5 Features Small Businesses Must Consider When Choosing Apps


The Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) are the lifeblood of the Nigerian economy.

According to figures released last year by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), SMBs account for around 48 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP. Additionally, they account for 96 per cent of all businesses and 84 per cent of employment.  

To reach their full potential, SMBs must leverage effective business-enabling technology, including solutions for CX, finance, HR and employee productivity. 

However, the country head, Nigeria, Zoho Corp., Kehinde Ogundare told LEADERSHIP Weekend  that, it is important SMBs remember that not every business app is equal, adding that, it is essential for businesses to carefully select the apps they utilise, whether opting for a mix of best-of-breed solutions from various vendors or choosing to deploy a unified suite from a single vendor who offers end-to-end business solutions for all needs.

While there are no universal rules for what kind of app will suit a company best, there are a few guidelines that businesses can consider to ensure that they choose apps that are best suited to their business needs, the country head posited.

Five Rules To Consider

The first rule is that the app should have a single source of truth (to avoid data silos), Ogubdare stated, adding that, “Even small businesses have data accruing from a variety of sources. This data can be incredibly valuable, helping the business make decisions about where it’s performing best and which areas it needs to work on. 

“However, that can only happen if the app (or suite of apps) provides a single source of truth (SSOT). An SSOT aggregates data from across the organisation to a single location. This allows the business to make decisions based on a consolidated view of what’s happening across departments rather than trying to pick through individual data silos.”

The second rule is to check how well the solution scales, the country head stated, adding that, the goal of any business is to grow, and ideally, the chosen apps should evolve alongside it. 

However, Ogundare,  stated that, many of the solutions marketed to SMBs lack scalability. Explaining further, he said, scalability isn’t just about adaptable pricing tiers; it also means that they should have a demonstrable track record of working with businesses of various sizes and providing them with the offerings they need to facilitate their growth.  

The third rule is security, even as Ogundare advised that, “If you’re a small business operator, you might think that security doesn’t need to be a major concern. After all, how much value is a cyber-criminal going to get out of your business? But it’s high time SMBs prioritise cybersecurity. 

“To understand why, you only need to look at the fact that Nigerian SMEs are among the biggest targets of cybercrime. The breaches that result from this criminal activity don’t just have a financial cost attached to them but can also do massive reputational damage, something which no small business can afford to bear. This is why it’s paramount to ensure that the app chosen complies with local data protection guidelines or regulations and will protect the data of the customers who trust you with their information.”   

The fourth rule is that the App must be easy to use. “This is very important because if you’re running an SMB, it’s likely your team is small but wears many hats. Hence, it’s vital to ensure that any business app or suite of apps you select is user-friendly, especially for non-technical staff. Opting for easy-to-use apps has long-term benefits. As your business expands, seamless onboarding becomes crucial. The right app(s) significantly reduce training needs, enabling new employees to be productive team members from day one,” Ogundare explained.

The fifth rule is that the App should ensure support for customer businesses across a diverse range of channels for their convenience. From onboarding new customers to attending to queries, businesses should also evaluate how effective the vendor is with post-sales support, he said.

Beyond the level of strategic impact that an app or a platform can bring to your business, another aspect to consider is how well the chosen app can integrate into your existing tech ecosystem, Ogundare asserted adding that, “Ideally, the app should be built to accommodate integration, capability extension, and customisation needs in order to truly serve a business’ needs. When the app ticks the checklist discussed above, the Return On Investment (ROI) it can provide your business can be multifold.”


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