Cloud-based CRM and business application provider Zoho is enhancing its suite of SMB and midmarket products with advanced analytics and AI capabilities
Zoho, the provider of cloud-based CRM and business management applications, is looking to take the mystery out of analytics by adding advanced reporting features that are enhanced by its new Zia artificial intelligence assistant. The enhancements to its Zoho CRM Plus suite will expand the value and benefit to SMB and midmarket users, as well as open new opportunities for partners.
The Lowdown: Small and midsize businesses struggle to get the maximum benefit from business management applications such as CRM. Zoho, which offers a suite of applications tailored specifically for smaller businesses, is tightening the integration of its CRM, sales management, marketing, customer support, and operations offerings with advanced analytics and an artificial intelligence assistant called Zia.
The Details: Through Zia, Zoho is attempting to make it easier for smaller businesses to recognize opportunities and problems in their sales and operations. Through the combination of analytics and AI, Zoho CRM Plus will correlate the data generated by the different sales, marketing, and operations applications to alert managers to issues before they become problems.
The Impact: Zoho, which provides competitively priced applications, could unlock greater levels of productivity, customer service, sales, and profitability through its Zia and analytics enhancements. Too often, small businesses lack the resources or expertise to capitalize on business management tools, such as CRM, marketing automation, and customer service tracking.
Background: The power of Zia and Zoho Analytics across this new Customer Experience Platform, coupled with significant updates to Zoho Desk, Zoho Social, and SalesIQ, will allow businesses to unify all customer-facing teams on a single interface and leverage real-time, contextual intelligence pulled from the front and back office across all customer touch points, with just a single action. The platform sets a new standard for seamless
The Buzz: “Companies now recognize the importance of AI in creating positive experiences for customers. The focus now has shifted to bring AI across an integrated platform, creating a consistently positive experience across and throughout the customer journey,” said Brent Leary, co-founder and partner, CRM Essentials, an Atlanta-based CRM consulting firm. “With CRM Plus, Zoho has introduced a compelling platform where sales, marketing, support, and operations are built on one technology stack, allowing its intelligent assistant, Zia, to access data across all of its applications, automatically providing teams with valuable insights and enabling them to deliver better customer experiences across all channels.”
Channelnomics Point of View: Zoho’s enhancements to its Zoho CRM Plus is in keeping with how other business application vendors such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft are including greater analytics, reporting, and, in some cases, AI to their platforms. That said, using the term “artificial intelligence” in this context should come with a caveat, as it’s not truly AI. Rather, Zia and similar applications are more like sophisticated algorithms that trigger alerts based on predefined parameters.
Even if the AI is limited, however, Zoho is creating tremendous opportunities for partners. Smaller businesses have neither the resources nor the expertise to properly implement and tune business management suites such as Zoho CRM Plus. Partners are needed to provide the setup, customization, training, and on-going support required to maximize the value of Zoho CRM Plus. Zoho sees a role for partners to facilitate and cultivate the customer experience.