News this morning that Zoho CRM is launching an enterprise edition.

I’ve always had a little bit of scepticism about enterprise editions – knowing what I know about enterprise it seems that the only different between SMB and enterprise editions is that the latter need to be slower, more needlessly complex, double up lots of functionality and put in place some filters to disconnect the technology from its actual users. Yeah I’m kind of dubious about enterprise! That rant aside let’s look at the offering…

First the new functionality;

  • Role-based Security Administration
  • More product Customisation & Data Administration
  • Multi-language Support
  • SSL Support for Professional & Enterprise Versions
  • Integration with Zoho Sheet
  • Improved Business Functionality including the ability to;
    • Automatically update Stock information once the Purchase Order is approved
    • Find and Merge the duplicate records in Vendors module
    • Convert Quote to Sales Order or Invoice in a single click
    • Convert Sales Order to Invoice in a single click
    • Add account information automatically while creating quotes/orders/invoices from the potentials
  • Wiki-based Context-sensitive Help

Here is a schematic of the way the role-based security and authentication works;

All this is levelling the playing field with SFDC, but as Zoli points out, Zoho already has a breadth of functionality that is already wider than Salesforce’s, resulting in an (almost) ERP offering.

An interesting look sat the ZohoCRM vs SFDC comparison can be seen in this chart the most telling comparison for those who don’t want to trawl through detail is the following, giving the details for a 5 person organisation.

As another interesting aside to the announcement this week about the SFDC/Google apps integration, Zoho has plans to integrate its writing, mail and other  business apps in its CRM offering – thereby kneecapping the SFDC/Google offering (at least into SMB anyway).

So…. what does it all mean? Well I can’t but wonder what the game plan is for Zoho. As released a couple of days ago, Zoho has already rebuffed a takeover discussion with Salesforce, their rationale was that the cultural fit just wasn’t there (which is probably right). So what is the plan – while this offering moves more towards enterprise, it’s hard to imagine enterprise feeling comfortable jumping onboard en masse with a relatively small, relatively unknown such as Zoho. The SMB space is hard to monetize (and when you give stuff away free at the start it’s pretty hard to revert to a monetized model).

So I don’t see where all this is heading – Zoho is fantastic, the breadth of their offerings, their speed of development and their reaction to what else is going on in the space – its the business stratgy that has me wondering.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Interesting post. I too, feel questionable about their long term impressions as a competitor for salesforce.com We will just have to see the success in their business strategy.

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