My company has been implementing CRM systems for more than two decades. Sometimes people ask me what’s changed the most over that period of time. For me, the answer is easy: it’s the cloud. Back in the day most software could only be accessed locally or from an internal server. Now, the data is hosted in the cloud. There are lots of benefits to this, not least the ease of use, availability, support and security. But there’s one other enormous benefit of this shift to the cloud that most overlook: access to data.
Think about it. If my client wanted to integrate their CRM system with their accounting system 20 years ago they would have had to build a custom application to do this. That not only takes time and money but an ongoing maintenance commitment. Tech companies avoided these projects, unless they were a significant size and involved a customer that could foot the bill. But all of that has changed.
Now even the smallest of companies can leverage the cloud and integrate their CRM system with hundreds of other software platforms with relative ease. Let’s take Bigin as an example.
Using third party integrators, Bigin can connect to popular email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. It works with Gmail and Microsoft 365. It can export events and synchronize contacts to Google’s G Suite as well as work with certain online meeting providers. More importantly, Bigin’s partnership with connectivity toolmaker Zapier means that there are dozens of other templates built for the application that can be used to move data in and out of it to other applications from accounting to project management software.
Because Bigin is a Zoho product it can naturally integrate with many of Zoho’s business applications like Zoho Meetings for online events, Zoho Books for accounting and Zoho Forms for customer form creation. It will also integrate with Zoho’s enormously popular email platform as well as its service desk application Zoho Desk, among other applications.
Bigin’s database is not only open to third party integrators but to the business owner as well. Data can be easily imported and exported. And to ensure that data is accurate and complete, there are tools available to clean up duplicate records. Backups are included in the price. Workflow rules can be leveraged to update you or your assigned administrator when critical fields are empty or haven’t been updated in a while. All of this is to ensure that your database is complete and accurate.
Finally, this being 2023, Bigin – like most other advanced cloud based applications – offers developer tools and access to its backend database for custom integrations and other software programming projects.
All of this is possible because of the cloud. Smart software makers like the makers of Begin know that their applications can’t do everything for everyone and so they ensure that there are plenty of choices for their customers to use third applications in order to enhance their own systems. Because Bigin is cloud-based, it’s easier for other software companies and developers to create integrations and applications that work with Bigin. Different than the on-premise environment of two decades ago, they now only have to do it once and then they’re able to consolidate their support so that problems can be centrally addressed and upgrades can be managed through a single portal, rather than countless instances on far-flung, unfamiliar networks and servers.
So what does this mean for a small company? It means that even though you’re buying a small business software you’re still able to take advantage of the tools and resources that larger companies have at their disposal. You’re not painting yourself into a corner because you perceive the application doesn’t provide all of the features that you need. You have the ability, even with an affordable platform like Bigin, to leverage more advanced software and tools if you desire, which means you can continue to scale your database without hitting a limit. And if you do hit a limit, you’ve got an upgrade to Zoho’s more complex business applications. And you can do all of this very affordably.
It’s all because of the cloud. And it’s only going to get better and easier.
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