Cloud Integration Unpacked - Jeffrey Atizado Talk'n Shopify With Zyber
SMB Consultants has had a long standing relationship with Leonardo Garcia-Curtis, Waldo van Niekerk and Zyber. Waldo and Leo are not only great guys but have also produced an award-winning e-commerce strategy podcast for merchants serious about growing their brands.
Jeffrey Atizado CEO of SMB Consultants had the absolute pleasure of being invited to talk 'Cloud Integration Unpacked' on the Talk N’ Shopify with Zyber podcast, and boy, did we unpack some information.
Jeffrey took to the mic and shared his valuable knowledge of how cloud integration can ultimately benefit your business and how it doesn’t need to be overly complicated.
Obviously, we have to start at the beginning, right? When Jeffrey first moved to Australia, he managed a premium Apple premium reseller. It was a pivotal time. Cash registers were out, and Mac’s were in. Jeffrey saw this as an opportunity. Whilst they hadn't opened any flagship stores, Jeffrey knew it would be hard to compete with them at a retail level once they did. This was when they decided to install Lightspeed, one of the first inventory solutions that ran on a Mac, with similar design features to iTunes. Lightspeed not only delivered a POS system but also offered an online store which was groundbreaking at the time.
During all this, we saw the benefits that software integration could bring to businesses and how much it could streamline processes. That’s when we started playing in the world of integration. Soon word got around, and Xero’s managing director at the time, Chris Ridd and former managing director Trent Innes took a trip to our Surry Hills office, where we showed them the ropes of what we had been doing and a real time integration demo. The two were amazed. That’s where the term cloud integration comes from, and trust us, Jeffrey gets emotional every time he hears it. It’s a reminder of the early days and the work that was done.
Xero realised that they needed to promote the work that SMB Consultants were doing and understood the importance of integration within a workplace. Since then, SMB and Xero have partnered together, complimenting each other.
Waldo (right) raised a great point that as the e-commerce guys, people assume they know it all. However, there’s a boundary that they don’t go past. Whilst they know what works and what platform or platforms is best for you as a business, they often don’t know the depth of how applications work together. This is where SMB comes in.
Leo (left) mentioned the concept of consumers having this mentality that if a paid service has other logos of other paid services, it’s a plug and play type deal. It’s assumed that all of these integrations work beautifully together. Hate to break it to you folks, but it’s usually the complete opposite of this. Merchants often are unaware of the monster they end up creating, another term we’ve had a hand in creating; the FrankenApp. This is where your merchants have every application under the sun and still make statements like “I’m not correctly using my software” and “I’m confused with all the options”. SMB should be looked at as a service to simplify what systems work for what clients.
Jeffrey uses the analogy that when you build a house, you have all of these different people with different roles. Plumbers, chippies, sparkies and with that, everyone knows how to do their job, but you wouldn’t get a plumber to do the work of a chippy. The same goes for software.
We aim to work together with other partners and bring in our knowledge and the knowledge around us. We’re advocates for working together to understand workflows and find solutions.
Then we get into the first steps. SMB Consultants starting point is a scoping session, where we find out your business's nitty gritty and ask all the questions you haven’t even considered. SMB Consultants have evolved over the years and have found that the best solution is to take a consultative approach. These meetings can have further benefit by bringing in other stakeholders of your business to get the full spectrum of the workflow.
Leo and Waldo have been lucky enough to hear us in these meetings and have even mentioned they haven’t even thought about asking questions that we ask clients.
We’re in a position where we're not in the e-commerce space, and we’re not fully a part of your business, so we can see where efficiencies that can be improved.
We’re a tough love kind of company, so sometimes, a scoping session's outcome is no recommendation. If a client wants a unicorn and we don’t have one, we won’t give you a unicorn. SMB Consultants works to use our next step to keep a client's expectations where they should be.
From there, we take a hefty load of in-depth notes and work to implement a system that best suits the business and its goals.
Integrating systems or platforms takes a lot of planning, and usually, the biggest challenge ends up being change management. This is when clients use systems, and then halfway through, the goal posts change. SMB Consultants see this all the time. We realised that when clients rush to use software and have a date for a live launch set, they actually get negative outcomes rather than positive ones. No small business owner wants to be stressed out, knowing that if they make changes, it will be live for everyone to see.
This is where we created the concept of workflow acceptance testing workshops. It’s more than a 'sales' demo, it is a sandbox environment and allows everyone to go through a day in the life using your new system. SMB Consultants shows you why you should make the change and how you will benefit. You get to actively seek objections, and we offer workarounds, then the business owner decides whether or not they want to proceed.
Leo makes a great point here that is it a big discussion and undertaking. These procedures and software are the structure of a business, so it’s not a conversation that should be taken lightly.
Then the big C word came into the conversation. Covid. It’s pushed businesses to diversify further and forced them to do so quickly. During the two years, business owners have been forced to create new business channels, resulting in bringing in poorly integrated systems that aren’t effective for them and, more often than not, cost an excessive amount. We look at if apps are being used to their full potential, if there are any redundancies, and what are you paying for that you don’t actually need.
Along with working to help businesses understand this downflow effect from this significant event, we also work to manage the expectations that you have for your online presence.
A key takeaway from the tapered end of the conversation was that all businesses are entirely different. What you need for your business and what works for you might not work for anyone else. We take the confusion out of the chaos and create order. We absolutely loved being a part of this conversation.