Zoho introduces self-service Business Intelligence Platform

Zoho’s new platform combines an enhanced version of their existing Zoho Analytics solution with Zoho DataPrep, a new offering which provides data cleansing capabilities.

Today, cloud software suite vendor Zoho is announcing their new Business Intelligence (BI) Platform. The new platform combines an enhanced version of Zoho Analytics, an existing product, with a new product, Zoho DataPrep, which does data cleansing and preparation. The platform is also designed to be accessible to regular business users on a self-service basis, and is aimed at all parts of the Zoho market, not just their enterprise customers.

The new BI platform turns what had been a single Zoho app into a platform of two complementary solutions.

“What we had before was a self-service BI solution that was available as a BI service,” said Chandrasekhar LSP, Zoho’s Canadian Evangelist. “We are now rechristening this as a big platform solution because we now do the whole thing. Before, we were heavy on the analytics. Now we provide data preparation and data management as well.”

The BI solution remains available as a standalone service, and the new Data Prep solution will also be sold as a standalone service for customers who only want it.

“There’s a demand for that,” LSP said.”

Data cleansing has historically been aimed at the higher end of the market. While Zoho’s roots are in the SMB and midmarket, the last three years they have been aggressively pursuing an enterprise strategy.  They have seen 45% growth in the midmarket and enterprise over the last two years.  Yet LSP stressed that the new platform is not just aimed at the enterprise.

“66% of the 13,000 BI customers now are small business, 22% are midmarket, and 12% are large enterprise,” he said.

The goal of the new platform, LSP stressed, is to reach Line of Business users.

“Data quality, like business intelligence, is something that historically has been used by IT teams, not Line of Business users,” he said. “Now even small businesses who are using something like MailChimp or YouTube often want to understand their data. While a LOB user at a larger business wants to do it without having to get IT involved, smaller businesses, who don’t have access to this kind of information at all on their own, can quickly cleanse the data, and get rid of bad data that would give bad insights.”

Apart from marketing it to smaller users as well as large, LSP said that there is a key differentiation in the solution itself, compared to others in the market.

“The twist is that we are orienting it to self-service capability,” he indicated.

The Zoho BI Platform brings together pre-built, visual dashboards, comprehensive data integrations, data preparation, augmented and embedded BI, security and privacy capabilities, flexible deployment models (cloud or on-premise), and scalability.

It also leverages other Zoho apps.

“It includes integrated Zoho Show presentation software to create reports and provide Data Stories so businesses can be data-driven without the need to learn new tools.,” LSP sad. “Regional Traffic Insights using Zoho’s Zia AI capability uses new capabilities around natural language generation to bubble up the inferences, so you can get the inferences faster. It also integrates our Zoho Sites portal builder so you can organize the reports in dashboards. This is embedded into the offering, which allows you to publish it. Natural language questions are also used to get the data. You don’t need a drag and drop interface to create these reports.”

Zoho is projecting year-over year revenue growth for the new BI Platform of over 45%, in part because they see it as something that will be attractive to many channel partners.

“This is one of those tools that partners love,” LSP said. “We have integrations with over 250 data sources, including Salesforce, MailChimp, Microsoft Dynamics, and QuickBooks. They can use this to help customers with analytics around those products, providing them with high-end value.”

Zoho BI Platform, which includes Zoho Analytics and Zoho DataPrep, is available immediately in two versions, cloud and on-premise, the latter being for regulated industries like health care, finance and government. As a monthly option, the cloud version is $8 per user, per month. The on-premise version is $30 per user, per month. For the annual option, the cloud version is $96 per user, per year. The on-premise version is $360 per user, per year.

Zoho DataPrep is also available as a standalone. The standard plan starts at $40 per month for 2 million rows including 3 users while the enterprise plan is highly customizable and the pricing is based on the customization.