Even though most aspects of this article are relevant for any cloud ERP suitable for SMEs and Startups; however, since we at IT Enablers Global are Zoho partners having clients across the world, we will be writing from that perspective. 
The need to make a case for automation and use of technology to run and grow your business is waning. Most business owners are already convinced, and the thought of having an ERP is usually the start of such a digital transformation journey. For organizations that either do not have any existing core systems such as Finance, CRM, HR, Projects or are looking to upgrade their existing system for any reason, one of the first questions they are faced with is the choice of application with Zoho being one of these choices.  
Zoho One is one such cloud ERP, that provides through one standard license all the applications that business a need, it is an integrated ERP system to automate and connect disparate activities of the business to make its process faster and efficient.  

Why do you need a Zoho implementation partner?

To answer this, first we must explain that cloud applications targeting SMEs and Startups are built in a way to make it easy for business owners to do basic implementation themselves. Users can use videos, articles, and official help webpages from the application vendor to do the same. Basic support is also provided by the application vendors included in the license cost.  
As with every decision, there needs to be a cost and benefits analysis. Each organization needs put the cost against the below considerations before making this decision. 
  • The obvious one is “Knowledge and Expertise” that partners bring with themselves of many organizations, years, and industries. Hence, they are in a better position to advise and ensure maximum value from your license investment. Areas such as training, reports generation, customization, knowledge of new functions and features are where they will be able to do a better job than a self-implementation.  
  • “Implementation Process” of the partner will ensure all risks are managed. Partners have an arsenal of tools and templates to help with the implementation to ensure all requirements are catered to. 
  • “Focus” is another important element that they will bring in the implementation. Running a business and implementing an ERP are difficult to go side by side, and in the due course the priorities of running the business take over and the automation lacks behind. 
However, the question we are addressing is why to engage a partner and not whether you should award the work to them instead of a self-implementation. Note, it is the choice of a business at the end of running any request for proposal (RFP) with a partner in deciding whether to award the implementation contract or not. This engagement process brings the following benefits. 
  • You can take “demo” of the different Zoho applications in scope, through which your understanding of the applications will increase. 
  • Get “license advisory” and understand the different license models and options available.
  • You can request demo of “solutions to your requirements” using ZOHO, request examples from existing clients’ experience. 
  • You can discuss the “roadmap of applications” to be implemented. It is encouraged to have a roadmap and to use a phased implementation approach, even if you start with a particular application e.g., CRM or Finance. Zoho One has all the applications you need to run your business; therefore, such a long-term plan can be discussed. 
  • With any application there are limits. It is good to “understand these limits” as they are essential part of the decision making. 

When should you engage with a Zoho partner? 

Based on the above discussions it should be clear by now that this engagement should start as soon as feasible. It gives you an opportunity to make informed decisions in your digital transformation journey and a win-win as it also gives the partner a chance to showcase their experience and skills and try to win your business. 
So, if you are a startup with just 1 employee and need basic invoicing and basic lead management or an SME on a growth path with existing systems in place, you must engage a good partner at the start of any journey towards digital transformation. 

Key Takeaways

Automating the business processes have now become inevitable for businesses to compete in the modern world. Businesses need to adapt themselves with changing technology to cope up with the rising competition that requires efficiency and productivity. 
Any business needs a proper ERP system to regulate and automate its processes. Zoho One lets you automate and integrate different activities of your business. However, it is clear that business need to engage with an implementation partner at the start of this journey.