Zoho Announces New R&D Investments and Surpasses $1 Billion in Revenue

Chennai-based global technology company Zoho Corporation announced on Tuesday its plans to open 100 network PoPs (points of presence) around the world in the next five years to provide users with a faster network. It also wants to double its investments in technologies such as blockchain and AI (artificial intelligence).

The company has surpassed $1 billion in revenue, with India leading the growth and regional annual revenue increasing by 77% in 2021.

Zoho, which spends three times its marketing spend on R&D and has received 25 patents in the past three years, attributes its growth to strong R&D capabilities across categories and markets, its diversified portfolio, and companies who choose unified offers instead of single products.

The company is looking at the adoption of products in different categories, with the top five offerings in India being Zoho One (the enterprise operating system), CRM Plus (customer experience platform), EX offering, led by Zoho People (management platform HR), Zoho Workplace (business collaboration platform) and finance suite led by Zoho Books (GST compliant accounting software).

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“At Zoho, we’ve always believed that technologists should be more humble,” Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder of Zoho Corp, said at the company’s annual user conference in Delhi. “After all, we can’t codify more food or compile new energy. Unfortunately, recent developments in our industry amid a rapidly deteriorating global economic landscape are a stark reminder of our own limits as technologists.”

“Fundamentals matter now more than ever, and our industry has to learn to reduce the friction of technology, to make technology much more affordable,” added Sridhar.

“We’ve also passed a major milestone of $1 billion in annual revenue. While growth has slowed quite a bit in 2022 compared to 2021, our diversified product portfolio and saving money for customers have helped us so far. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers by providing the highest quality offerings at very affordable prices,” he said.

Building technologies from scratch

Zoho has built its technology stack from the ground up, from applications and platforms to network and data centers, unified horizontally, vertically, and contextually. In order to deliver unparalleled value and user experience across the technology stack, Zoho invests in core R&D capabilities in addition to product development. These capabilities can be classified into: data, databases and data centers.

Data: For better data processing, Zoho is focusing its AI development around statistical machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing (NLP). The technology developed by the core R&D team is used in products for different use cases. For example, digitizing receipts in Zoho Expense (expense management tool) uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology, while Zoho Analytics uses mathematical techniques to analyze data, and Zia (Zoho Intelligent Assistant) uses NLP for AI conversational. Zoho’s AI technology translates into streamlined processes, greater ease of use, and increased revenue for users.

Database: To improve data processing, Zoho uses proprietary technology that runs on graphics processing units (GPUs). This allows Zoho to process data on its database servers up to 50 times faster. This results in a reduced latency period for users.

data centers: Zoho manages its own data centers; currently 12 worldwide, including two in India. It has about 14 network PoPs running its proprietary software. The software focuses on speeding up network access, which, in turn, results in faster connectivity for users who get real-time updates. This is particularly critical in communication and collaboration applications that are a must in a hybrid work culture. Zoho also has over 150 monitoring PoPs that allow users to monitor the performance of their websites.

“We are also working to add Indian language support for our AI and blockchain technology for universal validation. Our focus will be on technologies that businesses, regardless of size and location, will be able to use safely,” Sridhar added.