Zoho updates its collaboration tools to help with asynchronous work


Zoho is updating its extensive range of collaboration products with new AI, workflow automation, and industry-specific functionality to, it said, “promote unified project management and support productive asynchronous collaboration for global businesses whose employees, customers, and partners operate on different timetables.”

Four core collaboration tools — Zoho Projects, Zoho Notebook, Zoho WorkDrive, and Zoho Sign — are receiving new features, some of which are industry-specific.

Zoho Projects, the company’s project management platform, receives natural language processing powered by the company’s AI engine, Zia, to enable users to easily search across Zoho’s apps. Then, within Projects, Zia Insights is able to create custom charts and analytics dashboards to generate task recommendations.

Zoho’s dynamic note-taking app, Zoho Notebook, is also benefitting from Zia’s capabilities, adding smart summarization, task management, automatic tagging of topics, data analysis from notes, visual chart creation from notes, and calendar creation for next steps. Notebook is closely integrated with Zoho Projects and WorkDrive, enabling users to contextually take notes, share, and collaborate with colleagues.

Workflow automation

Zoho Projects, WorkDrive, and Sign now can access Blueprint, Zoho’s visual workflow automation technology, enabling users to create scalable, repeatable project workflows. In WorkDrive, this new automation enables functions such as legal policy or contract review and approval, streamlining data collection for seamless onboarding, consistent HR operations, and more transparent task management.

Zoho Sign, the company’s digital signature and ID verification application, now offers the ability to create reusable templates, sales orders, HR documents, legal documents, and more, which can be automatically routed to appropriate team members. It also now offers knowledge-based authentication for financial technology companies, and controls for US FDA 21 CFR Part 11 to support the healthcare and life science industries. Zoho said this lets businesses average 80% faster document turnaround compared to requesting physical signatures.

What’s new for industry-specific workflows

Zoho has developed features and workflows to specifically serve several key industries.

For construction, Zoho Projects is now integrated with Zoho Lens, the company’s augmented reality remote assistance technology, enabling managers to request remote access to onsite workers’ remote cameras and help them troubleshoot problems, as well as ensuring up-to-date equipment records.

In health care Zoho WorkDrive’s new Data Loss Prevention (DLP) security controls enable users to manually flag or automatically check and classify sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, customer data, financial records, or intellectual property, and protect it from being accessed or shared by unauthorized entities. Zoho Projects includes industry-specific customizable workflows, and Zoho Sign provides HIPAA-compliant digital signature.

With Blueprint’s integration into Zoho Projects, managers in manufacturing companies can chart and manage their process pipeline, as well as automate steps in processes such as prototype testing, phase gates, or inventory management. The Lens integration enables managers to remotely monitor and troubleshoot operations.

Aviation industry users can access hybrid project management aligned to DMAIC process methodology, as well as being able to create custom unified dashboards to provide a single source of truth.

Analyst Thomas Randall, director of AI market research at Info-Tech Research Group approves of Zoho’s direction.

“Zoho is right to focus on industry-specific applications of AI and collaboration tools,” he said in an email.  “It enables organizations to more readily see how new capabilities in Projects, WorkDrive, and so on, could generate distinct business value if adopted and how ROI can be calculated.”

Zoho Projects costs US$5 per user per month, excluding taxes; Zoho WorkDrive is US$3 per user per month; Zoho Notebook US$4.99 per user per month; and Zoho Sign US$12 per user per month. All four are immediately available, the company said.

Previous Story

California Civil Rights Department Unveils New Proposed Regulations on Employers’ Use of AI and Automated Systems

Next Story

Enterprise buyer’s guide: Desk booking software for the hybrid workplace