It feels like it’s been a decade since the last Zoholics in 2019, and the energy in London to kick off the Europe series of Zoholics definitely showed the excitement of everyone getting together for events again. A sold-out venue with 450 attendees, the opening keynote speaker, was Zoho’s Head Europe, Sridhar Iyengar, that opened with the following quote:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us
Based on one of his favorite books, he didn’t sugar coat the very real times ahead of us as he followed the quote touching on:
- The Pandemic
- The Market Bubble
- War in Ukraine
- The Great Resignation
- Food Shortages
- Currency Fluxes
- Energy Crisis
And you know what, he was right. These events shouldn’t be ignored and are on all of our minds. They expose the fragility of our global systems, policies, and beliefs. Extreme globalization and financialization of businesses have opened the eyes to many that these systems might be great for the consumer and shareholders, but what about the disruptions they cause to supply chains and social inequalities?
With all of that being said, now is the time to make a difference, and that is Zoho’s commitment for the next 25 years to come.
The Path Less Traveled
If you follow Zoho, you probably caught a glimpse of their “25 Years of Zoho” campaign, and in case you missed it, we have an interview with Zoho Chief Evangelist Raju Vegnesa worth checking out. Following the 25 Years of Zoho theme, Sridhar Iyengar follows suit with what’s in store for the next 25 years of Zoho.
Taking “The Path Less Traveled,” Zoho has achieved the following over the last 26 years:
- 12k+ Employees
- 55+ Apps
- 180+ Countries
- 80 Million+ Users
- 500k+ Customers
Three aspects of Zoho’s strategy govern the ways they think and act – business, products, and culture & people. Here is our takeaways from each that were discussed during the opening day.
“We are committed to build a resilient business for the long-term.”
Zoho’s business model is definitely unique, to say the least. And it seems to have paid off. Staying private all these years has given them the freedom to be true to their own values and deliver that to their partners. By “operating with a social intent that puts purpose above profits”, their business has been able to thrive, and customers reap the benefits.
As they continue the next 25 years, their promise to continue offering products that provide tremendous value to customers at an affordable price is crucial. “We can be affordable and yet profitable. These are not mutually exclusive.” Building long-term relationships with customers helps pave the path to the longevity of an organization.
On top of all of this, their constant commitment to R&D and owning all their own tech stacks is huge for savings and security. Sure, there have been a few bumps along the way, but I think we can all agree for those of us that have been with Zoho for a while that the constant improvements and direction they are going have been worth riding out those bumps.
Also, touching on “transnational localism,” which started in 2018, Zoho now has 26 offices, and 33 spoke offices around the world and announced the first office to be open in the UK in Bletchley.
All of these different business approaches, from picking office spaces in non-prime real estate markets to owning their own tech stack, and on top of all of that, staying privately owned has allowed Zoho to pass all of these savings onto all of us, the consumers. We personally want to give Zoho a huge shoutout for making this commitment and business culture for the years to come.
“Breadth, Depth, and Customizability.”
Zoho’s commitment to owning and improving all aspects of its tech stack isn’t changing. Not to mention their R&D, with 25 patents in the last 3 years and 13 more pending, their dedication to delivering us all the tools we need to succeed isn’t slowing down for the years to come. “Our focus is to continue adding value to every function of your business by accomplishing more with less”.
What to expect? Some of the data shared was confidential for now, but more great improvements to bundles, more apps, and some great new features coming to core products.
Culture & People
“Culture is the glue that binds it all.”
One of the attendees from this year’s Zoholics during the last Q&A session commented that it was amazing that Zoho flew so many of their team members from their offices in India to this year’s event. What makes Zoho different then most corporations is its culture and dedication to its employees. Here are some of the unique approaches Zoho takes with its staff:
- Office locations are built around communities. Rather than forcing people to travel to work, they set up offices in rural areas allowing people to be close to family and build up their communities.
- “A global mindset that nurtures local ecosystems and talents”
- From Zoho Schools to in-house training programs, Zoho allows anyone that shows the right attitude and adaptability to be given a chance.
- “We believe in ‘experiential learning, where making mistakes is part of learning.”
- Setting up employees with secure careers for life to grow and feel valued.
- “We are able to enter new markets or emerge stronger in existing ones as a result of our people spending years learning and mastering their craft.”
The Future Looks…
So, how does the future look with Zoho? In our opinion and the feeling of Zoholics, excellent. They are built for the long-term and are financially sound. With continual R&D driving innovation and empowering businesses with the tools they need they provide a service beyond profits in mind. And having survived multiple economic cycles, Zoho only thrives in times like these. Cheers, and check out next week’s article on the various product highlights to look forward to in the world of Zoho.
Seeing you all here, certainly is the best of times.Sridhar Iyengar – Zoholics London 2022