Approximately five years ago, we set out to make enterprise-grade software affordable to businesses of all sizes. Why? Because we felt the business software landscape was getting too crowded, the pricing too inflated, and piecing together software from multiple vendors was akin to solving a tough jigsaw puzzle. So, we launched Zoho One as an all-in-one suite comprising 35+ cloud applications for an unbelievable price.
From there on, we kept expanding the app suite—investing in deep R&D, adding more applications, and building tighter integrations—thanks to constant feedback from our early customers and partners. Then came the pandemic throwing businesses totally off balance, pushing the need for digital transformation more than ever.
Today, Zoho One caters to 48,000+ businesses. It makes us gleam with joy when businesses express how they continuously overcome adversities and stay resilient by leveraging the extensive capabilities of the Zoho One suite. We want to take this 5th anniversary moment to stroll down memory lane tracing key milestones and product highlights of Zoho One's path to being the operating system for business.
Zoho One ZO17 to ZO22: building the operating system for business
ZO17: Zoho One launches as a comprehensive business suite
In 2017, "AI," "BI," and "digital transformation" were buzz words reserved for larger businesses. So we set out to unleash a software suite to level the playing field for businesses of all sizes.
Zoho One was soft-launched as a software suite comprised of 35+ business applications and a centralized admin panel, at a hard-to-believe price that worked out to $1/day for every user. From sales, marketing, support, HR, and finance to productivity, collaboration, email, and analytics, the suite included applications to run an entire business with prebuilt integrations between apps. Zoho One saw good adoption in its first year with 12,000+ businesses joining. These first business customers expressed a substantial reduction in operations costs, and relief from the pains of maintaining apps from multiple vendors—the "integrations spaghetti," as we called it.
ZO18: Enhanced AI & BI services layer, more apps
In 2018, major updates were pushed in Zoho One to uphold our commitment to deliver unmatched value. AI and BI services were enhanced across the applications suite, providing businesses with contextual insights by blending data spread across silos.
With five more applications added to the suite from launch and the expert guidance of the Zoho Concierge desk, switching to Zoho One helped businesses replace almost 650 different pieces of single-vendor software. As icing on the cake, the Zoho One mobile app was released to get work done on the go.
ZO19: 3 new services, more apps, enhanced developer tools
In 2019, Zoho One pushed the concept of being an all-in-one business solution to the next level. It was a year of transformative change and extensive digital adoption, paving the way for more accessibility to SaaS tools in the market for all businesses. The next-generation updates of Zoho One strengthened the unified user experience. We were unified on every level: experience, apps, services, storage, and infrastructure.
Marketing automation, a streamlined marketing solution that automated all marketing processes, was introduced into the suite to eliminate time-consuming manual efforts for converting leads into potential customers. Zoho One also provided service-level solutions like YubiKey and PhoneBridge that could integrate with 50 applications. A curated list of all Zoho Creator apps in Marketplace and third-party extensions was also introduced to maximize "the" Zoho One experience.
ZO20: Enhanced admin panel, remote work apps
In 2020, the onslaught of Covid-19 threw the world and many businesses off balance. Businesses that used to sit on the fence about going digital were on the lookout for maintaining business continuity online, on the cloud.
With remote work applications already in the Zoho One arsenal, businesses were able to adapt to remote work swiftly. A simplified yet comprehensive tool that tracked productivity, sensibly managed employees, and provided video conferencing tools became indispensable during the lockdown. Zoho One readily assisted these needs with functional admin panels that regulated access levels based on roles and updated data integrity policies while providing a single unified platform that suited remote work.
With a notion to empower businesses of all sizes to adapt to hybrid/remote work, feature updates were pushed monthly. Zoho Bigin, a lightweight CRM for small businesses; Zoho Bookings, a meeting scheduling app; and Payroll (in select regions) were added to the suite. Advanced data and access management features were pushed in the admin panel to enable admins to maintain advanced security measures. Zoho One made remote work adaption nimble.
ZO21: Launch of unified user interface
By 2021, the need for businesses to digitize their business operations became a top priority. The ability to draw insights from data, identify bottlenecks, predict risks, and continuously optimize business processes had to be developed to sustain in turbulent times. Using software from multiple vendors and investing time to make those apps work in unison proved to be cumbersome. It was a perfect time to launch the biggest update to Zoho One, code-named ZO21.
ZO21 sported an all-new unified UI with an easy navigation bar, powerful dashboard module, and a completely centralized admin console as the standout updates. It also included five more applications—DataPrep, Learn, Lens, TeamInbox, and Commerce, along with mobile device management—without escalating the pricing, something uncommon in the business software space. ZO21 was a big leap towards providing the most unified software platform experience for all sizes of businesses.
Zoho One as the future of workplaces
Bracing for unpredictable times is the only predictable trend in running a business. This calls for continuous monitoring of customer experience, sentiments and keeping an eye on business operations from end to end. Business owners need to focus on business goals and arm their teams with the right tools to function as a unit and not spend their valuable time managing multiple software tools. We believe comprehensive software suites and platforms will help businesses navigate the ever-changing future.
In 2022, we are committed to building the most unified software platform for businesses. We intend to push even more sophisticated updates for Zoho One. Keep your eyes peeled for UX level enhancements and many more exciting widgets.
Onward and upward!
Designs by Manoj, Lokesh, Karmal, Aniruddh, Pravin, Suriya and Prakash