As we all know, a whole range of great niche software solutions have been developed over the years that solve specific business tasks such as online proposals, sales pipeline management, document management and job scheduling. Initially this was really exciting for small businesses owners; the whole app world exploded and the capabilities of these apps were impressive, especially compared to the previous manual processes or old-school awkward software packages they had been using.
Naturally, the next step in the process was to try to get all of these different apps to talk to each other. Lots of API (Application Programming Interfaces) were developed to try and help the different software packages communicate with each other, and bridging solutions such as Zapier provided a no-code ability to also help with the sharing of information between different solutions.
Some API connections work really well while others remain very limited in their sharing capabilities, leaving users with a number of real-life challenges such as:
- Still being required to log in and out of lots of different applications in order to run their business
- Limitations on which program information is shared, and which isn’t
- Data being visible to everyone in the business (when you may need to restrict sensitive data to specific users)
Formitize believes the next phase is what it calls “Software Consolidation”.
Matt Burge, Formitize CEO explains further, “We witnessed first-hand the evolution of the software process and based on our users’ feedback, we believe clients are now ready for software consolidation - combining as many of these different apps as possible into one simple-to-use platform.
“In our research, we found that there were very good job management solutions out there and very good CRM solutions available but very few that did both really well at a reasonable price point, or that weren’t overly complicated for a typical small business to set up and manage themselves. The challenge then remained: What about the other modules required to run a business such as Document Management, Asset Management, Health & Safety, Smart Forms, Online Agreements?” he says.
So Formitize created its smart business platform, bringing everything together in one place. The organisation believes that Xero is a great accounting software for most small- to medium-businesses, so it remains the central “Source of Truth” for the financial recording and Balance Sheet management. The Formitize platform steps in and uses the Xero information where relevant across all of the different modules.
An example of this is the Job Management Module. When a user creates a new job in Formitize, the person scheduling the job is able to see the Client Contact details and importantly, the current outstanding invoice balance using Xero data. When the field technician is then completing the job, they are able to add to the invoice using line items directly from Xero.
All client contacts, line items, tax rates, accounts and more are pulled from Xero with one click and then the two systems share and update every ten seconds, creating incredible communication and data sharing.
Imagine having everything in one place and being able to utilise the customer information from Xero without giving everyone in the business access to Xero!
The Formitize Business Platform includes a full suite of business modules all in one place and all communicating beautifully with each other including: CRM Customer Database, Job Scheduling and Management, Task Management, Smart Forms, Sales Pipeline, Asset Management, Safety, Document Management, Accounts (including Quotes, Invoices and Purchases), Online Proposals and a Compliance Register to manage multi-stage processes such as Incident Reporting and Complaint Management.
Xero remains the source of truth for the financial information, however, wherever possible, Formitize presents relevant information to the user that is relevant to the module they are using. With crossover modules such as Invoicing, again the two solutions work beautifully together. Formitize accesses all of the relevant Xero invoicing elements but then adds options to the invoices such as signatures, attachments, photos and more to take the smart invoice to another level. Users are able to create and send invoices from the app or web management portal without getting access to Xero itself with both platforms automatically updated.
With so many modules working together the question remains; what’s next? Burge replies, “We’re on a mission now to continue innovating the platform to make it more and more valuable to our clients. The more business processes we can bring into the platform and solve, the better. It’s an exciting journey ahead.”