Miles says clients benefit from that sort of collaboration because any one of their staff can access the collective knowledge of their other team members, allowing for faster service and better responses, and that body of wisdom grows as Miles adds more employees and customers to his business. "The thing with Facebook is, just about everybody on the planet has a Facebook account, so it's intuitive," says Miles, "and you can search within a page."
That intuitiveness is a key reason why eaHELP had adopted consumer technology to drive their operations. "If you're committed to working in a virtual environment, you kind of have to go with the least common denominator in terms of what's intuitive," says Miles. "For me, that's applications that people already leverage in their everyday life, or at least try to. It's really hard to work with someone virtually these days if they're a bit of a 'dot Not' - if they look at you funny when you talk about Facebook, then they're probably not going to work on our team. There's an assumption, a baseline of comfort with technology, that we need. We do leverage those applications because they seem to be widely accepted, and they're the easiest to train on," he says.
In addition, eaHELP's core business management functions revolve mainly around data stored within InfusionSoft, a cloud-hosted, subscription-based CRM system for small businesses.
"We leverage InfusionSoft as our single source of the truth," says Miles. "It's all of our sales functionality, funnel management, forecasting revenue. It's also how we manage relationships with clients. And then we have a lot of accounts receivable functions connected to InfusionSoft as well, and there are a lot of marketing-related things related to InfusionSoft like e-mail blasts, marketing campaigns, and the like. It's just a huge, huge part of our company." Miles also appreciates the fact InfusionSoft can encompass so many different areas of the business. "As a matter of perspective, of the 26 people on our corporate team," says Miles, "20 of them are users in various roles and capacities that leverage InfusionSoft on a day-to-day basis."
But eaHELP still has other technology needs.
As CEO of the business, Miles has an extensive relationship with numbers and metrics, and complains that often his analysis is reduced to Excel spreadsheets. "One of the things that I've realized that's been a pain is [not having] better dashboards, more key performance indicator (KPI)-type reporting," says Miles. "It seems like we always have to create a collaborative Excel spreadsheet. Whether we like it or not, that's what we always end up having to do."
Miles sees an opportunity for software developers everywhere here. "Unless you want to pay Accenture or someone big to come in for $150,000 and figure it out, from our experience, if you need to pull certain dashboard metrics and you want to consolidate it and manipulate it among multiple leaders, you have to do it in Excel. And it drives me nuts," he says. "It's been a big limitation for us, and it's also very manual. There are some inefficiencies with that that I would love to see someone solve."
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