Zoho has revised its cloud-based file management platform, placing more emphasis on team collaboration and providing a single document repository across its entire portfolio of applications.
The company, which sells a variety of productivity applications for offices and business lines, has offered Zoho Documents as the primary file management tool for storing and accessing documents such as spreadsheets or presentations, similar to Google Drive, Dropbox. Or Microsoft OneDrive.
Although Zoho Docs included sharing capabilities, it was intended more for individual users. With the launch of WorkDrive this week, Zoho wants to make it easier for colleagues to collaborate on documents created in its Office toolkit: Writer, Sheet and Show.
To this end, Zoho has created Team Folders, mainly shared workspaces to store files related to a specific team or project. Once added to a Team Folder account, a user accesses files by default, with a graded range of role-based permissions for accessing documents; some users can only view and comment, for example, while others may be allowed to edit and share files more widely. Document updates will create alerts, allowing users to track project development.
The new team folders in Zoho are basically shared workspaces for storing files related to a specific team or project.
WorkDrive integrates with other Zoho collaboration tools, such as its Slack Equivalent Cliq, while Zoho Office applications built into WorkDrive allow for joint creation and editing. Other features of WorkDrive include antivirus scanning, encryption, file conversion, and the ability to share files with users from outside organizations.
«Building Work Drive is team-based,» said Vijay Sundaram, Zoho’s strategy director. «The ability to share, from working together on documents to the workflow that moves documents between people on the team, is encapsulated in that structure without the user doing anything explicit.»
WorkDrive also serves as the file system behind Zoho applications, including CRM, marketing, and service office software. The advantage here, Sundaram said, is that companies that use the Zoho suite can work with related documents in a single repository that users can easily search and access.
«There is a growing need to create and manage document and content that transcends user silos, from departmental teams to cross-company use cases,» said David Mario Smith, founder and director of InFlow Analysis. «The greatest need is for this capability to be deeply integrated into business-critical processes and applications for true contextual collaboration.»
Zoho also announced updates to various tools in the Workplace product suite. These include the integration of the Zoho artificial intelligence assistant, Zia, with Spreadsheets, which provides information about datasets, as well as the ability to scan data tables into images and convert them to spreadsheets. Users can also ask Zia to save content to the Notebook app, search for notes, and set reminders using voice commands. There are also new bot building capabilities for the Zoho Cliq chat tool.
WorkDrive, which includes access to Zoho Office tools, is available on its own, starting at $ 2 per user each month. It is also included in Zoho Workplace subscriptions that offer video conferencing, email and team chat apps; That subscription starts at $ 3 per user each month.
In addition to introducing WorkDrive, Zoho also announced that it now has 50 million business users in 180 countries and 10 data centers that support 45 different applications.