Camarès: Successful Workflow Optimization for SMBs Demands a Nuanced Approach – Camarès Deftly Delivers with Human Centric Automation
Historically, SMBs have had very few workflow automation options: they either bought software designed for large enterprises and tried to fit nimble SMB workflows or cobbled together vertical and third-party subscription applications. Both approaches resulted in business owners feeling as if they were slaves to their software rather than the software working effectively for them.
SMBs require a completely different approach to automation than large enterprises. Large enterprises seek lock-step standardization in service delivery to facilitate efficiency across their vast operations. SMBs require a nuanced approach to automation that provides flexibility, innovation, and amplifies their unique approach to service delivery while accurately capturing actionable business data. It is a tall order and arguably much more challenging to accomplish.
“Metaphorically, automation for large organizations is like getting on a Disney ride,” says Deb Di Gregorio, President of Camarès, a New Jersey business consultancy and Zoho partner, “the car rolls up, dozens of customers hop in, and everyone is rocketed through the same thrilling three-minute experience. It is pre-packaged shot-out-of-a-canon fun. But SMBs make their mark through hyper-personal or unique service delivery methods. Often the way in which they approach their service delivery is fundamental to their market differentiation. Rather than a theme park thrill ride, it is more akin to an estate tour. The visitor arrives at the front door and the butler discerns whether they are the type of visitor who prefers being ushered into the formal dining room for a seven-course dinner or would rather be taken on a tour of the kitchen with all its hurly-burly, to experience the dinner being prepared first-hand. The question is how best to automate that butler’s skills?”
Camarès has spent decades working with companies of all sizes and since the early 2000s, focusing their energy on small and mid-sized businesses, and fine-tuning an approach to workflow automation that balances accurate data capture with flexibility. They call it, Human Centric Automation.
Their unique and holistic approach drives real benefits in a frictionless, rich customer experience. In parallel, it provides a facilitated employee experience that moves easily through workflows eliminating repetitive tasks, freeing employees to provide customers with higher-value services. These benefits drive brand value and loyalty that fall directly to the bottom line.
Human-Centric Automation Empowers SMBs to Automate like Fat Cats without Cramping their Small Business Style As Bill Gates once said, “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” That is the result Camarès’ clients and their customers consistently experience.
“We asked ourselves, how could we deliver the power of automation the big guys use every day for everyone else? How could we help SMBs slay it like a fat cat?” says Di Gregorio, quoting their new ad campaign.
Deb Di Gregorio “The reality is that in just about every small business, employees are highly cross-functional: one minute a manager may be doing very sophisticated problem-solving, and the next, she’s completing a mind-numbingly simple but necessary task list,” shares Di Gregorio. “Our approach acknowledges that the manager will complete that task list in a very different way from an admin assistant; however, both must experience ease and efficiency in the process. Our method has the flexibility to address different work styles while also ensuring accurate data capture.”
On the question of data capture, Camarès’ Human Centric approach seeks to define what they call “just enough data.” “When clients first come to us, they have a vision for automation and reporting, but ironically if we were to implement the vision, their operations would become increasingly burdened and grow less efficient.” The team seeks to define essentials with a focus on consistent company-wide data accuracy.
As with all workflows, the best outcomes must be designed and built using the best tools available. Historically Camarès was technology agnostic, modifying whatever legacy applications clients had in place and augmenting with additional applications as needed. The firm had maintained a high bar on application recommendations. Products had to be supported by a large installed base, have a strong upgrade track record, and be priced fairly. In 2019 the firm finally chose to partner with Zoho. “When Zoho made their 45+ apps available for one low price, that was a game-changer,” says Di Gregorio, “Zoho ticks all our boxes. For 90 percent of our clients, Zoho delivers 90 percent of what they need at a very affordable price point. If you’re a small business, you really can’t beat it. Finally, we have the tools to really transform small businesses.”
Powering Human-Centric Automation with Zoho One: Fat Cat Power at a Skinny PriceA Camarès client in the medical billing space integrated Zoho CRM with Zoho Projects and Zoho Books for end-to-end service delivery and business management. In the process, they eliminated expensive software subscriptions and reduced their reliance on an internally developed custom application. “It was a complex document-heavy workflow requiring robust interaction between many internal and external stakeholders,” said Di Gregorio, “We took the time to plan carefully and once migrated to the Zoho platform, the client realized immediate efficiencies. Now we are plugging data sources into Zoho Analytics for company-wide reporting and actionable insights for management.” The team’s workflow design may be customized to the SMB’s operations but the firm leverages much of Zoho’s out-of-the-box functionality. This minimizes issues and expenses down the road.
Camarès’ preferred approach is to follow the SMB’s customer experience, from the first point of contact via sales and marketing efforts, to product and service delivery, customer service, and invoicing. Along the way, they dial in HR and company-wide analytics. As their team develops a road map for implementation they search for friction points in the customer experience. By honing in on the customer experience, internal workflow choke points are surfaced. Addressing those not only improves the customer experience it also provides relief to employee and vendor workflows.
Key stakeholder participation is integral to successful road-mapping of the implementation. The Camarès process is comprehensive, but they work to limit intrusion on their clients’ day-to-day operations.
“We’re an Agile shop, with a roadmap in place we implement in sprints. After each sprint, our clients have an immediately useable portion of the implementation to review and kick the tires,” says Di Gregorio, “that is an incredibly powerful moment; we often discover where seemingly small changes in the workflow automation can make a huge difference in business outcomes—positive results that fall directly to the bottom-line.”
No implementation is complete without training. The team provides both live training and custom recorded videos for future hires and future reference—this ensures positive adoption and smooth onboarding of new hires.
Camarès’ Human-Centric Automation is a high-value and sophisticated solution that delivers lasting business value for SMBs.