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Review: ZohoDay 2021

On February 24-25, 2021, Zoho held its annual ZohoDay – a conference aimed at communicating the state of the business and product roadmaps. The event coincided with Zoho’s 25th year as a company, testament to Zoho’s long-term business approach: grow organically, have zero debt, zero external investments, remain cashflow positive, and plow cashflow back into the business and customers.

Zoho continued to grow during the pandemic. Registered users increased 22% between 2019 and 2020, customer and revenue growth expanded, and customer retention has gone up. Indeed, the customer churn rate has continued to drop year-on-year since 2015, with signs of plateauing at 2.9% this year. Zoho correlates decreasing churn rate with the boost of its ZohoOne suite, owing to users being locked into an ecosystem and deriving continued value from it.

Zoho performed well during the pandemic. Four reasons attributed to this success included (but was not limited to):

  • A six-month subscription waiver for small businesses.
  • The launch of “Remotely,” a suite of 11 free productivity products. This suite is still available.
  • “BackToWork,” a workplace reopening plan/app, which was free for a year.
  • Free global product training for all products, across regions.

While Zoho One encompasses a range of solutions, Zoho Workplace was a key focus, given the surge in remote work. Workplace apps saw increased usage between 225% and 2500% over the past year, with the largest Workplace customer totaling 30k seats.

Key points of focus for Workplace moving forward include building on Zoho Voice for telephony capabilities and improving workflow automation for documents.

Our Take

Zoho used its own software for ZohoDay, making good use of Backstage (for its interactive webinars) and Meeting (for its breakout sessions). Backstage performed brilliantly. Often, organizations that want to hold webinars or online events with large numbers of people still wish to have some audience involvement beyond Q&A text. Backstage enables the organizer to choose which participants can share their video and audio, with audience members also being able to notify the organizer that they want to speak by simply clicking the “Request Mic” option. This functionality is sorely missed in other solutions, especially for townhall use cases.

However, Zoho Meeting is still not as mature compared against leading web conferencing software. Certain features that have come to be table stake offerings in this marketspace were missing from Meeting. These included not being able to raise one’s hand, alongside the experience of ongoing jitter as the platform appeared to struggle with participant numbers approaching 50+. This jitter may be attributed to a lot of things – users do not always have the best internet at home, for instance. But given shared concerns in the chat about patchy audio and video, alongside Backstage’s seamless performance, it is reasonable to think some issues fell on the Meeting side.

Zoho is quick to respond to user feedback, though, and is less bureaucratic with implementing new features compared to Microsoft and Google. Indeed, Zoho Meeting still performs well in SoftwareReviews’ web conferencing data quadrant and should absolutely be leveraged if one is a Zoho user already or considering a Zoho suite. Bear in mind, Zoho Meeting is not a best-of-breed web conferencing software and its capabilities do not yet stand eye-to-eye with Zoom, MS Teams, or Cisco Webex.

Source: SoftwareReviews Web Conferencing Data Quadrant. Accessed: February 25, 2021.

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