Zoho One for Startups program launched in Saudi Arabia

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Ali Shabadar

RIYADH — ZOHO, the operating system for business – a single online platform capable of running an entire business – has launched Zoho One for Startups program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The aim of the program is to help startups focus on building a profitable business from the ground up using industry standard and world-class tools while putting their hard-earned money into their products.

As part of this initiative, Zoho will offer local startups complimentary access to Zoho One, the company’s flagship platform comprising 40+ products.

Ali Shabadar, Business Development Director, Middle East & Africa, Zoho, said in an interview that “Zoho One is the culmination of all our apps, it is a single platform that delivers on the promise of running an entire business in one single platform. With Zoho One, a company has all the applications it needs to acquire and serve its customers (marketing, sales, and support apps); run its operations (finance, recruiting, and related HR apps); and provide all the tools for its employees to work collaboratively and get their work done (office suite, mail, personal productivity, and collaboration apps). They can even build custom apps for unique business needs and put them under the same umbrella—the single operating system for the entire business.”

Excerpts from the interview follow:

• What is the strategic importance of the middle East for your company, and specifically the Kingdom?

The Middle East and Africa region is the fastest growing region for us and we are committed to investing in this region.

Saudi Arabia is our largest market, and since the beginning of 2019, we are actively expanding in the market through the partners network.

We are building the infrastructure needed by the market in terms of the support and specific requirements that the market has. We know that Saudi Arabia is a hub for many small and medium enterprises and in the transition from traditional IT & infrastructure to the cloud, and with the initiatives the government and private companies are doing, cloud is becoming more and more relevant; this is the best time for us to position our offering and our products to the market and say that we are also market leaders serving the community in our levels.

• Can you elaborate more on your partnership with ?

PayTabs is a Saudi-based company that will help businesses with payment processing. The partnership with PayTabs is a first-of-its-kind integration in the GCC region where an accounting software and a payment gateway software have come together to streamline payment acceptance and accounting. Zoho has earlier launched VAT-compliant local versions of its accounting software, Zoho Books in KSA which has been accredited by General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT). Zoho Books helps businesses stay on top of their finances and keeps them VAT compliant. Available in mobile and web versions, it takes the hassle out of accounting with bank feeds, receipt scanning, and workflow automation. With this integration, businesses will have the following benefits, accepting online payments from its customers effortlessly, customer payments and transaction fees are captured separately in a clearing account in Zoho Books improving record keeping and the reconciliation process, businesses can accept payments in 168 currencies, and can provide multiple payment methods to their customers. In addition to the traditional options like Visa and MasterCard, businesses can offer regional payment methods like SADAD and MADA in KSA, OmanNet in Oman, and KNet in Kuwait.

• Does Zoho One have Arabic language support?

As Zoho is making inroads into the GCC region, it has also invested in making its software accessible to local businesses by providing Arabic language support. It is now taking it a step further by evolving Arabic UI in its apps, starting with Zoho CRM. Moreover, thousands of pages of content have been translated and made available in Arabic at the company’s recently-launched Arabic website zoho.com/ar, and more pages are being added.

Businesses in the region can also avail Arabic customer support for any query or complaint. They are also assisted by regional partners in leveraging Zoho’s software to improve their business.


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