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Zoho Powering Organizations’ Asynchronous Hybrid Work Needs With Upgraded Collaboration Platform

Zoho has announced new updates to its collaboration software ecosystem to meet organizations’ productivity needs in a post-pandemic world centered on asynchronous hybrid work. Long-standing Zoho applications at the core of these improvements include Zoho Projects (project management) and Zoho WorkDrive (content collaboration), with organizations achieving additional benefits by using Zoho Sign (digital signature) and Zoho Notebook (note taking).

Specifically, three major upgrades to Zoho Projects include app customization to fit specific industry verticals, enhanced workflow automation, and Zoho’s proprietary Zia AI for natural language processing capabilities (alongside an OpenAI integration).

Enabling app customization to suit different verticals has increased demand for Zoho Projects; importantly, this demand is also fairly diversified across multiple sectors, demonstrating the malleability of Zoho Projects across varied hybrid work use cases. Especially in manufacturing and construction, Zoho Projects benefits frontline, office, and remote workers by using remote assistance via an augmented reality lens. Notably, Zoho’s largest growth sector was with manufacturing, at 53%. When combined with Zoho’s WorkDrive, Sign, and Notebook solutions, further features offered include asynchronous screen/audio/video recording, contract signing, and document collaboration.

Info-Tech Research Group’s 2024 Tech Trends report identified that organizations find value in mixed reality collaboration solutions in vertical-specific contexts. Zoho Projects aims to meet these mixed reality needs, with use cases including providing manufacturing guidance, constructing a new environment, and rendering product design in 3D. Given these capabilities and competitive price point, Zoho saw a 78% increase in user migration to its platform in 2023; these users are largely coming from Microsoft and Google who do not have these above features in one singular offering.

"Zoho’s collaboration ecosystem, especially with Zoho Projects and Zoho WorkDrive, is powering asynchronous hybrid workflows for multiple and complex industry sectors.”

Zoho is also responding to increased market interest for workflow automations and generative AI within project management tools. Users can expect a robust interface for Agile project management and rules-based automation to streamline operations. Moreover, while Zoho’s Zia AI already provided a natural language processing interface to search across Zoho’s ecosystem, users can now use an OpenAI integration with Zia to enhance their experience. With a chat window interface, users can inquire about project updates, quickly discover where files are, and ask other relevant questions directly in Projects.

Analyst Perspective

Hybrid work models are now well-established and Zoho is right to focus their efforts on how its Projects and WorkDrive solutions can support this new standard. Moreover, upgrading these applications reinforces Zoho’s ability to innovate and meet business needs of the future. SoftwareReviews’ data shows that users of Zoho Projects and Zoho WorkDrive are highly satisfied with their capabilities for project management and content collaboration; Zoho Projects has an 86% reviewer score for satisfaction of cost relative to value and Zoho WorkDrive is a market leader in SoftwareReviews’ document management quadrant.

Of course, Zoho Projects and Zoho WorkDrive are two of many solutions offered by Zoho, fitting into a large ecosystem of 50+ applications. Organizations can achieve additional benefits by combining Zoho Sprints (for focused Agile project management) and Zoho BugTracker (for bug tracking software).

However, the extent of how far organizations should include these additional applications risks scope creep. When exploring Zoho Projects, Zoho WorkDrive, and others, organizations should make sure they have well-scoped use cases to avoid over buying on applications that may not be used as frequently.

Organizations should perform an application portfolio strategy review prior to considering a move to any collaboration software. This includes ensuring that business processes and needs can be supported with relevant technology and identifying any gaps or overlaps in functionality. The benefit of any acquisition of or switch to a collaboration software depends on whether there are clear use cases and change management potential. When that time comes, organizations should consider Zoho to be a major contender in the project management software market.

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