Zoho opens first office in Nairobi, announces strategic partnership

Zoho Corporation, a leading global technology company, marked a significant milestone with the official opening of its new office in Nairobi on May 23, 2023.

This expansion signifies the establishment of Zoho’s seventh office in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. The event coincided with the announcement of a strategic partnership between Zoho and the Institute for Small Business Initiatives (ISBI), which is part of Strathmore Business School (SBS).

Zoho also announced sweeping investments across its entire portfolio, strategically designed to fuel the company’s upmarket momentum and meet the evolving needs of mid-market and enterprise customers.

“Our humble roots in SMB have helped us systematically build powerful software with strong everyday usability,” said Veerakumar Natarajan, Country Head – Kenya, Zoho Corp. “With our strong DNA as a technology platform company, we have been able to steadily improve our maturity and readiness for large organisations by investing in adjacent areas. Our Nairobi office will enhance our account management capabilities and enable us to cater to the specific needs of large organisations.”

“Staying true to our roots, we have also partnered with ISBI, in order to help SMEs and start-ups in Kenya gain access to enterprise technology, and gain a competitive edge and quickly adapt to the changing market landscape,” he added.

Partnership with ISBI

Institute for Small Business Initiatives (ISBI) works largely with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya, helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses, streamline operations, and build a competitive edge. Zoho’s partnership with ISBI will aim to digitalise the operations of the local SMEs by empowering them with the latest enterprise technology. As part of the partnership, all the SMEs that are or have ever been associated with ISBI will be granted access to Zoho One, a unified platform of 50+ business applications, that seamlessly connects diverse business functions including customer relationship management (CRM), finance, human resources, project management, collaboration, marketing, sales, and more.

This will enable SMEs to take their business operations online quickly, automate their processes, and manage their entire operations from a single unified console. Businesses in Nairobi that avail access to Zoho One will additionally receive tech support and product training to maximize the benefits of this collaboration.

“ISBI has been training over 1000 MSMEs in Kenya for the past 8 years. Our research-driven approach ensures successful outcomes in capacity building, as we advocate for enterprise formalization and provide effective management tools. Our results demonstrate significant improvements, including increased revenue, company value growth, and job creation. While manual data recording poses a challenge, we recognize digitization as the solution. Our partnership with Zoho supports SMEs through their diverse product portfolio. As the Director for Programs at ISBI, I am excited about our collaboration with Zoho and look forward to achieving further growth,” said Maryanne Akoth, Director for Programs, Institute for Small Business Initiatives.

Investments for upmarket momentum:

Zoho has witnessed a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65% in the mid-market and enterprise segment, which now represents one-third of the business. The company now boasts more than 90 million users across more than 600,000 global businesses of all sizes. The company has made upmarket investments across the following areas:

Go-to-market Investments:

Enterprise Business Solutions: Zoho aims to expand EBS across skills, industry depth, and regional presence to help enterprise businesses manage their technology stack better in today’s economic climate. EBS provides expertise to large organisations across solutions engineering, account management, and customer success.

New SI Partnerships: Zoho will strengthen its network of SI (system integrators) partners to enhance its platform, create industry-specific solutions, and develop customer best practices. Currently, Zoho’s SI partners include Tata Consultancy Services, Deloitte and Wipro.

Global Procurement: Zoho accepts payment in over 15 currencies worldwide, facilitating global procurement efforts for enterprise organisations with regional operations through unified multi-currency invoicing.

Platform Investments:

Marketplace Expansion: Zoho Marketplace offers over 1,800 extensions and has surpassed 1 million installations, and receives over 30,000 new monthly installations. Large organisations can create private extensions to address workflow nuances and deploy them through the Marketplace. Partners have been trained and certified to provide extensibility skills.

No-code and Low-code Extensibility: Zoho’s no-code and low-code capabilities simplify large deployments, enabling faster time-to-market and lower overhead costs. From UX design to workflow orchestration and custom applications, Zoho’s low code capabilities support every stage of deployment.

New Applications and Enhancements:

Contract Management Software: Introducing Zoho Contracts, a secure solution that centralizes contract management, including authoring, approval, negotiations, and signatures. With full visibility and AI-powered automation, Zoho Contracts simplifies the complex process, mitigating risks and improving governance for large organisations, driving new business and growth.

Data Transformation for CX: Zoho DataPrep is now deeply integrated with Zoho CRM, enabling users to transform, cleanse, and format customer data within their CRM system. This integration simplifies data migration, eliminates duplicates, and validates information, making the process more efficient and precise.

Security and Privacy Investments 

Identity & Authentication: Introducing Zoho OneAuth, a comprehensive, multi-factor authentication application, which now includes Smart SignIn and Passkey Support, enabling automated cross-device user login and account access assistance.

Directory Management: Zoho Directory is a secure platform for workforce identity and access management supporting 250+ pre-built integrations. Zoho Directory’s Authentication and SignOn module has been proven with over 100 million users from Zoho and ManageEngine, serving the needs of multi-national enterprises including Disney, AT&T, and Sony.

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