Company profile: Zoho Corp
Network Middle East profiles the global provider of cloud-based business applications
What is your company’s history-including Middle East History?
Zoho Corp was founded in 1996 as AdventNet. Starting with network management solutions, the company diversified its product portfolio, and now sells under three brands—WebNMS (for network management solutions), MangeEngine (for IT management solutions) and Zoho (for cloud-based business applications).
The company has never raised any money or taken a loan; it remains private and has been profitable since inception. The bootstrapped model has allowed Zoho to grow at an organic pace, and stay financially independent. It currently has more than 7000 employees and 12 offices around the world (five of which were opened in the last one year), that serve over 45 million users.
Zoho Corp has taken several measures to expand and strengthen its position in the MEA region. Zoho opened an office in Dubai in 2018 to serve as the regional headquarters. Zoholics, its global user conference, has been hosted twice in Dubai. Recently, Zoho unveiled its Arabic website; its apps already have Arabic language support. Integration with PayTabs, a local payment gateway popular in the region, has further helped local Zoho users do business in the region with ease.
What is your company’s core competence?
Zoho is the operating system for business—a single online platform capable of running an entire business. With more than 40 apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools, Zoho is one of the world's most prolific software companies.
As all the products are made on the same technology stack, they can be deeply integrated with each other, working as one. This advantage has helped Zoho offer its most innovative product suite- Zoho One, which comprises all Zoho products under single umbrella, with a single pricing.
What are some of the trends impacting your sector?
Privacy is a growing concern globally, and last year the European Union implemented what is considered the strictest law on privacy protection- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Zoho products are GDPR-compliant, and the company never had an ad-driven model, even in the free version of its products. Security and data privacy have never been an afterthought, but a part of building the product.
Another trend that we see in the SaaS sector is of consolidation. Single-product companies are being acquired by bigger companies to build up the latter's product portfolio. No business wants to buy 20 different products and then worry about integrating them. Suites are finding preference over single products.
Discuss the latest solutions from your company and the impact you see in the market
Zoho One has seen massive adoption in the MEA market, which isn't surprising because it packs an incredible value for a competitive price point. Business can run all their operations—sales and marketing, human resources management, finances, and productivity and collaboration—all on a single platform for the price of AED 100 per employee, per month (billed annually). These applications are pre-integrated and work as one, the data flowing from one software to another seamlessly.
These applications are pre-integrated and work as one, the data flowing from one software to another seamlessly.
What is your presence in the Middle East?
Our headquarters of the Middle East and Africa region is in Dubai. We have a strong and growing customer-base and partner network in the entire MEA region, specifically UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, and South Africa.
Describe some of your biggest successes in the region.
Zoho has seen a growth of over 100% in the UAE over the last year, the highest anywhere in the world. Our flagship offering Zoho One, has seen some tremendous adoption. The company also launched VAT-compliant local versions of its accounting software, Zoho Books in UAE, KSA and Bahrain. Zoho Books has been accredited by FTA and GAZT.
What are your regional goals for the rest of the year and beyond?
We will continue to launch new products, improving our existing offerings and announcing initiatives for the region. We are also translating more and more pages for our Arabic website, and will soon have Arabic UI in our products as well. We will continue to grow our partner network and expand our presence in other GCC countries.