BY Onome Amuge & Rosemary Iwuala
Zoho Corporation, one of the world’s most prolific software and global technology companies, has launched Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package in Nigeria, aimed at helping small-scale businesses to achieve significant strides towards digital transformation, which is fast becoming a prerequisite for businesses to thrive in today’s world.
The privately-held company, which recorded an impressive growth rate of 74 percent last year in Nigeria, also announced that it will be opening an office in Lagos and hiring more employees locally for customer-facing roles.
The announcements were made on the sidelines of the company’s first user conference in the country held in Lagos.
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Commenting on the development, Hyther Nizam, president, Zoho MEA, noted that enterprise technology is prohibitively priced and inaccessible for many small businesses across the country, creating the need for the company to bring its global expertise to support the creation of self-sufficient economic clusters as part of ‘transnational localism’ strategy where its growth is underpinned with that of the Nigeria region.
Nizam, who described Nigeria as Zoho’s largest and fastest growing market in Africa, said the company is committed to eliminating the technology adoption barrier facing small businesses in the country by helping them kickstart their digital transformation journey, that will in turn help them stay nimble and accelerate adaptation to changing market conditions.
“We started by offering our products in local pricing, hiring locally and now by opening an office here to cater to our growing customer base, even as we continue to grow our partner network in the country,” he added.
Speaking on the relevance of the Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he said businesses utilising the package will have access to standard support available to them, adding that the package will provide new users a collection of 10 leading apps at a 50 percent discount starting from July 1, 2022 for a period of three months.
This, he explained, allows access to knowledge base, community forums, a self-service portal, email support, remote assistance, live chat support and telephonic support during working hours five days a week.
Other services introduced by the company to foster the growth of the Nigerian digital ecosystem include:
Zoho Workplace: A unified platform that brings together collaboration, productivity, and communications tools and integrates them into other business processes. Centred around its secure business email (Zoho Mail), team chat (Zoho Cliq), and online office suite (Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, and Zoho WorkDrive), Zoho Workplace features eight tightly integrated apps that hybrid teams can use to get work done and collaborate with each other easily. The platform also includes video conferencing (Zoho Meeting), an enterprise town hall (Zoho Connect), AI-based search (Zia Search) and other security and administrative tools, enabling businesses to communicate and collaborate effectively in a hybrid environment.
Bigin: A pipeline-centric customer relationship management (CRM) platform designed specifically to help small businesses keep track of their customers and improve customer relationships without having to worry about high costs or complicated features. It can be set up in 30 minutes, with options to create multiple pipelines with customisable stages based on a company’s operation style. Repetitive tasks can be automated, and prospects can be engaged through email, web forms, online meetings and Twitter. It also provides contextual dashboards to help businesses to have an overview of their sales. Bigin also integrates with popular third-party business apps, such as Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Zoom, Mailchimp, etc.
Zoho Invoice: This platform allows businesses to create and send customised invoices, manage multiple projects, track time, and bill customers accurately. They can also improve their cash flow by automatically sending payment reminders to customers, and get paid online faster through debit/credit cards and PayPal. In addition, businesses can record and track expenses by simply scanning their expense receipts and also track tax levied on every transaction, allowing customers to view their invoices, projects, and make payments through the self-service portal. Zoho Invoice is available for free globally and enables businesses to have complete visibility of their finances with access to 30+ real-time reports on metrics such as best-selling products, pending payments, and more.
With over 75 million users around the world, the company’s digital offerings are available on mobile apps for iOS and Android devices and designed in such a way that businesses can integrate Zoho Invoice and Bigin to sync customer information and items, thereby eliminating the need to enter redundant information. They can also contextually integrate with Zoho Workplace applications for increased collaboration and productivity.
According to Nizam, the products are available at local pricing, helping businesses to avoid cost fluctuations due to changing dollar value, which is beneficial in the current turbulent economy.