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Partner Interview: More than CRM implementation from Technology Advisors Inc.
Hello, Mr. Biardo. Share, please, a little bit of your professional background to give everyone a level of your expertise in the CRM field.
Sure. Thanks. I have in total 35 years of experience in both the business and technical sides of Customer Relationship Management. I founded Technology Advisors in 1991 to help businesses improve sales, marketing, and customer service performance. Representing some of the top CRM products in the world, Technology Advisors has since grown to include the full range of CRM services – business advisory, implementation, customization, training, and support. Apart from that, I am a co-host of CRMTalk (a weekly CRM talk show) and a board member of StarfishETL (a leading CRM integration/migration tool).
How long have you been working alongside bpm’online?
Since Technology Advisors Inc. (TAI) was founded as a technology-based, sales automation consulting company, we partnered with one of the first sales automation tools and became a product-focused CRM provider. We first heard of bpm’online in 2014 and partnered with them two months later. The company promises to be one of our largest partners in 2018.
What makes bpm’online different from the other products you’re working with?
Bpm’online takes a different perspective on CRM. Today, everyone looks at CRM as screens on top of data, with the process as an afterthought. Bpm’online focuses on the process first, with the data transitioning as the process is completed. By allowing the process layer to manage the data layer, bpm’online can immediately help improve the productivity of sales teams through automation and process control.
Most CRMs are good at doing one or two things: service, marketing or sales. Bpm’online does them all. It’s a complete solution and is being recognized as a market leader. Being a partner gave TAI the opportunity to align with a market leader who is relatively new in the U.S. They also provide a “platform only” solution, allowing us to build custom applications that integrate with the bpm’online system.
What makes you a unique bpm’online partner?
TAI does a number of things differently than other partners. For instance, we have fixed price projects. We are also very successful with our change management and user adoption programs, which a lot of partners don’t offer.
Additionally, TAI specializes in doing integrations using StarfishETL, a data migration and integration solution for businesses of all sizes. It allows for rapid integration of bpm’online with accounting/ERP systems like Dynamics GP, project management tools like Jira, marketing automation tools like HubSpot, and email systems like IBM notes.
What types of software can you integrate with bpm’online?
As long as we can access the database, web-service, or API, we can integrate anything with bpm’online using StarfishETL.
Why is integration important for businesses?
Siloed data has little to no value in an enterprise organization. To effectively run a business today, you need to be able to look at and understand how sales impacts production, inventory, and how prior pricing impacts your ability to charge the customer today. Integrating your systems, such as ERP with CRM, provides your business with the information you need to effectively manage your organization. Integration prevents double entry, reduces data entry errors, increases team productivity, and streamlines business processes.
What are some of the most common integrations you see with bpm’online?
The most common integrations with bpm’online are with ERP or accounting. Businesses want their sales teams to understand which products customers purchase, customer payment histories, and last purchase details. Since salespeople take orders and create quotes in ERP, they want to push quotes to order.
When data is integrated, the CRM can analyze buying patterns and make suggestions to your sales team regarding which products to sell or promote. It can also identify customers you should nurture because they haven’t purchased in a while.
What are a few unique integrations you’ve worked with?
Creative integration around email is my favorite. A good example of this is monitoring an email inbox and creating support cases if the email is new, or updating support cases if it’s an existing issue. Another example is our current work-in-progress integration that allows salespeople to search an email for a forecast update and find the associated opportunity to update it automatically.
I have also seen elegantly simple integrations where service customers are automatically texted when a rep is going to visit their office and sent a text-based survey after the repair has been made.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see your customers facing with integration?
Oftentimes, integration customers don’t understand how innate product limitations can affect their integration. For example, bpm’online doesn’t limit the number of API calls performed but other vendors charge extra, slow down the integration, or put a restriction on this number. This can make the integration work slowly or not at all.
The other challenge is, the integration is usually limited by access services. For example, many ERPs have an API or web service to aid in integration, but they will limit what can be changed in the ERP. Most customers don’t realize that having a web service doesn’t always mean they can get the integration they desire.
What do you recommend to companies that are on the hunt for a quality business process automation platform?
One primary suggestion I always give is to choose a flexible platform that will adjust to your corporate rules and become a solid automated and aligned environment for the whole range of operations rather than set lots of new strict regulations to follow. The latter option won’t be adopted successfully simply because the majority of people don’t like anything new. Handy, adjustable, extendable, all-inclusive – these are my top qualities for a top-notch CRM software.
Bpm'online is a global business software company leading in the space of business process automation and CRM. The company has been highly recognized as a market leader by key industry analysts. Its intelligent platform accelerates sales, marketing, service and operations for thousands of customers and hundreds of partners worldwide. The mission of bpm’online is to help companies ACCELERATE!
For more information, please visit www.bpmonline.com
About Technology Advisors Inc.
Technology Advisors is a global business & technology consulting company with one fundamental objective: help businesses find the tools they need to stimulate sales, strengthen relationships, and heighten productivity. The company helps organizations get the most from their CRM/software investment, which is why TAI’s expert team walks their clients through each step — from selection, to adoption, to training and support.
For more information, please visit www.techadv.com