Zoho is selling its video calling app in as many ways as possible

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Zoho is selling its video calling app in as many ways as possible
Zoho/BI India
  • Zoho is building on top of the technology it has created over the last 25 years, which has allowed it to launch products faster. s.
  • Other companies are acquiring technologies, which is a big issue these days, says Zoho.
  • Zoho entered edtech with TrainerCentral, which is being pegged as a rival to “Coursera” and “Udemy”.
  • The company now has over 50 apps across every major business category — sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and more.
Sridhar Vembu-led software-as-a-service (SaaS) company Zoho has launched over ten new products and services in the past eleven months.

They promise to not only serve their usual enterprise clients, but also move into new verticals to serve an entirely new set of customers — from teachers to carpenters to small store owners and more.

But if you dig beneath the surface, Zoho has got most of its job done already.

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The company is building on top of the technology and adding features to products it has created over the last 25 years of its existence, which has allowed Zoho to enter new verticals with the speed of light.

“Zoho has spent the last two decades building a strong technology stack that extends from the infrastructure layer to the experience layer. All of Zoho's over 50 business applications are built on this stack, along with a common data model, Praval Singh, vice president of marketing and customer experience at Zoho Corp, told Business Insider.

He noted that by working on products for almost every business need, Zoho has acquired the skill-set and know-how to work on adjacent areas too. The company started working on an audio-video (AV) framework a decade ago and the same framework is being used for several Zoho products and offerings.

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Product/ServiceWhat does it do?Base technology
Zoho MeetingVideo calling facilityAudio-Visual technology
TrainerCentralEducation infrastructure to enable teachers to teach onlineAudio-Visual technology
Zoho Lens Smart remote assistant app, which allows technicians to set up online storesAudio-Visual technology
Zoho BackToWorkWorkplace readiness solutionLow-code platform Zoho Creator

Zoho’s argument is that it has built its own technology stack and while most other tech startups and businesses have built their offering through acquisition, it is a “growing problem in the industry.”

These already-developed audio-visual, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies make it easier for Zoho to build new products and enter newer segments much faster. For example, adding a layer of augmented reality and analytics ⁠to these allow it to offer remote assistance.
“The common framework also makes us agile. A new product that we start to work on can immediately use our existing micro-services (such as single sign-on) instead of having to reinvent the wheel,” Singh said, adding that Zoho’s leadership has been with the company for over a decade.
The company now has over 50 apps across every major business category — sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and more. The company claims to have 70 million users across 500,000 companies.
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Singh also mentioned that Zoho’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology such as natural language processing (NPL) gets adopted across products across these different brands of Zoho.

Zoho also launched Zoho Commerce in 2019 to enable retailers to set up their online shops and provide them with tools to construct websites, accept orders, track inventory and more. This offering will allow 100 product businesses to set up online stores in three weeks. The offering too has similar features like Zoho Lens and TrainerCentral.

Zoho’s latest offering is an attempt to take on Coursera and Udemy
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Zoho entered the online learning space with the launch of its latest business vertical TrainerCentral last week. It offers digital platforms to allow individual teachers, solopreneurs and experts in a particular field to offer training online.

TrainerCentral — which will be a sister to Zoho’s other brands ManageEngine, Zoho and Qntrl — offers tools like website builder, business administration console, dedicated learner portal, payments gateway, online conferencing and analytics for the trainers.

Aarthi Elizabeth, chief brand evangelist of TrainerCentral at Zoho, told Business Insider that Trainer Central is seen as a rival to “Coursera and Udemy” — which enables individuals and universities to offer their courses online.
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Coursera and Udemy have an entire catalogue of courses being offered online. Meanwhile, Zoho’s TrainerCentral offers a link to trainers who would like to hold live online sessions or classes with their students or customers.

Zoho does not have any content ownership, nor any control on the courses being offered to the customers. It simply rents its software for trainers to train online, at a subscription fee of up to ₹3,000 per month.

CompaniesMarket cap, as on December 7User base
Udemy$2.83 billionOver 35 million
Coursera$3.85 billionOver 77 million
Source: NASDAQ, Media reports
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The platform has plans to soon integrate with Zoho CRM (customer relationship management) to help trainers engage with leads better and convert customers faster.

“Zoho was already in the learning infrastructure space with ShowTime, which was a platform to host live virtual training sessions, webinars and web conferences, therefore already having an established community of trainers and learners, which is an advantage as they do not have to develop a user base from scratch. They are offering this same community a more advanced platform to grow their businesses and to learn better,” investment firm Blacksoil’s founder and chief executive Ankur Bansal told Business Insider.

Correction: A previous version of the story has been corrected to reflect Zoho’s point of view. The launch date of Zoho Commerce has been corrected to 2019 and changes have been made to show that TrainerCentral is not just a B2B product.
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