Chandrashekar LSP, Head Evangelist for Zoho in Canada
Zoho Corporation recently announced that it would be launching a Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP). What was the inspiration behind the launch of this program and how do you believe it will help small business owners succeed?
The Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) launched two weeks ago is a subscription fee waiver program for all Zoho customers with 25 or fewer employees. We have customers worldwide who have spent time and effort to set up workflows and process automation on various Zoho tools to run their business in auto-pilot mode. The business optimization and efficiency Zoho has enabled its customers should not be held hostage to the crisis that has impacted economic output worldwide. Small businesses have always trusted and backed Zoho in good times, and ESAP is our way of showing gratitude.
What would you say has been the biggest impact that the COVID-19 has had on small businesses and do you believe they will be able to recover from it?
As I write this, the biggest hurdle in front of an SMB is gone. The 75% wage subsidy plan by the federal government will ensure that businesses can pay and retain employees instrumental in building the business. The wage subsidy lifeline should now force business sectors not affected by social distancing to think in terms of a business continuity plan.
Creating the infrastructure and processes to keep remote teams to be engaged, productive and deliver will be crucial. Some businesses may be doing it already; some companies will have to adapt to this new normal.
Additionally to launching ESAP, Zoho also launched Remotely which helps businesses to be able to work remotely in a more efficient matter. How do you believe Zoho will impact the way that small businesses can work?
Remotely is a bundle of 11 cloud-based applications designed to address the following challenges an SMB will encounter as they try to adopt remote work:
- Internal Communication – Zoho Cliq will help peers to communicate via instant messaging, audio calls and video calls
- External Communication – Zoho Meeting will allow businesses to communicate with other stakeholders in the business like vendors and customers via audio and video conferencing.
- Training – Zoho Show will help businesses to conduct remote training for internal and external stakeholders.
- Project Management – As teams go remote, a project management application is crucial to track timelines, deadlines and deliverables. Zoho Projects can help businesses to manage projects using waterfall methodology, and Zoho Sprints can be used to manage agile projects.
- Remote Support – The Zoho Assist application will allow secure access to remote assets such as servers, desktops and laptops to troubleshoot and resolve employee/customer issues. Zoho Lens mobile app will enable front line workers in the field to turn any android/IOS smartphone into a streaming device. The stream is fed to the Zoho Lens desktop console for the remote-office technicians to work collaboratively for issue resolution.
- Office Productivity – Remotely also includes a cloud-based document management system – Zoho Workdrive – and collaborative content creation tools like Zoho Writer (word processor), Zoho Sheets (spreadsheet) and Zoho Show (presentation).
Remotely is the most comprehensive toolkit for remote work.
Zoho has been launching several programs and services to help entrepreneurs survive during this difficult time. Can you tell us more about Zoho’s commitment to helping businesses and supporting the small business ecosystem?
At Zoho, we firmly believe that the SMB segment is highly underserved. The efficiencies and lower total cost of ownership of cloud computing have not been fully extended to SMBs by the industry in general.
A relentless focus to innovate and be the technology company to create affordable business software – this is our commitment to the SMB sector.
On a final note, what advice can you give to entrepreneurs so that they can remain successful and overcome any challenges in this difficult time?
The COVID-19 crisis is challenging every aspect of our lives. Social and economic status quo stand challenged. Our healthcare system stands challenged. Now is a time to cultivate empathy for everyone around us; if you can make a difference for a business or an individual, do it. Do not hesitate. The good karma will follow you. Think about sustainability and building or re-architecting your business to last. A new normal is coming our way, prepare for it and embrace it.