On 19 and 20 September 2019, the Zoho team visited Sydney with the Zoholics customer conference. Every year, this conference gets bigger, and better. With this year a number of BIG announcements from the Zoho team with regards to the already excellent value offer of Zoho One. In this post we will break down the major announcements - and the implications for Zoho One customers.
The new Zoho One experience
Just before the Zoholics conference in Sydney, Zoho has rolled out the new Zoho One admin panel - here is a breakdown of the key new features and announcements of things accessible to the market today.
In the current release of Zoho One, Zoho has provided a service called Phone Bridge. This connects the Zoho applications to a phone system of choice (there are many delivered pre-configured in the market place). Prior to this release, customers had to connect the various applications separately to their phone systems - now it is a central configuration with full contextual pop-up information during a call.
Australian Data Centres
Zoho has opened two data centres in Australia, one in Melbourne, and one in Sydney. The average small business would not notice much of a difference, but it does open up the Zoho solutions to organisations affected by Data Sovereignty laws. Of course, latency will be improved, but that was never really an issue with the Zoho architecture.
Zoho One Dashboard
The Zoho One Admin Panel now includes a dashboard giving insight into the application usage and adoption, as well as security status. The administrator can in one view see the successful and failed logins, inclusive of IP address, protocol, and geography. To enhance security, Zoho now includes Yubikey support for Two Factor Authentication (alongside the already supported Zoho OneAuth, SMS, and Google Authenticator).
The Blockchain is everywhere, and now also it is making its entry into Zoho One. The first blockchain implementation in Zoho is within Zoho Sign - setting a timestamp of the signature on the blockchain, further solidifying the legal proof of signage with the immutable ledger of the blockchain. The good news is that this technology is adopted in Zoho, the GREAT news is that it does not require any knowledge of how blockchain works for the user or administrator. Simply toggle the switch to enable it.
Conditional assignment easing user provisioning
User provisioning became a lot easier in Zoho One, where you can set conditions that determine which applications and what access is provided for each user. This will save a lot of time when managing a large user pool within the Zoho application - allowing Zoho One to edge closer to enterprise deployment.
Orchestly for your organisation workflow
Zoho has released Orchestly for organisation workflow management. This is added to all Zoho One users with no extra charge. This first release is great for scenarios that need a workflow, but do not have a system assigned to it. An example could be organising a company trip, where tasks are planned, approved, executed, etc - but not necessarily covered in the day to day operational software. Where Orchestly will truly shine, is in the potential future releases, allowing customers to create a multi-application spanning blueprint to cover their entire business process. Orchestly has tremendous potential, but remains a niche application until the integrations are delivered.
A sneak peak at the things to come
Great going to a conference and see what is already available... Even greater to see what's next. Zoho made some major announcements on what they are working on right now - things to expect in the coming months to your Zoho One deployment.
Zoho Directory Service
Zoho has always played well with others. Even if there is a Zoho equivalent service, Zoho makes integration with Google G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, DropBox, etc. a breeze. Soon, Zoho will allow a single sign on (SSO) experience to a number of third party applications, straight from the Zoho One application panel. What's more, you can enable the same strong security of Zoho Two Factor Authentication as a requirement to these applications, strengthening your corporate security, while at the same time providing ease of use to your users.
Zoho Mobile Device Management
Zoho is bringing some of the functionality of the excellent Mobile Device Management suite from ManageEngine (a Zoho Corporation company) to Zoho One. Where ManageEngine is primarily aimed at corporate and enterprise customers, the Zoho One implementation will allow scaling down to the small and medium sized business as well (of course, scaling up remains possible). What does this mean for Zoho One customers? Imagine you have built an asset that is your data - now you want to hire a new person, let's say a sales representative, and you provide a mobile phone (to protect your customer data - you keep all copies of your customer data on YOUR assets). With Mobile Device Manager you can manage the phone, the applications installed, ensure the opportunities for security flaws are minimised. In case of need, you can remotely wipe the device of all sensitive information.
What hasn't changed
Zoho One is an all-you-can-eat buffet of business applications for a simple to understand, affordable price. With all these announcements, one may expect a price change. That is not the case. In fact, Zoho One still is priced exactly as it was at launch (there has been a correction in the Australian dollar pricing due to the conversion to US dollar). What also has not changed is the fact that you can have a 30-day free trial.