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Zoho Pushes Further into Unified Communications with the Release of Trident

The News: Zoho has unveiled an integrated bundle of existing and new communications services delivered in a single application. The Trident app for Zoho Workplace provides a single experience for contacts, email, calendaring, tasks, notes, messaging, calls, and meetings. The blog post announcing Trident can be found here.

Zoho Pushes Further into Unified Communications with the Release of Trident

Analyst Take: Over 16 million people use Zoho Workplace for work and communications. Zoho’s release of the Trident app is intended to reduce the time and effort lost in clicking between and moving content between all the apps.

Zoho Workplace is a bundle of productivity (word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation) apps, communications apps (chat, calling, meetings, email/calendaring) along with cloud storage and local mirroring, and a social intranet.

Many of the apps involved have existed for years, but they’ve added some compelling new pieces as well. Zoho Voice (the PSTN-connected Calling function) is now fully features and integrates with team collaboration and the meetings tool. Zoho Webinar and Blue Pencil, an AI-based grammar tool, are new to the suite.

The bundle itself is impressive. It becomes even more so when you consider the price of $3 or $6 per user per month, depending on a few capacity choices buyers must make. This price doesn’t change with the introduction of the new Trident app.

Trident acts as a single front end for effectively all but the productivity tools in the Workplace suite, which gives the user some very nice productivity gains in reduced context switching, and there is a heavy dose of integration with the productivity apps to further reduce app switching and lost cycles. Trident shows some real benefits with a common search and AI assistant as part of the Trident framework helping to further reduce the friction as users go about their work. Most of the major UC vendors have consolidated their communications services into a single app at this point. What makes Zoho’s Workplace notable is their pairing of UC and productivity apps.

Our team at Wainhouse segments the enterprise communications market into Phone-First, Meeting-First, and Productivity-First providers. The Productivity-First segment, consisting of only Microsoft and Google until now, owns more than half of the total market. There is tremendous power in the bundle of apps people use to collaborate and the apps people use to create artifacts of that collaboration, but the moat around that business is deep. The amount of engineering muscle required to create all of that software and the marketing and sales investment required to compete with the giants makes for a really tough investment thesis.

Zoho was founded as AdventNet in 1996, initially building and selling a CRM solution. In 2005 they launched Writer, a word-processing app and their first cloud app. By 2006 they had a full productivity suite and started working on UC, launching Meeting in 2007. They’ve continually invested in the existing suite and added to it, and now have 45 apps covering almost every conceivable business need and have been slowly incrementing their way from SMB use cases up to the enterprise.

With more than 75 million total users and 16 million using their Workplace applications, Zoho is in a remarkably good place to become the 3rd Productivity-First entrant in the top tier of communications platforms. They slowly crossed the moat surrounding the productivity business, and it will be incredibly interesting to see how the market reacts.

Disclosure: Wainhouse Research, part of The Futurum Group family of companies, is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Wainhouse Research as a whole.

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Image Credit: UC Today

The original version of this article was first published on Wainhouse Research.

Author Information

Sean is a Senior Analyst strategically focused on cloud-based collaboration and its impact on worker productivity and human connection. Sean provides research on market sizing and forecasts, product and service evaluations, and end user/buyer insight.

Sean is a trusted advisor to and assists industry vendors and enterprises with workplace communications and collaboration strategies, market entry and product assessment, product portfolio analysis, and sales enablement services.

Prior to Wainhouse, now a part of The Futurum Group, Sean was the Chief Product Officer at PGI, owning the product strategy and roadmap for a full suite of B2B and B2B2C SaaS communications products including an enterprise grade phone system, audio meetings, video meetings, messaging, video webinars, high touch attended audio conferences and massively scaled video webcasts.

Sean holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from University of Colorado, Boulder.


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