Zoho Launches All-in-One Business Suite for SMBs

Zoho has launched Zoho One, an all-in-one business suite comprised of more than 35 integrated Web applications and an equal number of mobile apps.

The suite offers single sign-on with centralized administration and provisioning. Each user has one secure account and access to the entire suite. An admin panel enables and controls access, which simplifies provisioning, access and audit.

Companies can define policies company-wide; control can be enforced centrally or delegated through service admins for individual departments and groups.

Zoho One costs US$1 a day per employee.

Zoho One’s Features

Zoho One offers the following:

  • Sales, marketing and support apps;
  • Finance, recruiting and related HR apps;
  • An office suite;
  • Mail; and
  • Personal productivity and collaboration apps.

Users can build custom apps for unique business needs and include them in Zoho One.

Zoho One has integration points across its applications that connect sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, HR and other activities, and enable communication and collaboration among colleagues, customers and vendors.

It has contextual integrations that bring in relevant information from other apps to improve an app’s effectiveness. Zoho One applications integrate with hundreds of leading third-party software applications.

“There’s no other vendor who puts together all the software needed to run a business,” said Vijay Sundaram, Zoho’s chief strategy officer.

Zoho One “eliminates the need to purchase multiple technologies to run a business from front-office to back-office … all for one affordable price,” noted Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

The pricing “can be five times lower than some competitors’ cost for one application,” she told CRM Buyer.

Zoho One’s other benefits include integrated admin capabilities and business process workflows, and a reduced learning curve, Zhou said.

Playing Well With Others

Zoho’s office suite interoperates well with Microsoft Office, Zoho’s Sundaram told CRM Buyer, but “customers aren’t compelled to use [it]. They could use Microsoft Office and still work with Zoho One for everything else.”

Another option for customers would be to use a CRM application from another company, such as Salesforce, and use Zoho One for areas such as finance, human resources, recruiting or marketing, he said. “The choice is the customer’s to make.”

Zoho One’s pricing “is still attractive if customers only use a few of its applications,” Constellation’s Zhou pointed out.

Zoho’s Target Market

Zoho One targets small and mid-sized businesses worldwide with annual revenues of up to $1 billion, Sundaram said. It “works across industries and segments and fits almost any type of business.”

Zoho itself runs on Zoho One, “so we know it scales to large and complex organizations,” he pointed out. Zoho has 4,500 employees located in several countries and serves customers in more than 200 countries.

Zoho One “may make sense for smaller businesses, or large ones that have a large population of mobile-only workers who only need limited desktop application functionality,” suggested Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.

“Part of Zoho’s pitch is the mobile or tablet as primary or only device,” she told CRM Buyer. “There is a sweet spot for Zoho here, but also a need to educate the market beyond just providing a very cost-effective solution.”

Push for Partners

Innovations in Zoho One include simple procurement, a single point of administration, and pricing simplicity “with absolutely no hidden costs or gotchas,” Sundaram said. The suite comes with two-factor and multifactor authentication built in, and its passwords are encrypted using some of the latest algorithms.

Zoho One “will draw comparisons to what Microsoft’s doing with Office 365, especially given Microsoft’s recent focus on SMBs,” observed Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

However, “Zoho currently lacks the partner system of Microsoft Office 365 and Google GSuite,” he told CRM Buyer. “In order to grow awareness and their customer base, Zoho now needs to focus on customer success stories and enticing partners.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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