Friday, 11 September 2020 07:00

Zoho Workplace takes on G Suite and Microsoft 365

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Zoho Workplace combines collaboration, productivity, and communications tools and integrates them into other business processes, the company claims.

Zoho Workplace includes email, messaging, audio and video conferencing, as well as a cloud office suite with shared file storage.

Collaboration, AI, search, and other services span the entire suite, purportedly allowing people to work better and more effectively than ever.

Workplace's nine components are:

Mail – includes the ability to make audio or video calls, edit document attachments, e-discovery, backup and recovery, and support for S/MIME certificates, multi-factor authentication, unusual login alerts, and custom spam rules.

Cliq (messaging and audio/video calling) – supports group and individual calls, custom statuses and collaboration with external stakeholders, and integrates with enterprise mobility management systems.

Meeting (videoconferencing) – schedule recurring or one-off meetings, Meeting is integrated with Zoho Projects, Bookings, CRM, and other products.

Connect – collaborate with other people working on the same projects. Integrates with human resources systems such as Zoho People.

Show (presentations) – includes an organisation-wide slide library and the ability to connect live data to slides. Show integrates with ‌Atlassian, Unsplash, and Humaans.

Sheet – includes a wide range of spreadsheet functions. Features include track changes, convert images to spreadsheets, and fetching contextual data from Zoho and third-party applications.

WorkDrive – cloud storage with unified search and file syncing. WorkDrive integrates with Zoho Directory.

Writer – includes an AI-based writing assistant, automation features such as automative signature and approvals, and the conversion of documents to fillable forms.

ShowTime (web training) – make training presentations and share them with learners.

Zoho says it does not allow any third-party trackers to monitor usage behaviour and never sells any data to ad-based companies, and that owning its entire technology stack the company is able to "offer the most secure experience to its 50 million users without any compromise on data privacy. Zoho Workplace users have the assurance that their data is confidential and protected, and only users themselves maintain ownership of that data."

A recent joint study by Zoho and Telsyte found half of Australian small businesses are likely to continue operating remotely after COVID-19 restrictions lift.

"When we started five years ago, we were a team of 20 people but that's now increased to up to 46 plus contractors, spread across the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. We did often fall into the trap of working in our isolated bubbles but Zoho has definitely improved our global communication," said Print IQ global director of sales Adrian Fleming.

Zoho's chief strategy officer Vijay Sundaram said "The nature of work has undeniably changed, and Workplace has grown to meet that change. Businesses, both globally and in Australia, are not only looking to solve a collaboration problem, they are looking to solve a custom invoicing problem or sales enablement problem or support problem.

"Collaboration platforms need to facilitate better business outcomes, not just improve productivity. Workplace, through pre-built integrations with powerful business apps and context and continuity across applications, devices, and departments, stands alone in having the vision and functionality to meet the broad business needs of today."

Zoho Workplaces prices start at $5.50 per user per month for the Standard version and $9.90 per user per month for the Professional version with more storage and access to Meeting, Connect and Showtime. Annual subscriptions are cheaper.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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