Zoho captures office software market share in SA

Andrew Bourne, Zoho regional manager for Africa.

Indian-based software firm Zoho has set its sights on taking further market share from US-based giants, Microsoft and Google, in the office suite market in South Africa.

Founded in 1996, Zoho is a multinational technology company that makes software and web-based business tools. It is best known for the online Zoho Office Suite.

In an interview with ITWeb, Andrew Bourne, Zoho regional manager for Africa, says Zoho Workplace was launched globally in 2017.

“Since then, the office productivity suite – which include mail, chat, docs, calls and tasks – has seen good growth and traction in SA and is among the top five products in the country.”

He adds that to keep up with customers’ growing needs for collaborative tools that can unify workplace communications in a single platform, the company earlier this year launched Zoho Trident, a native desktop application for Zoho Workplace.

Bourne explains Trident combines collaboration, productivity and communication experience in one place, which reduces context switching for customers.

Zoho, which claims to have 16 million users globally, is challenging a market entrenched by US multinationals Microsoft and Google.

According to Statista, as of February, Google’s office suite controlled over 50% of the market share for major office suite technologies worldwide.

It notes Microsoft’s Office 365 is the other major competitor in the market and recently lost the lead to Google Apps.

Statista points out that office suites such as these fall under the overarching category of productivity software. This includes everything from time management software to e-mail clients, and is built to facilitate efficient team work and coordination within professional and academic environments, it explains.

Zoho also competes against OpenSRS, GoDaddy, Freehostia and Namecheap, among others.

“We’re already seeing an increase in users migrating to Zoho Workplace from Google and Microsoft’s collaboration offerings,” Bourne says.

“In 2022, migrations from Google and Microsoft nearly doubled globally. This uptick in migration is owing to three primary reasons – increasing business demand for a unified and powerful solution, rising standards for user privacy and value when compared to other collaboration platform providers.”

He adds that Zoho Workplace allows users to mix and match between different paid plans without any minimum or maximum cap of users.

Bourne notes the Zoho suite of applications also has the capability to co-exist with other platforms in the market through a hybrid set-up.

“This allows organisations to transfer a portion of their users to Zoho Workplace, while retaining the use of Microsoft or Google by another group of users. Besides, Zoho Workplace is available in local pricing.”

Like most tech companies, the COVID-19 pandemic was also a boon for Zoho.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the digital transformation process for companies of all sizes. We have experienced a significant surge in inquiries for our cloud-based e-mail and productivity solutions, as well as a substantial increase in usage across our chat and video conferencing applications. Even in the current post-pandemic era, we continue to observe this trend.”

As business grows, the company recently announced plans to open its second office in SA.

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