Using Zoho Workplace for gaathastory- my Six Month Review

Feature Image- Review of Zoho Workplace by Amar Vyas

Welcome to Day Number twenty Seven of my Blogging Challenge. For today’s SaaSy Sunday, read my brief review of Zoho Workplace. It has been six months since we took the subscription. We have used Zoho Mail for over 6 years for our business. Around July last year we took the subscription for Zoho Workplace, a suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) tools for office communication, document management and customer connect. I was thinking of posting my impressions on using Zoho Workplace sometime next month. Last Sunday, I had written about Zoho Writer, therefore publishing the below review at a later time made sense. But a conversation on an Internet Forum changed that.

You can listen to the audio version of this post by clicking below

In This Post

a. Zoho as an alternative to Google Workspace

b. Review: Zoho Workspace

c. Advantages of Zoho Workspace

d. Limitations

e. Pricing Plans

f. Wrapping it Up

New: Read the Summary of this post in Hindi

Zoho As an alternative to Google WorkSpace

Ever since Google discontinued some features of the Legacy (free) WorkSpace accounts, there was a lot of discussions around alternatives. Zoho, Office365, Nextcloud-hosted office and communication suites, were some of the options widely discussed. Incidentally, last July we had taken the subscription for Zoho Workplace for use at gaathastory, my podcasting startup, after precisely a similar research for alternatives.  Recently, a user at one of the Internet Forums I visit (LowEndTalk) posted they were looking to migrate from Google WorkSpace to Zoho. They had asked for feedback from others about the service. Majority of folks had used or tried mostly email, a few had tried office apps offered by Zoho. I began posting my reply, and it quickly became a mini-review. Inadvertently, I had written the draft for today’s SaaSy Sunday post before I knew it!

Zoho mail is decent but the way they auto filter mails for inbound (ZMNewsletter and ZMNotification) is at best an acquired taste. Forwards to other domains have worked well, apps (Desktop and mobile/tablet) are good. Didn’t require support for email so cannot comment on that aspect. For some features we did reach out to support, which I have mentioned below. Note that I also use MxRoute for this blog/portfolio site and some other domains.

Setting up Zoho Workdrive in Mac. Blog of Amar Vyas

Setting up Zoho Workdrive in Mac (Intel)

Review of Zoho Workplace

In 2019 we used Zoho One for a year. The subscription was under the Startup India program, under which gaathastory is registered and recognized. It had more features that we needed, and we decided to move to something lighter. In July last year we took subscription for a suite of tools called Workplace.The screenshot below shows the apps under this suite.

Below are some of the apps under this suite which we have used a fair bit over the past six months, and my really brief review or feedback.

  • Zoho Cliq is good for in-team (Chat) communication. Sort of Telegram-ish.
  • Meetings app for external calls/ meetings. Though we still use Zoom because most partners are still using it.
  • Zoho Writer is great. Last Sunday I spent some time with it. I really liked it. It has a short learning curve, and it’s a rather peppy writing app.
  • You will get confused between “Cloud storage” drive : Zoho Docs and Workdrive. They are trying to migrate/ promote customers to the latter. To me, the Value Proposition is not clear.
  • CRM / invoicing I don’t use personally – a colleague used to.In a later post I might add this section.
  • Sites is okay-ish, offers some tools which good for a quick mock up. Maybe also for first year of business while traffic builds up. The new Landing Page feature seems interesting.
  • Likewise for other features: Project, Campaigns (Newsletter) and Social (Social media scheduling, etc.)… good resources to have.
  • Last but not the least, Zoho Notebooks is something you will love to use! It is a great alternative to Evernote or OneNote.

 Notebooks created by Amar Vyas using Zoho Notebooks

Screenshot of books I have created using Zoho Notebooks

Advantages of Zoho Workplace

In a nutshell, Zoho Workplace is great for a startup, a small business or a collective, who may not have a dedicated resource to manage their SaaS applications. It offers a single login for multiple applications,has a  clean interface (though some are a bit clunky) and service is stable. I did a quick walkthrough with my team, and we were up and running with Cliq and Zoho Docs in under 30 minutes. Those are big plus’es in my opinion. Our subscription costs a little under 100 US Dollars – or around 7,200 Rupees including GST.

Downsides of Zoho Workspace we experienced

  • Some apps have overlapping features that can cause confusion (Meeting and Webinar for example, in addition to Drive and Workspace mentioned earlier).
  • Onboarding is not the smoothest and support is slow.
  • They have too many apps on the offer. (67 different products at the last count). Granted they have categorized them into “groups” – Sales and Marketing, CRM, Communication, etc.. but even if we use 10 percent of these apps,it still means 6 or 7 installations on mobile / tablets. And if we spend 15 minutes on each of the 67 tools to understand what they do, it will take a whole day.

Pricing plan for Zoho Workplace- base plan

Pricing for our Zoho Workplace Plan.

Pricing Plans and features of Zoho Workplace

Pricing plans for Zoho Workplace- August 2021

Pricing plans for Zoho Workplace (August 2021)

Wrapping it up: Six months of Using Zoho Workplace for gaathastory

Zoho Workspace is great, in spite of its limitations. Frankly, they are not a deal breaker for us, but may be for others. The documentation is quite clear, steps for setting up/ configuration are easy to follow. I use Linux, my colleagues use Mac, my cofounder prefers Windows. We have a mix of IOS and Android phones in our small team. Many of the apps from Zoho work on all these systems. There is also the Web interface, of course. One thing to note- and I like- their webinars are sometimes led by the developers. Good way to groom talent by letting them take ownership of the products, and respond to queries/ create walkthrough tutorials.

Below image is in the Webp Format. If you cannot see the image, then your browser does not support this format. Upgrade message for Zoho Workdrive

 

इस पोस्ट को हिंदी में पढ़ें

मेरी ब्लॉगिंग चुनौती के दिन संख्या सत्ताईस में आपका स्वागत है । आज के “सासी रविवार” के लिए, ज़ोहो वर्कप्लेस की मेरी संक्षिप्त समीक्षा पढ़ें । हमने अपने व्यवसाय के लिए 6 वर्षों से ज़ोहो मेल का उपयोग किया है । हमें ज़ोहो वर्कप्लेस सदस्यता लेते हुए छह महीने हो गए हैं । Zoho Workplace, एक “सास” है (Software As a Service – सॉफ्टवेयर एक सेवा के रूप में) । मैं अगले महीने ज़ोहो वर्कप्लेस पर अपने इंप्रेशन पोस्ट करने के बारे में सोच रहा था । पिछले रविवार को, मैंने ज़ोहो राइटर के बारे में लिखा था, आप इसे यहाँ पढ़ सकते हैं

 


About this post
This post was written as a part of #bloggingchallenge by me, Amar Vyas under the theme of SaaSy Sunday.
Wordcount: 950. Time taken for writing: 1 hour 30 minutes.

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