An exclusive interview with Dr Ameet Patil, Founder & CEO of Ecobillz, an innovative SaaS based real time digitization platform
In the fast-evolving landscape of technology and sustainability, the intersection of innovation and environmental consciousness is paving the way for transformative solutions. Dr Ameet Patil, the visionary Founder and CEO of Ecobillz, emerges as a trailblazer in this realm.
With a profound commitment to revolutionizing the way businesses approach digitization and real-time data management, Dr Patil has steered Ecobillz into the forefront of SaaS-based platforms. This interview delves into the insights and inspirations driving Dr Ameet Patil’s journey, shedding light on the mission and impact of Ecobillz in the era of sustainable technological advancement.
Can you provide an overview of what Ecobillz is and how it functions as a SaaS-based digitization platform?
Dr Ameet Patil: Ecobillz was established in 2016 as an innovative AI-led digitization and automation SaaS platform offering comprehensive modules such as digital check-in/check-out, Account Receivables (AR), Income Audits, E-Invoicing, C-form automation, etc.
This platform captures, reads and accumulates documents and data in real-time, which is used for document management systems, advanced business process automation and to churn the data for generating valuable insights of any business. The key component of this B2B SaaS platform is that it was built to eliminate the use of paper by providing innovative real-time digital solutions and automating backend operations.
The main advantage of Ecobillz is that it requires no change in the existing software or process of the organization. Hotels, therefore, can quickly adopt Ecobillz without making any changes to their existing systems and processes.
Over the years, Ecobillz has forayed into multiple domains such as hospitality, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), Retail etc. Today, Ecobillz is being used in more than 200+ premium luxury hotels all across India and abroad. Ecobillz has a strong mission to help large organizations adopt advanced digitization using AI in order to increase productivity with process automation and data mining with the aim to save trees and time—thus transforming businesses to become more responsible.
What inspired you to co-found Ecobillz? Were there specific challenges or needs in the market that led to the development of this platform?
Dr Ameet Patil: Today, one of the key prerogatives of the world is to save nature and give the planet a new lease of life. A lot is being done by manufacturing industries to curb carbon emissions. However, how can industries like hospitality, hospitals, retail, etc, that do not directly emit carbon, make their contribution to eco-friendly practices? The answer lies in paper. These industries generate a huge amount of paper in the form of bills, invoices and documentation that is directly proportional to the number of trees being cut.
That’s where the idea of Ecobillz sprouted. As the company’s name suggests, we wanted to make bills ecologically-friendly. Instead of wasting paper on generating a meter-long bill for every customer, or creating tons of documentation, this documentation can be completely digitized, eliminating the need for paper. This can have a huge impact on nature.
When we first began, there was no competition in this area. However, the major challenge that we faced was that this product did not make a great business proposition. The whole idea of ‘saving paper to save money’ might sit well with environmentally conscious individuals but not with businessmen who believe in generating quick profits. But we too were adamant.
We previously had the experience of starting several startups with a commercial outlook. But this time we wanted to do something that will not just have a mass appeal but will do good for the environment, society and nature at large. With some initial hiccups to convince clients, we formed a solid foundation where our customers are on board with the idea of being digitally enabled to be environmentally conscious.
Real-time digitization is a unique and innovative concept. How does Ecobillz leverage this technology to benefit its users, and what industries or sectors do you see it making the most impact?
Dr Ameet Patil: In most businesses, invoices are printed on paper first, which is then scanned to be stored as a digital copy. While one hard copy is given to the customer, another is stored for the company’s documentation purposes. Hence, each invoice generates at least 2-3 hard copies. This is where Ecobillz creates a huge difference.
Each bill generated is automatically digitized on the Ecobillz platform without the need to print any copies. By way of digitizing, it also builds multiple use cases, like digital workflow, customer experience enhancement, document management, system analytics, predictions, etc.
This is a great way to maintain an organization’s sustainability index and significantly reduce its carbon footprint. This platform is unique as there is no other organization providing this service. Once the customer realizes the huge cost benefit and ecological benefit involved, the adoption rates are faster.
Today, with the advancements of Ecobillz’s technology, any industry that has a huge dependency on paperwork, for instance, hospitality, retail, QSR, etc, can adopt this platform.
Data security and privacy are significant concerns in the digital era. How does Ecobillz ensure the security and integrity of the data it handles?
Dr Ameet Patil: As an organization, we take cyber security very seriously. Ecobillz is certified under ISO 27001 and we are also Service Organization Control 2 Type 1 (SOC 2) compliant. Thus, our security standards are at par with the highest organizational standards.
When it comes to European customers, we store data in a proper encrypted standard format that is expected of any company adhering to these standards. This makes our platform fully secure for our customers.
The adoption of SaaS solutions is growing rapidly. What sets Ecobillz apart from other digitization platforms in terms of features, functionality, and ease of use?
Dr Ameet Patil: Firstly, our platform is extremely agile and flexible to adapt to changing requirements. This was proven during the COVID times when businesses needed digital solutions promptly to continue their operations.
Ecobillz was the only platform that quickly adapted to the global unprecedented situation and provided digitized solutions aiding organizations to continue their operations while maintaining the norms of the times.
Secondly, we are the one-stop solution that connects a lot of incoherent, disjunct and heterogeneous software components. Typically, large organizations use multiple software products. Ecobillz connects all these platforms together to provide the organization with a bird’s eye view of the business in one place.
A lot of our customers prefer our platform to bring in this seamless centralization and collation of data from multiple sources. Ecobillz automatically churns this data and presents a quick, agile, error-free and easy-to-comprehend analysis.
This real-time data of various operations in an organization generates instant analysis and results. This further helps organizations to make swift and informed decisions to change the course of organizational growth.
What challenges did you face in developing and scaling Ecobillz, and how did you overcome them?
Dr Ameet Patil: As mentioned earlier, convincing customers to adopt a sustainable and green initiative was the greatest challenge. However, when they experienced huge savings by going paperless, they comprehended the bigger picture.
Secondly, COVID-19 was a major testing time for the entire industry. Changes in regulations and new laws introduced by the government made it imperative for the industry to change its operations overnight. Ecobillz was among the very few companies that swiftly adapted to the changes and introduced solutions that helped organizations with their digital transition.
Ecobillz has always used adversities to test its limits and grow to overcome the challenges.
In the tech industry, staying ahead of trends and technology advancements is critical. How does Ecobillz stay innovative and up-to-date in a fast-evolving digital landscape?
Dr Ameet Patil: We have a presence in various industries. For instance, in the hospitality industry, we are part of the multiple Hospitality Groups/Forums where we get a sense of the upcoming trends in the industry. Similarly, we are connected to various universities including the UK’s prestigious Oxford University.
These universities carry out advanced future-ready research, which helps us gauge the technological developments that will move the industry globally. This enables us to leverage the know-how with new products and be a step ahead of the competition in this fast-paced digital landscape.
What are the main benefits that Ecobillz offers to small and medium-sized businesses versus larger enterprises, and how do you tailor your services to cater to both?
Dr Ameet Patil: As of now, our customer base is comprised of larger organizations, however, it is not the end of the road for us. The complexities of a large organization are distinctly different from mid-sized businesses.
Gauging the demand for our products, we are working on a new version of our solution called Ecobillz Lite. It is a lighter version of our product which will help mid-sized businesses to transition to the digital evolution. This solution will be exclusively customized to cater to the specific challenges of smaller businesses and will be available within their budget range.
What advice would you give to aspiring founders looking to develop and launch their own SaaS-based solution?
Dr Ameet Patil: One piece of advice that I would give to any SaaS founder, which has also been our key learning, is to identify the right customer early on. This trendsetter customer can help the industry to adopt your services faster, giving you an edge over the industry and helping you to achieve the ace position in the market. This strategy also helps you to have a proven product with the trendsetter that other customers can adopt.
The second most important advice is to build scalable solutions. The market is constantly changing and so are its needs. Solution providers should be ready to quickly update and upgrade their products to meet the needs of the market.
What is your success tip for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Dr Ameet Patil: Success is a relative term. It is more important to focus on customers’ success. If your customer is successful, they will ensure that you are successful. Thus, whatever you do with your product, whether it is giving support or giving a new feature, make sure that the customer is happy. If you work towards that, you will always be successful.
As our conversation with Dr Ameet Patil draws to a close, it becomes evident that Ecobillz is not merely a platform but a testament to the power of innovation fueled by a deep-rooted sense of responsibility. The convergence of SaaS technology and environmental consciousness exemplifies a paradigm shift in how we approach digitization.
Dr Patil’s vision for Ecobillz reflects a commitment not only to business efficiency but also to global sustainability. The interview encapsulates the essence of Ecobillz’s journey, leaving us with a glimpse into the future where technology and environmental stewardship seamlessly coexist, driven by the passion and ingenuity of pioneers like Dr Ameet Patil.
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