How Zoho innovations are transforming businesses


As the Covid 19 pandemic ravaged businesses and restricted movements, firms were forced to find innovative solutions to enable them continue operations in the face of devastating disruptions.

Tech firms were hard-pressed to be at the forefront in developing remote working solutions. Among the firms that set out to find solutions for challenges posed by the pandemic was Zoho, which came up with a host of innovations such as Zoho Meeting, Zoho Remotely, Zoho Classes.

These innovations were informed by the dire need to find a way out of the disruptions posed by the pandemic. The Zoho Meeting enabled people to work with efficacy remotely amid the pandemic.

Zoho Remotely is a suite of cloud applications that allow companies to keep track of work and collaborate with teams. Zoho Classes allowed students to continue their education from home as schools remained shut. When it

“The peak of the Covid pandemic was a boom period for Zoho globally mostly because its products were easily available so people were subscribing much more,” said Zoho country manager Veera Kumar.

The tech firm founded by Indian billionaire Sridhar Vembu entered the Kenyan market in January 2021 to rival what the likes of Google and Microsoft were already offering.

It has more than 51 applications –all cloud-based- including email, finance, human resource, customer relations and marketing packages/bundles that small and medium enterprises require to run their day-to-day operations.

Zoho Workplace is the equivalent of Microsoft’s office suite or Google Docs suite featuring spreadsheets, word processor, chat and presentations.

Aside from the Workplace app, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) app has gained traction in the Kenyan market.

CRM which was the first app unveiled by Zoho in 2005, allows users to keep track of what was discussed in meetings, decisions made, deals sealed, those that are pending and gives reminders.

“With us, users are not compelled to download the app and can opt to use the browser directly then log in,” says Mr Kamar.

Customers can either subscribe to bundles featuring several apps or to individual apps based on their needs at any given time. Upon the lapse of a 14-day free trial, subscribers pay monthly or annually

Zoho customers are not compelled to endure adverts that usually clog mailboxes based on consumer behaviours. Such ads are as a result of a tech firm sharing subscribers’ data with marketers who then post targeted ads.

“We respect the privacy of our customers and we do not want to disturb them so we do not sell their data to someone else,” he said.

Zoho, which was founded in 1996 from a small room in rural India, started off as AdventNet before it changed its name.

The company has maintained growth and profitability, without needing outside capital, spreading its wings to 190 countries, roping in 85,000 users and employing 11,000 people.

Its first industrial customer was someone from Japan and this is what marked the firm’s expansion to the rest of the world. Today, some of its big clients include streaming service Netflix, electronics firm Samsung, cosmetics firm Loreal, airline Lufthansa, and motor firm Suzuki.

In Kenya, its customers include electronics maker Hotpoint, renewable energy firm Solargen, HotelOnline, Maridady motors and the Kenya Bankers Association.

The company owns 10 data centres across the globe. They are in the USA, Europe, Asia -India, China, Japan and Singapore- and Australia –Sydney and Melbourne.

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