Zoho is prepping a Business edition of its on demand software suite aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.This new version will compete with Google Apps, which includes only email, calendar, chat, document and spreadsheet applications, and administrative functions, for $50 per user per year.
In addition to the Zoho applications, Zoho Business includes an administration console, single-sign on across applications, remote back up, multiple levels of security, remote back up, co-branding, additional storage and telephone support services, according to Raju Vegesna, Zoho evangelist said. Zoho Business will be unveiled at the Office 2.0 conference.
User can add multiple locations, each with their own time zone, and set up local administrators. The Business edition will be "brandable"--users will be able to customize some aspects of the interface and apply their own domains to the Zoho applications, Vegesna said. "Eventually when Zoho Mail is out of private beta we will also host email for businesses," he added.
Zoho Business will be in private beta, starting in the next few days, for about a month, move into public beta, with general release planned for Q1 2008.
Zoho Business will be offered in a free version and paid version. The free version will includes a basic set of applications and some of the infrastructure features, such as application management, user management and locations.
The paid subscription for the Business edition is expected to be around $40 to $50 per user per year, Vegesna said. Zoho doesn't plan to have ad supported software. The Zoho Business paid subscription will include the Notebook and Creator applications, and in about two month Blog and Forum applications. Some of the applications--Project, Meeting, CRM and possibly Creator--will be priced separately, since not all users need them, Vegesna said.
The Zoho Personal suite of applications, aimed at individual users, will continue to be free. Some of the applications will have limits, such as Meeting and Project. Nor will CRM or the administrative infrastructure be available in the Personal edition.
Zoho is also planning Education and Enterprise editions of the suite. Education will be available in the next few months, Vegesna said, and will be similar to the Business edition. The packaging, pricing and access controls will be differentiated. For example, the Education edition will have workflow that enables students to submit their work online. "We need to mature for the Enterprise version--maybe next year. We are still discussing what would be in it, such as more mobile support and a new deployment model for behind the firewall.