Businesses once needed to install software on internal networks. This often required infrastructure changes and limited where you could use them. However, the rise of software as a service (SaaS), hosted in the cloud, changed all that.
The multi-billion dollar SaaS industry saves time and money, and boosts scalability and ease of use.
Companies that use SaaS in the following major areas in 2019 can supercharge their productivity and help their bottom line.
Put Your Customers First: CMS and CRM Solutions
Contact management systems (CMS) store and manage client and customer contact information, while customer relationship management (CRM) platforms manage all customer interactions. The two have crossover and sometimes work best when integrated.
Sansan is a hybrid CMS/CRM platform for business that creates an internal contact network based on business cards. This helps employees find sales opportunities while increasing their productivity and improving communication.
Singapore-based industrial cleaner SuperSteam Asia Pacific experienced these benefits when it started using Sansan in 2017. Before Sansan, its employees had to manually enter business card information into an ERP. The Sansan scanner and app combination let them scan up to 50 business cards per minute and instantly share digitized contacts across the organization.
This led to better operational efficiency and employee productivity. The company’s CEO said this boosted business relationships and “offered the convenience to easily tap into prospects and source fresh business from them.”
Salesforce is the gold-standard CRM. It helps companies manage the entire customer lifecycle from lead, to sale, to return customer. Companies can track every touchpoint an individual has with the organization, creating a unified, 360-degree view.
Southeast Asia-based restaurant reservation app Eatigo used Salesforce to reel in its entire sales pipeline. Before Salesforce, “many leads were forgotten or not fully capitalized on,” explains Eatigo CFO Siddhanta Kothari. With Salesforce, Eatigo became able to “better manage our sales pipeline to ensure full efficiency, while increasing our lead fulfilment and centralizing sales processes across all our territories,” he says.
Sansan has API integration with Salesforce. This combines the benefits of a CMS with a CRM, covering every aspect of the customer journey.
With countless other viable CRMs, an integration is often an excellent solution and helps get everyone on board.
Improve Your Operations: Business Process Management
Business process management (BPM) includes any activities used to accomplish a business goal. BPM software helps the user analyze, model, monitor, and ultimately optimize these activities.
Appian, for example, lets businesses quickly build and deploy applications that automate and optimize operational processes.
For example, leading global tire manufacturer Pirelli used Appian to design and deploy an app to speed up its response to customer requests. This helped Pirelli improve product quality and customer experience.
BPM principles can be applied to a wide range of other project management workflows, including content production, product development, and client work.
Boost Employee Collaboration: Document Management
Document management systems (DMS) allow employees to easily store, tag, locate, update, and collaborate on documents.
Without DMS, employees need to send static documents and track multiple versions with different people’s revisions. This process can be confusing, redundant, and increases errors.
A DMS can take the place of, for instance, the entire Microsoft Office suite (which also is moving to a DMS framework).
Popular DMS platform Google Docs (GDocs) is centralized, with document, spreadsheet, and presentation options, in addition to all of Google’s other toys. These can all be accessed and edited among multiple people, whether colleagues or clients. As GDocs is cloud-based, work is auto-saved rather than stored on one user’s PC. All changes are recorded as they’re made. For those who need to make hard copies, documents can then be downloaded in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, or other popular formats.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) adopted cloud-based G-Suite tools, including GDocs, to improve communication and collaboration throughout the business. This helps it bridge the distance between employees in all corners of the world – all able to collaborate on documents. And not only on PCs; the cloud-based aspect lets them work on smartphones or tablets as well.
Of note is the fact that MS Office 365 offers a similar type of sharing, in a more familiar Office environment. Google and Microsoft can be expected to duke this out for some time.
Communicate Seamlessly: Video Conferencing
Many SaaS solutions can be used to drastically improve internal and external communications. Zoom, for example, allows businesses to hold real-time video conferences. It provides built-in tools such as screen sharing, streamlined calendars, and team chat with integrated file sharing. All these functions make it easier for teams to easily collaborate and converse.
Marketing and sales software company HubSpot found Zoom’s functions extremely useful to connect more than 1,500 global employees.
HubSpot’s director of collaboration Neal Piliavin explains: “Our people like the ease and quickness of joining [calls], and the ease of screen sharing. Calendar integrations allow Zoom to integrate easily into our enterprise software stack. We’re averaging close to 1,000 meetings a day over Zoom.”
Increasingly, global companies and flexible work arrangements make video conferencing indispensable. Constant improvements can be expected in this area. Choose your favorite and keep it up to date.
One SaaS to Rule Them All: Integration
While each SaaS tool mentioned here has its own special area, these platforms are even more powerful when integrated. API integration software like Zapier makes this relatively painless and non-technical.
Zapier lets the user create a customized business management platform. Essentially, it lets you, for example, “plug in” Sansan for contact management and Salesforce for a more robust CRM, along with Monday.com for BPM, GDocs for document management, and Zoom for video conferencing -- all under one umbrella.
SaaS platforms are designed to optimize and automate a wide range of business functions. The benefits are huge. You can share leads across your organization, take control of the entire customer journey, improve process efficiency, and empower your employees to collaborate and communicate.
We just scratched the surface here, but these are some great places to power up your organization’s efficiency this year.