Zoho Corp., the global technology company, announced today that it will be opening a new office in Johannesburg to accommodate its growing employee base in the country and cater to its customers. The company has seen the net new customer growth of 75% in South Africa in 2021, and doubled its employee base since opening its first office in Cape Town.
In addition, Zoho and the Institute of African Royalty (IAR), a startup and SME incubator, have entered into a strategic partnership to remove access barriers to enterprise technology for small and medium businesses, and help them in their digital transformation journey. The qualified SMEs that are a part of IAR will receive Zoho Wallet Credit worth ZAR 27,000 that can be used to avail any of Zoho’s 55+ products, including Zoho One, the operating system for business. Zoho will also provide its expertise to help businesses optimally leverage cloud technology.
The company launched Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) in its digital signature application, Zoho Sign by integrating it with TrustFactory, one of South Africa’s most reliable identity verification providers. To further support ease of business for local companies, Zoho has announced integration with popular payment gateways Yoco and PayGate, which will allow its customers to accept online payments. These announcements were made on the sidelines of Zoho’s annual user conference, Zoholics South Africa.
“Zoho believes that its growth should be globally connected, but locally rooted—an approach it calls transnational localism,” said Ali Shabdar, Regional Director, Zoho Middle East and Africa. “We have followed this approach with our growth and expansion in South Africa. We have increased our employee strength, introduced local pricing, grown our partner network, invested in upskilling initiatives and partnered with local business communities. In continuation of our commitment to the country, we have partnered with IAR to help local businesses access enterprise technology, introduced AES in Zoho Sign to help businesses leverage the power and ease of digital signatures, and integrated local payment gateways that will make it easier for our customers to receive payments online.”
Introducing Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES) in Zoho Sign for South Africa
South African businesses, especially in the regulated industries like banking, finance and healthcare, are legally mandated to use AES to digitally sign documents. Zoho Sign, a digital signature application, offers AES through its partnership with TrustFactory. Zoho users can now complete the face-to-face identity verification process and get their digital signature certificate from TrustFactory to sign documents with an AES directly from Zoho Sign’s interface in just a few clicks.
Digital signatures significantly speed up day-to-day operations for businesses. Zoho Sign integrates with all popular Zoho apps such as Zoho CRM, Zoho People and Zoho Books, and is also a part of Zoho One, the operating system for business that offers a unified platform of over 45 applications. Zoho users can utilise Zoho Sign for signing sales agreements, HR and finance documents, and more.
Zoho Sign also offers Qualified Electronic Signature in the European Union, Aadhaar-based eSign for India, Sign with Singpass for Singapore, Seiko time-stamping for Japan etc. South African businesses can also use Zoho Sign for international operations.
Payment Gateway Integration with PayGate and Yoco
Zoho is integrated with PayGate and Yoco to provide a secure and efficient way for South African businesses to accept online payments. This enables businesses to provide flexible payment options for their customers which results in faster payments, thereby improving their cash flow. This integration is available in Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory and Zoho Commerce. Once the payments are received, the corresponding invoices will be marked as ‘paid’, and payment acknowledgement can be sent automatically.
Zoho Invoice is a free online invoicing solution that smaller businesses can use to manage their accounts receivable. Zoho Books is online accounting software that helps businesses manage their day-to-day accounting, invoicing, and financial reporting, while helping them stay tax compliant. Zoho Inventory is an end-to-end multi-channel sales and inventory management solution that enables order management, warehouse management, shipping and inventory tracking. Zoho Commerce is an e-commerce platform that helps businesses create, run, and market their online stores from one place, setting it up in as quickly as an hour by using the drag-and-drop website builder without writing a single piece of code.
“Zoho has built its entire technology stack—from apps and platform down to network and data centres—with consistent R&D efforts over two decades and today has a broad portfolio of products covering every major as well as minor business need,” said Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Zoho Africa. “This allows us to offer a unified platform for various operations like customer experience, employee experience, enterprise collaboration and more. Increasingly, we are seeing businesses of all sizes choose unified offerings over single vendor products to avoid information silos that form and in turn reduce efficiency, especially in a hybrid work environment. Zoho is witnessing rapid growth in South Africa owing to its deep R&D capabilities and wide product range, not to mention businesses realising the importance of digital transformation.”
Growth in MEA
In 2021, Zoho grew by 52% in the Middle East and Africa region, which is the second highest growing region for the company. It grew its partner network by 55% and tripled its workforce in the region. The company also established its presence in seven countries, and set up new offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and South Africa.
This year, Zoho has already opened an office in Nigeria and plans to open another in Kenya, and three other countries in the coming year, with Dubai serving as the regional headquarters. The company also plans to continue hiring locally in other countries to serve its customers, as it expands its footprints across the region. Zoho recently launched the Kenya edition of Zoho Books, VAT and TIMS-compliant online accounting software.