If you’ve heard of Zoho, you probably think of Zoho Office, its suite of Web-based productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation). But Zoho Office is primarily as a marketing exercise. Zoho’s real business is in offering a series of Web-based enterprise apps that it started introducing last September—CRM, Project Management, Web conferencing, an online database. And today it is adding Zoho People in beta.
Zoho People is targeted at small businesses with 50 or more employees—companies that cannot afford PeopleSoft, but cannot manage their business on Excel spreadsheets anymore. More directly, Zoho is going after WorkDay (started by PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield), Salesforce.com, and smaller online HR apps such as Vemo’s. To get businesses to try it, the software will be free for the beta period. The pricing is yet to be determined, but will probably be in the range of $50/month for HR administrators and $4/month for other employees. It will also be available as part of Zoho’s suite of enterprise apps under blended pricing. Maybe Salesforce should just buy Zoho. Oh yeah, it already tried that.