"]ZBrains assessment Process for Tech Businesses ZBrains collects detailed information about all your business processes. We’ll see what’s working, what isn’t, and what improvements are needed.[/caption]

Sales and Estimating

We’ll review and discuss all points of your sales process. Then, we look at if and how your quotes or estimates are created and shared with clients. What other documents are required and will they be managed digitally? We’ll dive into how new leads are addressed, and how is existing business managed? How do you measure success – what are your critical Sales KPI’s?

Finance & Subscription Management

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to generate executive reports. We’ll also dive into how you’re managing subscriptions, reporting on churn, and ensuring that payments are received. What information are you capturing from usage stats in order to segment and serve (or market to) your clients?

Customer Service & Support Teams

Keeping any hard-earned client happy is almost always less expensive than onboarding a new lead. For this reason, we’ll look at all of your CRM data and service ticket processes for service requests, including options like live chat for support. Do your current systems integrate? Do you want them to? We’ll also discuss document requirements.

Project Management Teams

What are your current project management tools? Who is using them? Are you taking advantage of features such as: task automation, team collaboration, issue  & time tracking, and mobile project management options?

Production & Installation

Are you a SaaS or Tech business that also sells product, like an IaaS or IOT as a Service org? If so, how do you procure goods? Are you purchasing parts or equipment? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders, and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, and on-site maintenance, to name a few. 

Additionally, how are your installation teams scheduled and dispatched? Are factors like crew size, availability, proximity, or skill set taken into consideration?  How is time tracking addressed? Are your production or field/on-site service teams tracking their own inventory, and assets? What about work orders, scheduling, and routing?

Inventory Management

If you are stocking products, we go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components? Are you ordering the same components from multiple vendors depending on lead time, price, and other factors?  Do you need to track reorder levels for items you keep in stock?

Other Zoho Integrations

Finally, we’ll look at your current integrations to determine compatibility with Zoho. We can also help identify any new integrations that might benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by Tech and SaaS organizations include:

    • ShipStation,
    • TaxJar,
    • Avalara,
    • QuickBooks (Online and Desktop),
    • Xero,
    • Ecommerce solutions like Shopify or Magento,
    • SMS solutions like Twilio,
    • And many, many, others.

 

Considerations for Budgeting and Timeline for Zoho Implementation

As we mentioned earlier, Zoho is uniquely positioned for the SMB. For example, Zoho One includes more than 40 integrated applications in a single ecosystem. You’ll be hard pressed to find a solution that isn’t included, and when you can’t or you have a preferred tool, you can almost always integrate. 

A major software implementation for a large business can be as high as six-figures to implement, plus another five figures for the service costs. These incredibly robust enterprise tools are really powerful, but for a small or medium business like yours, they’re oftentimes out of reach. You shouldn’t dismiss the functionality just because the big names are cost prohibitive. Upon inspecting more closely, we think you’ll see that these big-name-solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill. This is another reason how a BPA can help any small or medium sized business identify the actual tools they will need and utilize.

Incase you need more talking points: Why Zoho is a Solid Choice

  • You deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business! 
  • More often than not, Zoho is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership than competing solutions.
  • Zoho applications are built to suit your business, and customization is possible using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator.
  • Zoho is accessible. Built and designed with the SMB in mind, and you don’t need a dev at every turn. Simply add custom fields or new reports. Customize dashboards. Drag and drop functions make it easy to do this work in house, without sacrificing enterprise functionality. 

As a fellow in our industry, you probably already know how common it is for technology implementations to end in low user adoption. They can be too complicated and cumbersome for users and they become bogged down. Sometimes the new apps are placed, but don’t fit into the workflow. However, when you take the time to address the business needs, then build your system to solve for nuances of your business – and you get insight users in every department – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. As you can imagine, with so many variables, the budget and timeline for your Zoho implementation will not be exactly like any other. (However, you can get a price range using our instant quote tool.)

Thanks for reading through, and learning about the ZBrains process. We hope it’s been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help you get started with your implementation or new integration – just get in touch!

 

Connect with Us

 

implementing field services ERP

Implementing ERP Software That Works For Field Services & Construction

Are you researching FieldTech, Salesforce Field Service, Service Titan, or Oracle as an option for field services software? Whether you’re just beginning research about scheduling software, or looking for a change, this article’s for you.

It’s no secret that in large part the success of your contracting business is based on accuracy, from bidding and job costing, to capacity planning and reporting.

For both for Field Services and Construction, it’s essential to have a handle on all the numbers to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction. If you don’t already use an ERP software to keep your operations in line, or it’s a slice of business you’re looking to improve, having the right applications in place can make a world of difference. 

[caption id="attachment_5038" align="alignleft" width="400"]Contractors ERP Software options from Zoho It might be time to let technology help you scale your contracting business for the 21st century. ERP solutions from Zoho might be the answer.[/caption]

Start with the Right Steps

Stop doing back-of-the-napkin estimates that sometimes happen in your business, and start getting a look at the true data you need. Put losses in productivity and profit behind you.

Zoho ERP solutions can be the keystone to simply and successfully capturing the details of your contracting for field services business. And we’ll show you the best ways to utilize data once the Zoho implementation for your teams are in place. We’re going to give you all the details about what it means to work with ZBrains, including our process – the heart of what keeps us and you – running smoothly.  Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of ERP software, including field service scheduling software.

 

What function does a Construction ERP software or Field Services ERP serve?

Fundamentally, an ERP like a field services software is meant to help you ensure operations are running smoothly, but that’s just one aspect. This organizational efficiency coupled with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of ERP software is recognized.

Take a moment for this quick exercise, and ask yourself: “How would my business change if I could sync inventory, order management and financial data? What about the ability to centralize my operations including everything from insight into customers, quotes, sales orders and invoices, to product inventory, work orders and process automation?”

Construction, field services, and contracting in general require precision. Without it, your service quality suffers, workmanship can fail, and  inevitably your customers and profits suffer.  Do you have all of your KPI’s accounted for and are you able to measure them and benefit from the results? ERP software is the key to organizing process, people, and data you need to make sure you can.

Why does Business Process Management matter?

Before you read further, take another moment and imagine having:

“a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results” that are aligned with your strategic goals. 

[caption id="attachment_5037" align="alignright" width="400"]Construction workers review plans ERP software helps your business integrate functions such as quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, and more.[/caption]

This consistency, when aligned with business goals, is how some of the most successful businesses you already know are getting great results. Does this idea intrigue and energize you? If so, keep reading. 

 

Does good business processes actually solve problems?

Consider how the aspects of the definition above applies to common activities you do in your business like: quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, scheduling, invoice and expense tracking, commission tracking, and returns management. Do you currently have a way to achieve each of these points?

  • Can you easily access data and share between teams and/or departments? Or is it siloed?
  • Does it take more than one hand to count how many software systems you’re using?
  • Is the handoff from one department or process to another seamless?
  • Does information get lost in the shuffle or is never considered at a global level?
  • Is is easy to see who’s working, where they are, and how effective they are in a given project? 

You’re on the right path if implementing solutions for any of these problems is making sense for you. There are a lot of ways to achieve streamlined operations and processes, but let’s talk about some of the benefits first.

 

7 Benefits Of Standardized Processes for Field Services or Construction

Which of these 7 benefits could help you improve your business the most? 

1) Increase Productivity 

Imagine a solution that could give you access to your service team status and location immediately, or that would allow you to create a quote faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry? How could this affect your productivity factor?

2) Quality Control

Does your customer feedback say that some of your projects are perfect while others fall short? Standardization makes your business and project planning more straightforward. This includes scheduling, and ensuring you have the correct resources and materials for the job. Additionally, with this data you can streamline the training/onboarding process. 

3) Easier Collaboration

A well-provisioned ERP allows for more meaningful collaboration across teams because it helps to remove siloed information. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily.

4) Reduce Costs

Accurate job costing that’s visible from a centralized dashboard will help you identify areas of material and labor waste that might have previously gone unseen for ages. Employees can easily track time and materials on a a job, giving you direct insight into job and company profitability.  This is just one facet of how an ERP helps reduce costs, now imagine data for equipment tracking, scheduling, inventory, and more all in one place.

5) Innovation & Adaptation

You don’t have to operate your business on gut feeling, but instead rely on instinct PLUS data together! Use your experience to plan your changes, implement them, and then use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. When you have the data in hand, create incremental changes toward improvement! All of this is possible with the right contracting ERP or field services software.

6) Beat the Competition

When you are spending less time searching for data, managing individuals, and chasing processes, and more time working in your business, you actually gain productive time. With more productive time, you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition! 

7) Single Source of Truth 

Speaking to many of the points above, standardized processes help in business operations beyond the basics. In order to scale comfortably, Zoho can help you tie everything together with a single source of truth. Solutions from Zoho take pride in security protocols for their softwares, but this translates to your business overall.

 

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re likely a serious candidate for Zoho’s field services ERP software. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

How does the ZBrains Business Process Analysis work for ERP and  field service scheduling software solutions from Zoho?

Let’s talk about how an engagement with ZBrains begins – with a Business Process Analysis. We take all the reasoning and research described above, and apply the same principles to our own assessments. Here’s what it looks like: 

This is a BPA with ZBrains

The BPA, or business process analysis, is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects. Just like any other planning effort, it ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes. It’s always our goal to begin solving your business problems by first fully understanding your current state.

Here’s what we do:

    • We start  by analyzing expectations and performance gaps in your business processes. 
    • Then, we examine your business from a wider industry perspective. 
    • Next, our consultants evaluate the opportunities for improvement. 
    • Finally, we decide which methods need to be introduced to positively impact the business.

This happens when we meet with your team and thoroughly review processes. It includes sitting with your sales, marketing, operations, and accounting representatives to make sure we understand all requirements and current systems. The goal here is to consolidate your business operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub. 

When the BPA is complete, you receive our expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations needed to meet your goals. You get to see a timeline, the goals, and and outline of targets. You receive a strategy that can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

This is how we work with Field Services, Construction, and other Contractors

A lot of our clients are in these industries, so much so that we built a software called FieldTech just for you and businesses like you! Our work specializes in small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

We often work with a single champion, normally a President, VP, or another C-level representative of the company. We include members from teams across your organization in the intake sessions. Anyone who will be using the ERP software. We include your Sales, Estimating, and Marketing teams, Field Services or Construction Teams, Inventory Management representatives, and Finance. It’s important to include input from the people who will be using the system. The reason is to ensure that we get a global perspective of the business, and we find that this also encourages user adoption later on!

 

What information does ZBrains gather during a BPA?

During our sessions with each department or team representative, we collect a lot of detailed information about their processes. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

Sales and Estimating

We ask about your sales process. Then, we look at how your quotes or estimates are created and shared. How are you handling new leads, and how is existing business addressed? How do you measure success? And finally, what are the important KPI’s here?

Field Teams

How are teams scheduled and dispatched? Do you consider factors like crew size, availability, proximity ,or skill set? How is time tracking addressed? Are field teams tracking their own inventory, and assets? What about work orders, scheduling, and routing? 

Production

How do you procure goods? Are you purchasing or manufacturing parts? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders, and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, batch/lot tracking, and on-site maintenance, to name a few.

Inventory Management

We go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components?  Do you order the same components from multiple vendors depending on lead time, price, and other factors?  Do you need to track reorder levels for items you keep in stock?

Finance

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to  generate executive reports. 

Other Integrations

During consultation, we’ll also ask about your current integrations to determine compatibility and to see if any new integrations could benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by manufacturing and distribution organizations include:

      • ShipStation,
      • TaxJar,
      • Avalara,
      • QuickBooks (Online and Desktop),
      • and Xero for example.

 

Budgeting and Timeline for Field Services and Construction ERP Software Implementation

[caption id="attachment_5039" align="alignright" width="400"]Solar panel installation contractor Major software implementation doesn’t have to be a six-figure proposition. Zoho is is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership than many other solutions.[/caption]

Major software implementation for a large contractor’s business can be as high as a six-figure implementation cost, in addition to another five figures for the service costs. These incredibly robust enterprise tools are really powerful, but for a small or medium business like yours, they’re oftentimes out of reach. Projects like this can be extremely cost prohibitive. The solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill in terms of what a small or medium sized business will need and utilize.

Why Zoho is a Solid Choice

  • You deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business, because you do! For SMB’s like you, Zoho is a great solution. 
  • This solution is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Customization using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator means the applications are built to suit your business.
  • Zoho is accessible. It is built and designed with the SMB in mind. Custom fields and new reports couldn’t be simpler. Drag and drop functions make it easy to use and customize for yourself, all with enterprise functionality. 

In our industry, it’s common to hear that many technology implementations end in low user adoption. Overly complicated and cumbersome software solutions cause users to become bogged down. They don’t fit into the workflow. However, when you build your system to address the nuances of your business – and you consider users from every department in the build – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. For this reason, and many of the points discussed above, your budget and timeline will depend on the complexity of your requirements and depth of need. 

 

This is the long way to say, this is why we utilize the Business Process Analysis. We hope that an in depth look at business process management and field services software or ERP solutions  for contractors like you has been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help – just get in touch!

Connect with Us

Zoho Updates June 2021

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | June 2021

Welcome back to your Zoho Updates June 2021. Lots of action the past month across Zoho applications. In this digest you’ll find information on Zoho’s pricing updates, the application that’s changed its name, and some great new enhancements to CRM and Zoho finance applications.

Keep reading for the What’s New, Zoho Updates June 2021. 

General Zoho Ecosystem Updates

** Important information from Zoho regarding price changes can be found here. If you have questions about this change or wish to schedule a consultation to discuss, please contact us using the form at the end of this article.

About the Zoho changes to MarketingHub: “Effective May 21, 2021, we are renaming Zoho MarketingHub to Zoho Marketing Automation. This change will not affect any features or functionality of the product. You can continue to use the product as you usually do.” Learn more 

New Features from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • Zoho announced the release of SalesIQ 2.0! If you haven’t already seen it, the release features a new user interface, and features for: Codeless bot, Resources, Answer bot, B2B Relationship, Profanity library, and several others. Take a look here.

 

Zoho Books & Inventory

  • Zoho finance including Books and Inventory teams shared a handful of updates this month, most notable is that now you can record payments while creating an invoice.
    • For example, if you received a payment before issuing their invoice, you don’t have to create a draft invoice and record a payment for it later. Simply mark the “I have received the payment” option while creating the invoice, it automatically creates a payment. Invoices are created as a “Paid” status, and the payment for it is created with the “Invoice Date.” This option is available if your user role allows “Customer Payments”, and if Sales Approval is disabled.
    • To enable: Go to Invoices > Create an invoice and select the customer > Scroll down and mark the “I have received the payment” option.
  • They have also added a new template called “Retail-Premium” found in the Retail category in templates. This template accommodates almost all the information that can be included on other templates, and fits it in a compact design between 3 and 4 inches wide.

 

ZOHO UPDATESApplication Updates from Zoho

Zoho CRM 

Zoho CRM updates and improvements this month include the following:

  • You can now use a scheduled action to automatically create a record through a workflow rule. (This was previously an instance action only.)
  • You’ll now find a common holiday list that is applied to all users in an organization. This is called “Business Holidays.”

Zoho Creator

  • This month Zoho Creator team shared, “We have rolled out a set of default character length for form fields. This will help in effectively using the available space. For instance, you might have fields with large values that contain too many characters. These can be substituted with values of fewer characters. This in turn facilitates the form to include more fields. Users will be able to modify the default length for Single Line, Email, Dropdown, and Radio button fields.”
  • Blueprints are now available in Creator. This allows you to replicate your business processes online and enjoy the benefits of streamlining process management. Why is that important? Zoho says it best, “The blueprint enables you to customize every detail of every process you design in your Creator application.”

Zoho Books

  • Advanced Search in Zoho Books introduces filtering options, and now also includes Zia Search so you can search for “any information across different Zoho apps from within Zoho Books.” See all new updates from Books.

 

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

Creator bug fixes recently implemented include: timezone in audit export and admin username in account setup.

 

Need more answers or have a question we didn’t answer here?  If you have questions or would like to connect with one of our consultants, schedule below. We’re also available by phone, just call our offices at (888) 207-4111.

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

ERP Implementation for Manufacturing

How to Implement a Manufacturing ERP Software That Works For You

Does your organization use manufacturing ERP software like Oracle, Sage100, or Netsuite? If not, or it’s time for a change, this article is for you.

You already know that manufacturing requires precision in almost every single case. Without your attention to precision, parts from the manufacturing floor will lack quality. Then, your supply chain will be disrupted, and eventually your end customers downstream and profits will suffer. 

For this very reason, it’s quite likely that your manufacturing operation uses and benefits from some type of process management – maybe you’re even using a manufacturing ERP software to keep operations in line.   

 

But if your process is currently a little soft or ambiguous, consider the losses in productivity and margin that are mounting with every passing day.

Is it time to reign in operations and get control of your business?

We’re here to help you understand how Zoho ERP solutions can be the keystone to smoothly and successfully capturing the details of your manufacturing and/or distribution business. Furthermore, we want to show you how to take advantage of the data you’ll have with a Zoho implementation fit for manufacturing and distribution organizations.

In this article we’ll break down the process of working with ZBrains to implement a software solution that can give organizational visibility, and foster success. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of Manufacturing ERP software.

 

What function does Manufacturing ERP software serve?

Keeping operations running smoothly is just one aspect of an ERP, but from the top down, you could say it’s a foremost consideration. This organizational efficiency coupled with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of ERP software is recognized.

“Manufacturing ERP refers to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and systems used to plan, manage and deliver specific functionalities that support manufacturers and manufacturing business operations.”   – qad.com

 

[caption id="attachment_4950" align="alignright" width="450"]ERP software supports precision in manufacturing Manufacturing requires precision. Without it, product quality suffers, supply chain is disrupted, and customers downstream and profits suffer. [/caption]

What is Business Process Management?

To start – and this is probably already a known for you if you’re in the manufacturing industry – we’re sharing a high-level definition of business process management:

“The Association of Business Process Management Professionals defines BPM as:

Business process management (BPM) is a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results aligned with an organization’s strategic goals.” – wikipedia 


What types of problems can good business processes solve?

It’s clear even in this short definition how an accurate, and smartly implemented business process is important. However, now you consider the phases – identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control – apply them to the departments responsible for each facet in your own organization, and ask:

  • Are you sharing data between departments? Or is it siloed?
  • How many software systems are you using currently? 
  • Is the handoff from one department or process to another seamless?
  • Is some of your information getting lost or not considered at a global level?
  • Can your software solution help you make the most of your available resources?

 

If you’re considering the progress you could make by implementing solutions for any of the above questions, you’re right on track. 

 

What are the Benefits Of Standardized Processes?
Here are 8 of them. 

1) Increased productivity is a given. 

Imagine a solution that could speed up order times, allowing you to fulfill faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry. What would this do to your org’s productivity factor?

2) Standardization equals quality control. 

Standardization makes your business planning more straightforward. Furthermore, the extrapolated benefits include a more streamlined training/onboarding process.

[caption id="attachment_4949" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho ERP fosters internal collaboration Transparency in your organization help your teams identify best-in-class best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily.[/caption]

3) Make internal collaboration simpler.

When an ERP helps to eliminate siloed information, your teams can begin to collaborate on a deeper level. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best-in-class best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily. 

4) You can reduce costs. 

Insight into your manufacturing and distribution data can help you identify and eliminate redundancy, and find areas of material and labor waste.

5) Did you realize you can also gain insight into your customer through analyzing your business processes?  

Find the places where processes might require modifications to better support your customers. As a result, they are more satisfied and you have created return business. And for most businesses, it’s less expensive to keep the customer you have than it is to find a new one.

6) It can help you adapt to changing times.

You don’t have to operate your business on gut feeling, but instead rely on instinct and data together! Plan your changes, implement them, and use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. Then with the data in mind, create incremental changes toward improvement! All of this is possible with the right manufacturing ERP.

7) Stay ahead of your competition. 

When you are spending less time chasing processes, and more time working, you actually gain productive time. With more productive time, you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition. 

8) Utilize a single source of truth for compliance, security, and safety. 

Speaking to many of the points above, standardized processes help in business operations beyond the manufacturing process, and Zoho can help tie everything together with a single source of truth. Solutions from Zoho take pride in security protocols for their softwares, but this translates to your business overall.

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re likely a serious candidate for Zoho’s manufacturing ERP solution. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

What is a ZBrains Business Process Analysis for Manufacturing and Distribution ERP solutions from Zoho?

 

Let’s talk about how an engagement with ZBrains begins – with a Business Process Analysis. We take all the reasoning and research described above, and have applied those same principles to our own assessments. Here’s what that looks like:

 

This is a BPA with ZBrains

The BPA, or business process analysis, is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects. Just like any other planning effort, it ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes.

You also know that the best way to solve a problem is to first fully understand the way a business runs. We start this by analyzing expectations and performance gaps in your business process. Next, we examine your business from the perspective of the world at large. Then, our experts determine what is working, what is not.  Finally, we decide which methods need to be introduced to change the fabric of your company.

We sit with your team to thoroughly review your sales, marketing, operations, and accounting processes to make sure we understand all requirements and current systems. The goal here is to consolidate your business operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub. 

After the BPA, you receive expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations required to meet your goals. We share a timeline, goals, and outline targets. You receive a strategy that can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

This is how we work with Manufacturers and Distributors

Many of our clients are in manufacturing and distribution industries, and our speciality is small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

We often work with a single champion, normally a President, Vice President, or other C-level representative of the company. And when we begin our intake sessions of a BPA, it’s of the utmost importance to bring in – and hear from – everyone in the organization who will be using the new manufacturing ERP software from Zoho. That includes: Sales and Estimating teams, Production, Inventory Management representatives, and Finance. 

The reason is to ensure that we get a global perspective of the business, and we find that this also encourages user adoption later on!

 

What information do we gather during a BPA?

During these sessions with each department or team representative, we collect a lot of detailed information about their processes. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

[caption id="attachment_4951" align="alignright" width="450"]ZBrains BPA for manufacturing ERP Business process analysis is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects, and ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes.[/caption]

Sales and Estimating

We ask about your sales process. Then, we look at how your quotes or estimates are created and shared. How are you handling new leads, and how is existing business addressed? How do you measure success? And finally, what are the important KPI’s here?

Production

How do you procure goods? Are you purchasing or manufacturing parts? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What does is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders,  and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, batch/lot tracking, and on site maintenance, to name a few.

Inventory Management

We go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components?

Finance

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to  generate executive reports. 

Other Integrations

During consultation, we’ll also ask about your current integrations to determine compatibility and to see if any new integrations could benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by manufacturing and distribution organizations include: ShipStation, TaxJar, Avalara, QuickBooks (Online and Desktop), and Xero for example. 

 

Establishing Budget and Timeline for Manufacturing and Distribution ERP Software Implementation

[caption id="attachment_4952" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho ERP for manufacturing SMB Zoho is built and designed for SMB (Small and Medium-Sized Businesses). Lower total cost of ownership and an accessible startup cost make it a clear choice.[/caption]

A large business who is taking on system implementation for major softwares, can often anticipate a six-figure implementation cost, along with another five figures for service costs. And that’s because these softwares are incredibly robust, and very powerful enterprise tools. We understand that for a small or medium business like yours, this is simply out of the question. These projects can be extremely cost prohibitive, and the solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill in terms of your needs.

  • Not to say you don’t deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business, because you do! For SMB’s like you, Zoho is a great solution. 
  • It’s less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Zoho applications are built to suit your business through customization using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator.
  • Zoho is accessible. They built and designed it with the SMB in mind. Need a custom field? A new report? Drag and drop functions make it easy to use and customize for yourself, all with enterprise functionality. 

In our industry, it’s known that a large portion of technology projects have a low user adoption. Users become bogged down because the projects are overly complicated. When you can build your system to address nuances of your business  – and consider user feedback in the build – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. For this reason, and many of the points discussed above, your budget and timeline will depend on the complexity of your requirements and depth of need. 

 

This is why we utilize the Business Process Analysis. Hopefully, this in depth look at business process management and manufacturing ERP softwares has been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help – just get in touch!

 

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