The cloud software firm plans to double the number of its data centres from the current eight in the next two to three years.
Zoho Corp, a cloud software major, is looking to conquer more overseas markets with its Zoho Office Suite. Betting big on its bouquet of products which have 40 million users worldwide, the Chennai-based company is also inching towards achieving the tag of a 10,000-employee company.
Sridhar Vembu, CEO, Zoho Corp, said that it is on track to achieve the target of 10,000 employees by 2020. The company will be adding close to 1000 employees this year to its existing manpower of 7000. Zoho, known as the operating system for business—a single online platform capable of running an entire business—recently launched the new version of Zoho Office Suite for business customers and individual users.
Zoho recently acquired ePoise Systems, a hiring automation product start-up, for an undisclosed amount. Set up in 2013 by Sachin Agrawal and Bishan Singh, the Bengaluru-based ePoise automates multiple screening steps for each role including a set of assessments leading to a video interview, thus bringing significant efficiency to the hiring process for high-volume recruiters.
“The combination of Zoho’s global footprint and depth of product portfolio and ePoise product capability and talent will add value to our customers,” said Vembu. “We are open to such tech-focused acquisitions. We look at whether the acquisition aligns with our existing product portfolio, and if there is a cultural fit at a team level.”
Talking about the employee addition, Vembu said that the hirings would be mostly for Indian operations. The company plans to scale up its manpower at its Tenkasi facility from the current 300 employees to 1000 people in another 18 months. “We are looking at increasing seats in Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu and Renigunta in Andhra Pradesh,” he said. The company has offices at Amsterdam, Singapore, Dubai and Australia, while it is opening a new office in Mexico.
Zoho is expanding its presence to new overseas geographies, with a plan to doubling its data centres from the current eight in the next two to three years. Different countries have different data protection regulations, and European norms are somewhat stringent and Zoho has to comply with those guidelines, said Vembu.
The overseas expansion, Vembu said, will have the company looking at Brazil, South Africa and other markets. It has overseas offices in California, Austin (US), The Netherlands, Singapore, Dubai, Japan and China. “Our business outside of US has been growing much faster than the US business and hence the increased oveseas push,” he said.
India and China are the top two markets for Zoho. It is now looking at getting business from large enterprises in India. Zoho claims that it is the only cloud vendor which has majority of its business coming from outside of the US. The US business accounts for close to 45% of overall business for Zoho now, from 60-70% a few years ago.
Zoho which has launched two data centres in India last year, is planning to set up one data centre each in Australia and New Zealand during this year and would look at setting up more in countries like Japan later. It currently has eight data centres—two each in US, Europe, India, and China. “We are going to have data centres in all the major geographies. We will probably double our footprint in two to three years, because we have many countries passing laws on local data centre,” said Vembu.
Zoho’s Office Suite, including Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show and Zoho Notebook, compete against Microsoft’s and Google’s Office Suite products and the company is seeing increased usage of these products, both as free individual versions and paid versions. The conversion from free registration to paid usage is around 4% to 5% compared to the industry average of 1% to 2%. Zoho has enhanced the user experience in these products through its Artificial Intelligence-powered assistant Zia and has offered integration to the other Zoho products, Vembu said.
Explaining the company’s approach towards customers, Vembu said the message is starting to resonate that at anytime, any place one wants to get work done, there is a product from Zoho available. “That is our branding. These are not challenges you can solve in one year, but when you chip away at it for a few years, customers start to respond,” he said.
Pointing out that integrations are much weaker in other players, he said he has put together Zoho One with a very aggressive package and those who discover the Zoho Office Suite will come to like it. As per Alexa rankings, Zoho stands at around 370, among the top 400 websites, said Vembu.