Think of cutting-edge software and chances are it has been developed in the high-tech environs of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, or maybe in Bengaluru, India’s hub for technology companies. Now, imagine a new-age software that has been built entirely in rural India! Do not be astonished but a team of 150-odd IT professionals at Zoho Corp has achieved this feat. It has developed, what is claimed to be the industry’s first context-aware helpdesk software, Zoho Desk, in Tenkasi, a small town in the foothills of the Western Ghats, situated in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
“Zoho has challenged conventional wisdom so many times. We built the first software products from India when IT services were the rage and established them in the global market,” says Sridhar Vembu, CEO, Zoho (formerly AdventNet), the company behind the Zoho suite of online applications. He co-founded AdventNet in 1996, and has been CEO since 2000.
Prior to AdventNet, Sridhar worked as a wireless systems engineer at Qualcomm, where he was fortunate to work with some of the leading minds in wireless communications. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University.
“We are now showcasing something that has never been done before: The first software product created in rural India, world-class in its refinement, competing with the best,” he tells FE, adding that this epitomises Zoho’s ‘Made in India, Made for the World’ ethos.
What started out five years ago as a small team of three engineers has blossomed into a team of over 150 people, based in rural Tenkasi. Zoho officials highlight that in an industry where companies have come to believe that the only location that matters in the cloud is the few square miles of downtown San Francisco, Zoho is proving that a determined and sincere group of people can build path-breaking products anywhere.
A hot commodity
Zoho Desk uses customer data from past interactions and from other Zoho products like Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects to organise tickets and intelligently present information to agents so that they can better understand a customer’s problem and resolve it efficiently. Zoho Desk helps companies deliver the right solution at the right time. Its clean user interface packs innovations like Work Modes that help agents send context-aware responses, the Headquarters dashboard that provides the visibility managers need to make better decisions, and the Team Feed to help the entire company participate in customer service.
Company officials reckon that when companies started providing online customer support, they did so through email. As a result, even today, most helpdesk products look like personal email in-boxes. Customers have evolved from just needing their problems resolved to expecting more transparency and quicker responses, but software hasn’t kept up. “Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to grow. With Zoho Desk, we aim to provide companies with the context, understanding and tools to focus on customer happiness in every opportunity,” they point out.