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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Zoho Books: Comprehensive Cloud Accounting Solution for Small and Midmarket Businesses

Spreadsheets and ledgers are essential tools for managing finances during the early stages of a business. However, as businesses grow and the number of customers and vendors they interact with increases, even basic tasks like tracking money coming in and going out can become tedious and time-consuming. Recording and analyzing financial data becomes more complex, requiring more than just sorting through spreadsheets and paperwork. This is where accounting software comes in handy. Instead of relying on manual processes, businesses can automate many tasks and streamline their operations.

One such cloud accounting platform is Zoho Books, which offers comprehensive features designed to simplify accounting processes and improve financial management. Zoho Books makes managing finances easy with intuitive invoicing, expense tracking, and bank reconciliation interfaces. It also automates tasks like creating recurring invoices, sending payment reminders, categorizing expenses, reducing errors, and ensuring timely transactions.

Since its launch in 2011, Zoho Books has become one of the top five products in the Zoho suite and has established itself as a significant player in the accounting software market.

zoho books logo

Zoho Books’ Competitive Edge

Zoho Books is known for its user-friendly design, featuring an intuitive interface that is accessible to both accounting professionals and business owners with limited financial knowledge. This allows users of all backgrounds and experience levels to manage their finances efficiently.

In addition to its user-friendly design, Zoho Books has a global focus, offering over 14 customized versions for different countries and an international edition. This enables businesses to effectively manage their financial operations while adapting to the unique characteristics of their local market.

Customization is another critical benefit of Zoho Books. Recognizing that every business has unique needs, the platform allows users to tailor their workflows, reports, and templates to fit their specific requirements. This enhances the user experience, improves efficiency, and streamlines business processes.

Zoho Books also offers value through its cost-effectiveness, with free plans for businesses with annual revenue of less than US$50,000 and six competitive pricing plans, making it an attractive solution for businesses of all sizes.

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SMBs and Midmarket firms show strong interest in ChatGPT and LLMs, according to Techaisle Survey

Techaisle’s most recent survey data shows that the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to increase by 79% within small businesses, 63% in core-midmarket firms, and 53% in upper-midmarket firms. AI has become a priority for 41% of small businesses, 75% of core-midmarket firms, and 79% of upper-midmarket firms. ChatGPT and Large Language Models (LLMs) have recently become the topic of conversations and business usage. When ChatGPT comes up in conversation – especially a discussion focusing on SMBs – the first question will likely be, “How many organizations are using it – and how?” Techaisle extended its artificial intelligence survey to pose the same question to 1872 SMBs. Both small and midmarket businesses forecast a substantial rise in the use of ChatGPT in the next one year. 17% of small businesses, 39% of core midmarket firms, and 79% of upper midmarket firms plan to use systems/tools/other products that embed ChatGPT. Results indicate that ChatGPT penetration within the midmarket, driven primarily by firms with more than 250 employees, will be reasonably robust. However, Techaisle feels that the planned adoption data is likely conservative.

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Dell Technologies’ Small Business Advisors Program is deeply devoted to small business success

Small businesses are increasingly dependent on information technology. 78% of small (1-99 employees) businesses consider technology critical to their success. These small businesses are dealing with an ever-expanding portfolio of increasingly complex applications and platform technologies. Techaisle's small business research data shows that 73% prefer to purchase from a supplier who provides business issues focused technology advisory guidance and 64% want an IT supplier vested in customer success. In an IT environment that is already very complex and likely to become more so, trusted advisors are essential to small businesses. Launched in May 2016, Dell Technologies' Small business Advisor program has been consistently simplifying the technology complexity and removing the friction from purchase decision inertia.

There is a perception that Dell advisors only sell PCs. Reality is quite different than perception. The advisors advise and sell end-to-end solutions. For complex needs, such as digital transformation, Dell has a clear second-level escalation path. The front-line advisors can raise the small business needs to large order specialists or technical resources to work on complex solutions. These specialists have the depth to look over the needs and the entire customer account from an end-to-end perspective, provide infrastructure guidance, including VMware products, and configure solutions based on the customer's requirements.

The advisors are not sales agents. Instead, they have the expertise to determine where a small business is in its technology journey and thereby provide contextual guidance. Their goal is to advise customers on what they need and what they could get, what needs to get fixed, how to fix it, and how to get the right next solution. It is a much more holistic way to drive the customer experience. For example, over the last year, a vast majority of advisor conversations were around the following topics:

  • Migration to a remote workforce – What is needed to support a work-from-home environment and individuals looking to maximize their home office setup?
  • General solution guidance – If using software applications such as QuickBooks, Office, or CAD, what system would work best?
  • The move from cloud to on-prem or hybrid environment – What are the benefits of data management, application performance, cost, and security?
  • Supporting the rapid expansion of specific industries, as a direct response to the pandemic. For example, private healthcare, transportation, and niche service companies in the market.
  • Private schools and other entities enabling remote learning/training.
  • Upgrading outdated technology – End-of-life software applications, operating systems, expiring warranties, and low-performing/over-tasked hardware.
  • Ensuring proper security in a rapidly changing IT landscape.

None of the above are simple technology adoption questions. They are also not point-and-click PC purchases. Techaisle data indicates that there is an interesting opportunity to connect high-value guidance with click-to-buy type options. However, this kind of offering needs a more extensive consultative capability in many cases. For example, nearly three-quarters of small business buyers would like their IT suppliers to provide technical advice directly connected to business issues. In addition, almost two-thirds want an IT advisor who is "invested in customer success." Dell has a very rigorous model of getting to know the customer. Customer conversations revolve around what solution the advisors are trying to help with and what problems they are trying to solve through technology.

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Cisco makes enterprise-grade small business solutions affordable and easily deployable

Post-pandemic, as small businesses look ahead to focus on getting back to growth, Cisco has identified the small business segment as a key priority and one of its most significant opportunities. Cisco is committing more resources than ever before to energize and activate Cisco partners' prospects in this space. Cisco identifies its addressable opportunity to be US$30 billion. It is no doubt less than Techaisle's global IT spend forecast of US$230 billion in 2021. But then, Cisco's product portfolio is not all-encompassing, and its definition of small business is on wallet share, any company that spends US$200K or less on Cisco products and services. However, Cisco's is sharpening its focus on the sub-$50K wallet-size small business segment, where Cisco's market share is minimal.

Let us analyze how Cisco is planning to address the small market.

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