Despite the sophistication and range of business software available today, business still haven’t unlocked the promised productivity gains, argues Raj Sabhlok, President of Zoho.

“Businesses are not leveraging technology to the extent that they can be. That’s a real problem,” Sabhlok told media at the company’s Zoholics conference in Austin last week.

“We are in unprecedented times in terms of the amount of software we have, the categories of software, yet we are not getting to productivity benefits in our businesses.”

The problem, Sabhlok argued, is disparate systems make automation difficult.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we have all these product categories — a plethora of options to choose from — we’ve got beautiful user interfaces but at the end of the day we aren’t putting it all together,”  he said.  

Raj Sabhlok, President, Zoho

“One of the things that we see in organisations is the use of disparate technologies that are not seamlessly put together so we aren’t seeing the productivity gains. Business application software falls squarely into that problem.”

Sabhlok contrasted the enterprise software market to the launch of the iPhone and Apple’s control of an ecosystem that includes hardware, software and apps.

In the case of the iPhone, the control created an environment where consumers enjoyed the productivity gains. Business software needs a similar seamless environment, Sabhlok said.

Zoho’s approach to solving that problem is Zoho One, a suite that includes more than 45 apps, priced at “$1 a day per user”. The pricing for Australian businesses using Zoho One is AU$35 per employee per month when billed annually.

Announced in 2017, Zoho One is designed to be the operating platform for businesses, Zoho-built apps for sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, HR, productivity, collaboration, and business intelligence. Businesses can also build their own custom apps to add to the suite.

“I think [Zoho One] is incredibly powerful, it is addresses this big problem we have in terms of business productivity and growing that productivity,” Sabhlok said.

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