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Tag : Zoho One

Identify Operational Inefficiencies

How to Identify Operational Inefficiencies

As a business owner or operator, it’s important to you to be aware of operational inefficiencies. You want to cut them off at the start, and keep your business heading in the right direction. You’ll find a lot of business advice online; however, the goal of this article is to help you identify the areas to look for operational inefficiencies. We’ll offer some considerations for you in terms of addressing the gaps in data you might experience as the operator of your business.

Get to know some indicators that your efficiencies could be off track are found in the realms of Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control. For example:

  • You may feel as though you don’t have control of your resources, 
  • You don’t have visibility to planning and scheduling (or there is a lack of it) 
  • Projects don’t seem to be the quality you want for your business
  • KPI’s are falling flat

These areas of uncertainty can leave you in a position of being unsure which issues to tackle next.

Firstly, consider each of the four scenarios above and how they apply to your business. What do you think you’re losing out on each month, or each day by not having access to the data required to solve these issues? Naturally, you’ll prioritize your biggest information gaps, and tackle those first. But how much more productive could your business be if right now you could see detail that gives actionable insight on each of these key points of operational efficiency?

With the right operating system for your business, you gain this visibility and will be on your way to identifying inefficiency with ease. In some cases you may even be able to become aware of the triggers that cause operational inefficiencies.


How can my business identify and track operational efficiency?

You’re having trouble getting a complete story for your business. Day to day it feels like the various resources you use to gain insight are contradictory at best. When you dig in it feels like micromanaging. As a result, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to get all the business metrics you need in one place. Your resources are dispersed across systems, and few if any of those systems are talking to each other, much less reporting together.

Zoho One is an operating system for your business. Comprehensive, integrated and customizable, this platform with 40+ applications can eradicate the roadblocks you’ve become accustomed to experiencing. Resulting in fewer or no departmental silos, but tools for everyone in your organization from Sales and Marketing to HR, Finance, and Operations.

Here are a few of the tools for each area of business that will be capturing the operational data you need:

  • Sales tools like mobile CRM, email, Telephony, social selling tools, live chat, online meetings and team communication tools are a part of Zoho One. Additionally, there are tools for  business intelligence, quotes, orders, and invoices that you need to fortify sales operations.
  • Marketing tools offered are also robust and include website builder, A/B testing, analytics, goal tracking, personalization, and multi-channel marketing applications. Wrap it up with marketing automation, reporting, and trackable KPI & ROI data.
  • Customer support is a lifeline for your customers in many cases. Zoho One tools like email, phone, social support (ticketing), live chat, self-service resources, remote assistance give many channels for communicating with your team. Additionally, bigger picture tools include support process automation, business intelligence, AI, CRM, and team communication tools. All this for an improved customer experience and the data you’re looking for. 

Don’t forget HR, Accounting, and Operations

  • HR Tools keep business running with solutions for talent acquisition, onboard, training, policy creation, resource management, and communications tools contributing to a culture of collaboration.
  • Accounting & Finance 
    • Receivables tracking: estimates, invoices, payments, and transaction matching.
    • Payables & Expenses: purchase orders, expense management, mileage tracking for reimbursement, and time tracking for projects.
    • Additional solutions include subscription management, recurring billing, and hosted pricing pages. 
  • Operations Tools consist of order fulfillment, service deployment, order management, multi-channel selling, warehouse management, project-based billing, and project management. Siloed communications are solved with the internal social network. Moreover, you can bridge with Sales & Customer Support teams using the customer portal. 

For any process or system not addressed, Zoho has tools to develop custom apps for web and mobile. And it offers integrations for greater business intelligence!

What is the solution to operational inefficiencies? 

With Zoho One, you’ll have your business situated in an ecosystem with a single sign on. For instance, this makes it simpler as an owner or manager to have complete control over business data. This includes identifying and addressing the Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control operational inefficiencies we mentioned at the start of the article.

In other words,  you can do it all within one ecosystem that utilizes the apps we just outlined.

Zoho One currently contains over 40 applications, all integrated. Firstly, they operate on the same platform so customization is generally more straightforward. Reporting on the business data you need to ensure efficiency in your operations is readily accessible. Additionally, only individuals you choose can access programs containing sensitive data, ensuring the information stays in the right hands.

If you’re looking for something that you can’t find in Zoho One, Zoho Creator is the low-code platform for creating your custom application. You can utilize it either on your own or with help from a Zoho Certified Consultant

Intriguing, you might be thinking. But all of that sounds too expensive and like quite an undertaking – it just doesn’t have to be with the right partner. ZBrains certified consultants have assisted clients since 2012. Above all, our speciality is value rewarding Zoho implementations and customizations so you don’t have to go it alone.

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about squashing operational inefficiencies with Zoho One, contact us any time.


Zoho Sprints is here and ready to get you over hurdles like this jumping dog

Zoho Sprints is Here! – Agile Project Management Solution

Project Management can be a real bear if you don’t have the proper tools to organize your team members, track their responsibilities, and gather insight about how they’re all contributing to the big picture – your business. With that in mind, Zoho introduces Zoho Sprints, an agile project management app designed to manage software sprints and help everyone get over their respective hurdles.

Zoho Sprint Dashboard

Here arZoho Sprints Icone 5 ways Zoho Sprints makes project management effortless.

1. Get a Quick Overview with the Dashboard

Easily take a look at the big picture with the Sprints Dashboard. You can track team member engagement, review your backlog metrics, and see completion levels of your sprints. The dashboards capabilities allow you to ensure that you distribute work effectively and increase your team members’ efficiency. Even when working on individual sprints, you can always take a look at the big picture with an easy-to-read overview.

Zoho Sprints Reports2. Dive Deep with Analytics

With Velocity Charts, Burn-down and Burn-up Charts, and Cumulative flow diagrams, you can stay on top of your data! The analytics update in real time, helping you make predictions, make adjustments, and identify bottlenecks. Additionally, with release reporting you can also take a retrospective look at closed and completed sprints and which team resources were used. Reports on Zoho Sprints will help you take your business to the next level by turning your data into actionable insights.

3. Manage and Track Time Effectively

Manage your time Zoho Sprints’ Timesheets tab allow you to track and log hours and separate billable and nonbillable hours for your sprints. When logging your time you can start the timer from anywhere in Sprints. The Meetings tab allows you to easily schedule meetings, set agendas, and choose the participants. Meeting reminders and the ability to search meetings will take the pain out of logistics and planning. Time is money, and Zoho Sprints is here to help you use your time efficiently.

4. Track your Team – The Scrum BoardZoho Sprint Scrum Board

The Scrum Board allows you to see where your team stands. Personalize your board by creating custom statuses, sorting, and views. You can monitor your Sprint Activity as well, with graphs based on the status of your tasks. Don’t let tasks get lost in the cracks. The Scrum Board will give you and your team a clear view into your projects!

5. The Price is Right

Pricing is user-based with a free option for 5 users and 5 projects. Paid plans start at $20 a month for 20 users and unlimited projects. Have more than 20 users? Pricing for 21-100 users is just an extra $3 per user per month, and that includes unlimited project and access to all features. Zoho Sprints is also included in Zoho One. You can read more about Zoho One in our blog here.
Zoho Sprints will simplify project management for your business! Interested in learning more? Our ZBrains team provides tailor-made Zoho solutions for your business. Schedule time to speak with a member of our ZBrains team to see how we can help you!


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Woman sitting at her desk reading about common crm issues and zoho solutions

3 Common CRM Issues and Their Solutions

When new clients come to us at ZBrains, we often hear one of two things – either they have faced significant challenges with a previous CRM software they have used and they’re ready to move on, or they have just signed with Zoho and are unsure where to start. With these two challenges, you could say that we’ve heard it all – from A to Z; so, you can be sure that we have answers to your common CRM issues.

After thousands of conversations with various clients, we’ve wrangled our experts at ZBrains to tell us their top 3 most common CRM issues from new clients. If you’re brand new to CRM management or perhaps you have questions about your current CRM, we’re sure you’ll identify with one (or more) of the challenges below.

Here are the top 3 common CRM issues (and their solutions).

Business woman on phone looking at Zoho mobile applicationChallenge: I can’t access my CRM on-the-go.

Imagine you want to access a client contact history while en route to a meeting, or away from your desk – but you can’t access your CRM through your phone. Ugh.

Solution: Discover a CRM that works on-the-go.

Challenge: My team does not know how to use my CRM properly.

Whether it’s because of lack of process or lack of training, your team just doesn’t understand or know how to use the major features of your CRM, it can be difficult to get your employees on-board entirely with your CRM.

Solution: Educate, Track, Customize.

Save time by tracking everything- from emails to phone calls, and meeting logs in between. Zoho has it all – enabling your team to make the most of your CRM. Have a program that educates your team on the benefits and use-cases before diving in head first. In our experience, this has truly made a difference in overall adoption and usage. Develop a solid process for your team and have customizable solutions for your business processes. Get started on the right foot by signing up for one of our Zoho implementation plans.

Challenge: My CRM doesn’t integrate with the software I use every day.

Are you always flipping through tabs, browsers, applications and spending far too much time logging-in, or recovering lost passwords?Is it just another application that you need to manage?

Solution: Find an all-in-one solution.zoho one

This is especially true for sales and marketing teams, who certainly use many, many applications on a daily basis. From CRM to email, social media posting applications and more, it can be a challenge to keep track of it all. Zoho One has 35+ integrated applications that encompass everything from CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory, and more. Here at ZBrains, we offer additional add-ons and custom integrations for your favorite business products, such as QuickBooks, MailChimp, Magento, and more.

It’s important to find a CRM that can integrate with a variety of solutions to optimize the potential of your business. It will keep you on-track and ready to close more, win more, and earn more.

From employees using your CRM (properly) to finding software that works for all teams in your company, these are our top 4 common CRM issues and their solutions. They’ve been compiled by our Zoho certified consultants here at ZBrains who are here to help you with your burning questions.  Feel free to drop us a line!


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Sortware as utility no longer a commodity

Software as a Utility vs a Commodity

Information technology and developed software are growing and innovating at remarkable rates. IT jobs, in particular, are expected to grow by 20% through the year 2020; it’s no surprise that this is faster than average. So, as we look at software in particular, the question to ask ourselves is – do we consider it to be a utility, or a commodity?

What is software as a utility?

The definition of a utility is the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial. In relation to technology, software can be positioned as something that holds immense value. It is technology that provides revenue and shows a true source of ROI for businesses and brands. It is a software that can manage a plethora of business applications under one system.

What is software as a commodity?

Traditionally, software has been considered to be a commodity. As a refresher, the term “commodity” refers to a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type. Consider the way in which many software vendors have approached you, a decision maker. You receive hundreds of pitches per year – perhaps even per month – mostly landing in your inbox. The sales person on the other end is treating their product as a commodity, as an economic exchange.

Which would you rather – the software you select to be used as a utility, or as a commodity?Zoho one Software

When it comes to Zoho One, we know that it is shifting away from the traditional perception of software as a commodity. Zoho One is a true example of a utility – a useful, profitable and beneficial product that provides unmatched ROI for your business. Here’s why…

Zoho One is affordable.

Unlike the commodity of economic exchange – those darn cold emails that are floating in your inbox right now – Zoho One is truly affordable per user. Software is traditionally expensive, which is why the thought of it as a commodity has often been true. Instead, Zoho One starts at $30 per employee, per month. The price point positions this software as one that lends itself remarkably well to profitability.

It increases efficiency – and efficiency means additional revenue.

The beauty of Zoho One is that you can manage a multitude of business applications under one system. This means no more flipping through tabs, browsers, applications and spending far too much time logging-in, or recovering lost passwords. Saved time means increased efficiency – and increased efficiency means additional revenue. It means that your team can spend more time doing their job instead of performing administrative tasks each and every day.

It can run your entire business in one suite.

zoho one software screenIf you haven’t checked out Zoho One, now is the time – because we’re sure you’re going to love that this software can run your entire business through one suite. Seriously.

With one administrative log-in, you can work through over 35 applications, including your CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory checks and more. Your team can send emails to your prospects, engage with your clients, and check to see which of your prospects are checking out your website. This is all through one software with a variety of applications.

It was once thought that software was a commodity exclusively, mostly because of the steep price tag that many companies have set. Instead, with the introduction of Zoho to the market, the mindset has truly shifted to that of software as a utility; a solution that generates revenue through increased efficiency, and truly proved profit and benefit.

We know you’ll love Zoho One, and we’re confident you’ll realize just how much of an impact it will have on your business. We here at ZBrains are Zoho Certified Consultants, as well as a Zoho developers with a handful of powerful Zoho integration tools. To learn more about how Zoho One can work for you, schedule a consultation with us here.

Zoho One What and Why Business woman speaking on phone

Zoho One – What And Why

If you could manage a plethora of business applications under one software system, you would, wouldn’t you? (The answer is yes – of course you would). Instead of flipping through various tabs, opening multiple browsers, and downloading too many applications that you’ve now lost count of, the solution is to find just that – a solution. A solution that can increase your efficiency in all facets of your business practices. That solution is Zoho One.

What is Zoho One?

Zoho One is a truly revolutionary suite that can run your entire business – seriously. It has 40+ integrated applications that encompasses everything like CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory, and more. You simply need a username and password, integrate your applications, and you’re set; one dashboard to rule all.

Zoho One includes apps like:

  1. Zoho CRM
  2. Zoho Desk
  3. Zoho Projects
  4. Zoho Finance Suite (including Books, Inventory, Expense, and Subscriptions)
  5. Zoho SalesIQ
  6. Zoho MarketingHub
  7. Zoho Campaigns
  8. And over 30+ others.  The list grows nearly every day.

This one Zoho software suite can be used across all areas of your business, from sales and marketing to customer support and accounting. This means that everyone can log-in, everyone can use various applications that suit business needs in order to go about daily tasks. zoho one implementation

Here’s why we love Zoho One – and why you will, too.

It provides unmatched security across your business.

Zoho One gives account administrators one secure account for applications and overall control. This means that you’ll have one account to access all of your programs – such as the CRM, email, and more. Gone are the days of different login credentials for each individual program – which increases the potential of lost or stolen passwords.

In addition, this one Zoho suite gives owners and managers complete control over business data. Only these individuals can access programs containing sensitive data, ensuring the information stays in the right hands.

Zoho won’t stop here.

45+ applications in the suite already sounds impressive – and it is. Yet, Zoho is always focused on innovation and improvement, which means that they won’t stop at 45.

Zoho One is enhanced by its developer ecosystem, meaning that technology partners can truly customize applications to meet their needs. So, if an application that is customized to your business needs to be included in Zoho within a certain means of framework, Zoho One provides developers with the ability to make this happen.  That goes for everything from workflow rules in the CRM, custom functions in Zoho Books, or even an entirely new Zoho ERP app developed on Zoho Creator.

Zoho One pricing

Zoho One pricing starts at $35 per employee, per month (or $30 per employee, per month, when paid on an annual basis). This includes all integrated business apps (everything you need), mobile and native apps, centralized administrative control, and more.

Consider the ROI for this solution. How much time would it take one employee to move between tabs, including logging-in and waiting for each application or associated software to start? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? Now, consider your billed or internally-set hourly rate. How much time can be saved by consolidating your business applications? Is this worth $30 per month? (We’ll say yes).

Zoho One Implementation

Now that you know the key features of the one Zoho suite, you’re probably asking: What does it mean to actually implement an entire suite of business software?  Do all the apps turn on at once?  What about permissions?  What do I do to prepare?

zoho one implementation

First of all, as soon as you know your organization is going to implement the suite of apps, I would do a quick poll and see who, if anyone, has implemented a Zoho app on their own.  This is not because you want them to spearhead the deployment process for your company!  Rather, it’s to make sure you don’t have any issues when adding all of your employees to your organization, as Zoho makes it a bit of a chore to add people who are already recognized as Zoho app administrators to your org.  So, if anyone has gone rogue and deployed their own app, be it Zoho CRM, Campaigns, or People, kindly have them switch their email from their company email to a personal email address.  (Conversely, if your employee is using their Zoho app to conduct actual company business, that can make things a little more complicated.  Contact us for some help!)

Second of all, don’t fear!  Turning on Zoho One does not mean your employees can suddenly run amok and access all the different apps in Zoho; in fact, Zoho gives you great control over what your staff can and cannot do once you begin implementing the suite.  Here’s what I can tell you:

  1. Apps you’ve already activated in your existing Zoho organization will come pre-selected when you arrive at the main implementation screen
  2. You can configure exactly which additional apps your employees can access
  3. Even if you don’t activate certain Zoho apps during the initial configuration, you can always come back and turn the other apps on when needed
  4. Your company’s settings, records, and other work stored in the a la carte Zoho apps will not be disturbed when you switch from the a la carte apps to Zoho One

Third of all – and this is more of a caveat – remember that all of your W-2 employees need to be members of your organization, per the Zoho One licensing agreement.  (Zoho says you can buy “flexible user pricing” if you really don’t want to have all your employees as org members, but this is $75/user/mo.)

zoho one implementation

Having Zoho One Licensing Issues?

We’ve heard from quite a few company reps who love the idea of a software suite like Zoho One, but don’t want to have to buy licenses for all their W-2 employees – because maybe half or more of their employees don’t ever touch computers for their jobs!  This is especially common with people who use Zoho for manufacturing, or Zoho for field services and construction.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

You may be tempted to… have employees share logins, or…

Just not buy licenses for all your employees.

Well, I have this word of advice for you: Don’t go that route.

Zoho reserves the right to audit your books if you use Zoho One, and they have the right to impose penalties on you (likely monetary ones) if you don’t comply with their licensing agreement.  Instead, just contact ZBrains and we may be able to help you out.

Thank you for stopping by, as always.  If you have any questions or comments, please drop us a line using the webform at the bottom of this post, and explore some of our Zoho consulting options.



zoho vs sage act

Zoho CRM vs. ACT!

zoho vs act


zoho vs act

Clash of the Titans: Zoho CRM vs ACT!

Zoho CRM vs ACT: Do you need a full CRM or a simpler Contact Manager?

One of the first issues that small businesses run into when they start to grow is the problem of dealing with the increased data flow.  This is especially apparent when dealing with multiple business apps and departments. One of the most damaging information overloads revolves around your customers.

Business gather customer information in many ways, and use it for product development, social media, sales, billing, and customer service. Making this kind of information available to the right people at all times can be challenging in our very diverse software environments. Your first order of business is to decide if you need a true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite or a simple Contact Manager program. Do you need Zoho CRM or ACT! by Sage?  Let’s see how Zoho CRM vs ACT stack up…

zoho vs act

Zoho’s CRM

Zoho CRM is a robust CRM module that can integrate with other platforms; it can also automate workflow. It provides full collaboration ability between multiple departments like accounting, sales, marketing, and customer service to ensure everyone has correct information. As a cloud service, you can access Zoho from anywhere with an internet connection.  This gives Zoho users much more flexibility than they would have while tied to their desktop computer.

Zoho even has email marketing functionality to keep you in contact with your leads automatically. Zoho also provides unparalleled security features, including industry-leading data encryption, field-level security, and security profiles. Zoho’s Google Apps integration also enables even better productivity and access to information for integration and automation. ACT does not have the security parameters of Zoho.  For that reason, we don’t recommend it for organizations with more than five users.

Zoho CRM may be a better fit if you need the following:

  1. Sales – billing and invoicing, mobile access, remote tracking, territory management, workflow rules and management.
  2. Marketing – email marketing, mailing list management, catalog integration of items.
  3. Help Desk – FAQ, forums, knowledge base, online self-serve, recorded demos.
  4. Customer Service – customer service integration and tracking, customization of user interface.
  5. Model and License – SaaS with monthly billing options – 3 user Free Edition – Professional & Enterprise Editions, the number of users that you can add is based on the user licenses purchased.
  6. Security – data encryption, field-level security, create roles and groups, and set up multiple administrative security profiles.
  7. Analytics – Executive dashboards, dashboard customization, forecasting and reporting.
  8. Extra Apps and Add-Ons – Google Apps, Zoho Apps, Microsoft Outlook integration, QuickBooks desktop integration, Sage 100 integration, Zoho Books for light finance, and many other apps.

 zoho vs act

ACT! by Sage CRM

If you run a small business and need constant access to your customer data, ACT’s contact management attributes can save you money while keeping your team up-to-date. With internal memo templates and easy ways to communicate with all sorts of contacts, it makes things much quicker in general. Managers or administrators can pull reports on performance indicators and forecasts by their salespeople.  This, in turn, gives them a better idea of the health of the company in genersal.

ACT also provides another feature not available in most other contact management software; the ability to help manage customer tickets or technical support cases with specific tracking options. This keeps all issues up-to-date and ensures better customer service with accurate tracking. ACT also integrates with Sage products and provides online access but is not as versatile as Zoho. It is also not well suited for mobile device use as is Zoho.

ACT! contact management may be a better fit if you need the following:

  1. Sales – no billing and invoicing – otherwise no obvious differentiation – same available features as Zoho as mentioned above.
  2. Marketing – referral tracking where Zoho does not.
  3. Support – has email and phone capabilities and request forms that Zoho does not.
  4. Model and User License – on premise (not SaaS) with monthly billing option – Windows and MS SQL based database (no for Zoho) – limited to 10 users.
  5. Extra Apps – QuickBooks and Sage 100 integration available.

Why move to Zoho in the cloud?  There are two big reasons

zoho vs act cloud software

Especially as the 21st century moves along, businesses that once used on-premise CRM solutions like Sage ACT find themselves looking for alternatives.  The reasons for this, aside from those aforementioned, are the long-term scalability of a cloud-based solution, as well as security.  The fact that Sage ACT is installed on-premise accounts for both of these reasons.  Relying on a business’s own server to host a CRM and account for changes in users and login locations can (sometimes) render a system unstable.  As well, cloud-based systems are inherently more secure than their on-premise brethren.  They do this by providing an off-site entry point, which means business owners aren’t liable for data breaches, if they occur.

Zoho gives a big advantage with Zoho One

zoho vs act zoho one

In the past couple of years, Zoho has significantly widened their advantage over other CRM apps by providing not only a family of integrated business apps, but offering all of them (over 40 in total) in one software suite called Zoho One.  Zoho One, like all Zoho apps, is cloud-based, and features many integrations with the CRM.  By using Zoho One, you could theoretically run your entire business – as opposed to just your CRM – from Zoho.  This would give your staff and other users a more unified experience.

Ready for some more?

There are many more specific comparisons that can be made between Zoho CRM vs ACT, and these depend on your specific needs as a company, including CRM consulting, CRM training, or support plans. Contact us today and we’ll help you decide which of the two is right for your company.