infoTECH Feature

October 24, 2011

Zoho: Integration Across Applications Key Benefit of Online Business Software Suite

Businesses of all sizes tend to use similar types of software products, including e-mail applications, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, accounting software, and desktop office suites (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation).

Traditionally, the need for these different tools meant purchasing various software products from a bunch of different vendors, and then having to go through the challenge of integrating those applications for efficient workflows.

That’s a time-consuming proposition, and one that theoretically is outdated with the introduction of online services like Google (News - Alert) Documents. But, frustratingly, integration continues to be an issue.

“Businesses should be able to run online without having to worry about integration and dealing with multiple vendors,” said Raju Vegesna (News - Alert), evangelist for Zoho, during a TMCnet video interview with Erik Linask (News - Alert), TMC Group Editorial Director.

The integration problem is exactly why Zoho (News - Alert), a developer of web-based business software solutions, has focused on creating an extensive selection of business applications, all of which easily integrate with one another.

“Instead of dealing with multiple vendors, you can come to Zoho and pretty much run your business online in a very efficient way,” Vegesna said. 

He added that the company introduces a new integration almost every week, and now has more than 30 different applications available.

At Zoho, each product team is run as its own mini company, with a mandate to develop a best-in-category product. Only after that product is developed, and deemed a solid offering on its own, is it integrated with the rest of the Zoho suite.

These products also integrate with other applications, like Quickbooks. Users who choose one or more Zoho products are not mandated to stay within that universe for all their software needs. And, although Zoho’s office suite does compete with Google Apps, the company is also the largest software provider in the Google Apps Marketplace, having created about 15 different apps with Google.

Vegesna said the most popular Zoho app is CRM, with e-mail and office suite also doing very well.

Unsurprisingly, the recent growth in mobile device usage has affected how Zoho develops and deploys its products. Many of its apps are now available as mobile web versions, with native versions also available for iPhone (News - Alert), iPad and Android devices.

Vegesna noted that the technology for web apps has not yet caught up with the richness of native apps on mobile platforms, so for the foreseeable future Zoho plans to continue both development tracks.

Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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