HIIT: How Zoho Premium Partner LOBA helped one of Portugal's largest energy distribution companies save 15% of their time with Zoho Recruit.

How I Implemented This-episode 3. An interview with Luis Castro, the director of LOBA.

Welcome to the third episode of How I Implemented This (HIIT), a podcast where Zoho Partners share sales and implementation stories.

For this episode of HIIT, Miles Vivek and Kevin V Thomas from Zoho sat down with Luis Castro, the director of LOBA consultancy, to hear how LOBA transformed energy company PRIO's approach to investing in human capital.

From winning deals and sales to successful implementation strategies, here's their journey of empowering PRIO with Zoho Recruit!

 Partner profile

Business profile 

The problem and the opportunity

Sealing the deal with a proof of concept (PoC)

Requirement gathering

Implementation insights

Project management

Testing and training

Partner profile

Miles: Hello Kevin! For this episode, we have an implementation from LOBA. Could you tell us a bit about LOBA and PRIO?

Kevin: Hi Miles! LOBA is one of the oldest Premium Zoho partners in Portugal. They are essentially a user experience agency doing phenomenally well across all products and verticals.  With a staunch belief in using technology for the greater good, this consultancy aims at providing innovative solutions and has a customer-first approach.

Partner profile of LOBA, a Zoho Premium Partner in Portugal and Brazil.

Connect with LOBA

Business profile 

PRIO is an energy company that distributes and commercializes liquid fuels and electric energy for mobility. They have about 250 fuel stations and the largest private network of EV charging points in Portugal. This 12-year-old company accounts for more than 2 million customers a month! With a vision of creating an efficient world with innovative energy, this company encourages sustainable mobility and is doing its fair share to combat global warming.

Business profilke of PRIO. Energy company producing and distributing fuels, electric mobility and gas in Portugal and Brazil.

Problem and opportunity

Miles: With 2 million users, PRIO must have been a great project—not just as a customer but also as a learning experience. Every large-scale project is bound to have pre-existing challenges. Could you tell us what you found wasn't working in PRIO's system? What were the biggest challenges you faced?

Luis: PRIO is a big client in Portugal. Despite their size, they had little to no consistent system for managing recruitment. It was astonishing to see that they weren't using an Application Tracking System (ATS). They were working with a labor-intensive manual process by using email and spreadsheets to manage HR recruitment activities. So, naturally, they were facing numerous problems from wasted resources to inconsistent data.

Miles: How was this an opportunity for LOBA? How did you foresee the product fit?

Luis: With so many challenges, the client was more than happy to adopt an ATS. We believed that Zoho Recruit would be a big and positive leap for them. Zoho Recruit being user-friendly in terms of accessing data, scheduling interviews, and managing all of the workflows would be a perfect fit for them to streamline their recruitment process.

What started with them using a trial version of the product has now materialized into a successful implementation.

Go back to project index

Sealing the deal with a proof of concept.

Miles: What do you think was the turning point that sealed the deal?

Luis: Once the demo was done, there was an exchange of emails, calls, and quotes for implementation and licensing between PRIO and LOBA. One business quote wasn't going to cut it. It was one thing to say, but another thing to show. Hence, we decided to build a solid proof of concept. A PoC can make or break a project! We set up Recruit with use cases specifically for them. They loved what they saw! 70% of the decision was made. Along with this, they also prepared a matrix comparing detailed aspects of each ATS and compared our quote with that of other vendors. Zoho Recruit emerged as the winner! Also, our portfolio of other impressive implementations spoke for us.


Requirement gathering in Saas.

Miles: We know that the first step of implementation would be requirement gathering and business scoping. This includes taking a closer look at their existing system to see why it wasn't working for them and how to solve its problems with the new system. So, what did your checklist look like?

Luis: As Zoho Partners, we have different checklists for different products. This also varies with the organizational structure of our client. Our focus is on two main areas. The first is requirement gathering, and the second is business scoping. The client sent us a request for a proposal with a list of requirements for us to analyze. But to build a more detailed document, we worked very closely with PRIO and had regular meetings to understand their process.

Implementation process in Saas consulting

We should be in all ears and listen very carefully to the minutest of details and requirements of the customer. Only after the requirement document was closed and validated by the client did we start with the implementation. Also, having a well-written scope for the project helps to ensure that all the stakeholders are on the same page.

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Implementation insights in Saas.

Miles: How do you approach your implementation? What did the process look like?

Luis: We had a different vision to take this opportunity ahead. Client trust could only be earned if they had conviction in the product.

  • Executing integration: 
    As mentioned earlier, the client did not have any platform to manage their hiring process—not even a simple database to organize the CVs of candidates. Our biggest challenge was to develop a custom module to support specific intergroup compliances that the client wanted. With sub-automatic actions, we had to sync all of the important information with other modules like the candidate module. We helped PRIO optimize their recruitment process by building a website through which candidates could view job openings. This helped PRIO to finally have a centralized database of applicants which they could use for other stages of recruitment.

  • Communication and collaboration:
    This was a big project with a substantial amount of tasks and activities. Without attention to detail and proper communication, this implementation wouldn't have been a success. Our extensive conversations with PRIO's team to understand every nuance of their business process emerged as a power move. During the implementation, we let the client have good visibility into the process. Being fully available to the client during the demo and the cold stage helped strengthen our bond and build trust. Keeping the client in the loop is integral in achieving higher customer satisfaction. Transparency is key!


Project management in Saas.

Miles: Your approach to communication could be a mantra for all Partners! Could you share more insights on what helped you have a smooth end to implementation?


Zoho Projects is our project manager! We use Zoho projects to plan our projects, assign tasks, track work, and collaborate with the team. We have split the project into small manageable tasks.

This means that we deliver task by task and validate it only after the client validates it before we close it. Zoho Projects helps the client have visibility on how the project is going. All our discussions with the client concerning the project are done via the Zoho Projects portal that the client has. In an attempt to centralize information, we receive feedback from clients only through Zoho Projects.

Go back to project index

Testing and training in Saas. 

Miles: That's interesting! What does your post-implementation process look like?

Luis: Just before we have something to deliver, we do internal testing to ensure that the requirements are met. We involve the clients in the testing process. Also to have a good handoff of the project, we train our clients. We trained PRIO in reporting and dashboards. We also provide training for Zoho Projects—not only to people who have worked with LOBA but also to anyone who wants to implement Projects. The success of a strategy not only lies in customer satisfaction but also in the return on investment. We did not have a specific KPI to calculate the ROI of the project since the client wasn't using an ATS. Now we know that PRIO was happy with the solution, as we have enabled them to manage much more work in the same amount of time. At the end of the day, all we want is a satisfied and happy client who will evolve with us.

Growth mindset in Saas.

Miles: Our conversation with Luis had so many interesting takeaways. What are your thoughts on this implementation, Kevin?

Kevin: While picking LOBA a few things stood out. First is LOBA working with intrinsic meaning and working for the betterment of the community. Second is their approach to deploying the PoC.

In an age where we are conquering markets and profits, they believe in conquering their customers' hearts.

This is something that'll go a long way for sustainable and organic growth.

Let's keep learning and growing together!


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