Zoho has added a range of new tools to its Zoho One suite as it seeks to attract new mid-size and enterprise customers. The changes include a new phone bridge system, a workflow management app, single sign-on service and a blockchain time-stamping feature for Zoho Sign.
Zoho One was launched two years ago, taking on more expensive suites from the likes of Google and Microsoft, with the aim of becoming the “operating system for business.” It packages 45 apps spanning CRM, HR, business analytics, office tools and others, with subscriptions that start at $30 a month per employee.
There are now 20,000 businesses using Zoho One, up from 12,000 last year, with the company targeting uptake outside of its traditional mainstay of small businesses.
Zoho adds Orchestly to Zoho One
The latest addition to Zoho’s stable of apps is the workflow management tool, Orchestly, which lets managers and administrators design and run workflows without the need for coding skills. The aim is to help track processes such as on-boarding employees – particularly where input is required from staff across multiple departments.
Workers can also use the application to track progress of corporate issues.
“Let’s say you raise an issue as an employee, or maybe you submitted an expense report, and you want to know where exactly it is stuck,” said Raju Vegesna, Zoho’s chief evangelist. “You can go to Orchestly and look at the process and see where it is currently. And you can ask that person to approve it if you have any questions, because you have transparency and visibility into what is going on.”
Orchestly, which was launched in May, has a simple drag-and-drop interface and does not require coding skills to set up and manage workflows.
“Allowing business-oriented non-coders to quickly automate and monitor cross-functional processes is a significant development to the platform,” said Brent Leary, co-founder and partner of consulting and advisory firm CRM Essentials.
Orchestly integrates with Zapier and Zoho Flow; they connect to a range of third-party applications that can be linked to assign a task or trigger the completion of processes.
PhoneBridge and single sign-on
Other additions to Zoho One include the new PhoneBridge telephony system. This integrates more than 50 telephony vendors with Zoho’s own apps, enabling phone calls to be made directly from apps such as CRM, Zoho’s hiring and applicant tracking tool Recruit, and 20 others.
A new single sign-on (SSO) service will let users integrate third-party apps onto their Zoho account, with around 50 apps currently supported. Zoho said the ability to integrate with third-party active directory tools will be of particular use to larger organizations interested in deploying Zoho One. Admins can also enforce authentication with YubiKey dongles for added security.
Other features designed to appeal to IT staffers include a new admin panel with dashboards and reports to help monitor user activity, sign-ins and app usage.
Zoho Sign gets blockchain time-stamping
Zoho has also added blockchain time-stamping to its document signing app, Zoho Sign. This offers an additional level of verification to prove that a document has been signed, with a hash added to the Ethereum public blockchain
“It could be the signing a purchase of a house,” said Vegesna. “It is an extra layer of validation in terms of signed documents.”
He added this the time-stamping feature is just one aspect of Zoho’s efforts to incorporate blockchain technology into its suite of apps, with the company also investigating uses around its accounting software.
However, it is the SSO and telephony features that are likely to resonate with customers for now, said Leary.
“While I think the new blockchain features will definitely grow in interest over the new few years, things like provisioning and access management, identity and single sign on management and telephony capabilities are of more immediate interest to many enterprises today,” he said.
“But the fact that they are already articulating and delivering on their blockchain strategy shows that Zoho is very serious about addressing up market needs, both current and future.”
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