We are quite excited to present Mr. Julian Weber, Managing Director of the software development firm –
Secure Link Services Ltd. In this post, he shares his experience about how Zoho became his go-to software vendor for ALL his business needs.
A little about Secure Link Services
Secure Link Services is a software development firm with offices in Zurich, Switzerland and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Launched in December 2010, we currently have 15 full time employees and extend our team with more than 10 contractors, partners and other third-party collaborators. Our mission is to deliver superior quality, speed and reliability in software development, and we intend to set market-leading standards in the globalized markets of information technology.
Secure Link Services’ Challenge
When we chose the software to underpin our operations, we had to take a number of factors into account. First, we considered price and usability. We are a startup company, so our administrative requirements are limited to the industry standard and every franc, taka and dollar counts. Another related consideration was, whether to buy the applications and run them on our own or whether to rent the applications and let someone else run them in a software-as-a-service model.
In addition to price, the other factors included 1) how to best support employees in Switzerland and Bangladesh, many of whom are constantly traveling and 2) how responsive vendors are to customer support issues, including fixing and upgrading their software.
The first Zoho application we used was
For two and a half years, I had been using Basecamp, but it was expensive and I didn’t like the UI. So I switched to Zoho Projects and found it to be one of the greatest tools for both admin projects and engineering related ones. My initial experience with Zoho encouraged us to adopt Zoho applications for other administrative purposes, and today we use Zoho Books, Zoho CRM and Zoho People as well as Zoho Projects.
Zoho Projects – As a startup, we had to create a lot of operating documents from scratch – our code of conduct, employee manuals, things of that nature. So within Zoho Projects, we created a project for each document and assigned tasks to the administrative teams. This way, we were able to report on the progress of each document, track who was doing what, and identify and address any problem areas. We do the same thing to maintain the code and content of our website, write a brochure, and perform just about any other administrative task. We even use Zoho Projects to manage marketing campaigns that go beyond the scope of Zoho CRM in terms of detailed planning, execution and management.
I had been using Salesforce in another organization before, but Zoho CRM seems to be more flexible and definitely is more affordable. What you find in Zoho CRM is almost the same functionality as in Salesforce and it follows the Dominant Design in the CRM market.
Right now, we use contacts, accounts and leads exclusively, but we have assessed various other functionalities which we will soon use, as our marketing activities grow.
This is really outstanding. We evaluated a number of online accounting applications in addition to Zoho Books, but we really like the processes behind Zoho Books. It’s very easy to use, very intuitive, e.g., the “Money In” and “Money Out” tabs in the UI.
The usability from complex bank transactions, creditcard handling to automated invoicing and estimating is really strong. We also like the support of multiple currencies in Zoho Books, and the customizable document templates are nice. Additionally, the reports give us a clear picture of our finances, taxes, and our business overall.
Zoho People – We use Zoho People to keep track of information on our employees and
our third-party contractors. For employees, we track details related to
demographics, employment history, performance assessment, salary data,
emergency contacts, and other information. And we use Zoho People to
provide monthly salary, allowance and expense reports. We fully
customized Zoho People by adding our own approval workflows and custom
fields so we can adapt to the conditions of the Bangladeshi
The decision to work in the cloud with Zoho was initially motivated by cost and accessibility. But over time, working online with Zoho has proven to be a superior, long-term approach for us. In addition to the savings advantage, Zoho gives us software that’s easy to use and, if we want to modify it, easy to customize. The applications are updated constantly, not every year or couple of years. And as we grow, all we have to do is create an account for new employees, and they have access to the full Zoho suite.
Another area in which we are seeing a big impact is administrative efficiencies. Here, Zoho Books and Zoho People stand out most significantly.
By using Zoho Books, we save roughly 40 percent of a full-time employee. We’ve basically cut our accounting time in half, particularly the time it took to track expenses, receipts and other records. Likewise, Zoho People saves another 25 percent of a full-time employee, largely because of its self-service aspect.