Zoho adds Generative AI to ten of its applications through their Zia AI engine

Zoho’s latest extension of their AI capabilities is powered by an OpenAI integration, although they are working on an in-house version of their own which will emphasize privacy concerns.

Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Canada’s managing director

Today, unified cloud vendor Zoho is announcing the launch of 10 generative AI Zoho application extensions and integrations, supported by OpenAI and powered by Zia, Zoho’s AI engine.

Generative AI is all the rage these days, with many of the use cases being around very large businesses and supercomputing. Zoho’s utilization of the concept is somewhat different, however.

“Most Generative AI is unstructured data, and it is trained to understand large language models,” said Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Canada’s managing director. “Zoho is more into transactional systems, where everything is structured data. We create Large Language Learning models based on structured data, which are relatively small in quantity, using as much limited information that is available in the context of a business. This is where we are going in Generative AI. It also has a lot of aspects like anomaly detection and sentiment analysis which our Zia AI has been doing for some time.”

While LSP said that Generative AI has brought in a seismic shift, Zoho’s own technology and models rely on less quantity of data, although if a customer wants a specific AI from a particular vendor, they can just plug it in.

LSP emphasized, however, that Zoho’s Generative AI, like its other AI efforts, is all built in house with a heavy emphasis on data privacy and not compromising customer data.

“We have a specific philosophy around data privacy and security,” he said. “Do we want to give all possible information to train the AI? Our take is no. Large language learning must emphasize privacy. While it is new, and a bright shiny object, the issue is how do you apply it into the context of a business. We don’t want to use the data all lumped in. Progressively, it will get better as more specific algorithms and techniques are applied.”

While the Zoho customer base is not typically seen as one salivating for Large Language Models, LSP said that demand has been quite strong, because it has the capability to deliver customer productivity, ease of use, efficiency of cost, and relevant KPIs, as well as to make AI widely available to a broader set of people.

“We see it as augmenting capabilities to do things better, and continuing our emphasis on democratizing access to insights,” he indicated. Zia is woven into the fabric of each step, including enhancing customer records, producing documents, providing insights into processes, and proactively forecasting user issues.

“AI has been available for close to a decade, and at Zoho, we have seen more and more people starting to use it,” LSP continued. “Once they see it in CRM they use it in the context of a help desk system to assess the sentiment of a ticket coming in. When it comes to Generative AI, people started using it once we started enabling these connectors. People want to see what they can do with it. This has all been happening quickly. Getting customers to understand and make use of some of the capabilities of Zia in the past actually took more time.”

Today, Zoho is launching Generative AI in ten of its applications. All are integrated with OpenAI, and powered by Zoho’s own Zia AI engine.

“We are working on our own version of OpenAI, which emphasizes our privacy concerns,” LSP said. In the short term, Zoho will facilitate Zia’s integration with third-party intelligence, as it has done with OpenAI.

Available immediately are: Zoho CRM with Generative AI, Zoho Desk with Generative AI for helpdesk tickets; Zoho Writer with Generative AI; Zoho Cliq with Generative AI for messaging; Zoho Social with Generative AI; Zoho Assist with Generative AI to provide shareable summaries from sessions, events, chats, and audio calls; Zoho Landing Page with Generative AI; Zoho SalesIQ with Generative AI; Zoho Notebook with Generative AI; and Zoho DataPrep with Generative AI.

“These all provide generative insights, and an individual working with these apps will augment capabilities to do things better, with democratized access to insights,” LSP said.

He also stressed these will provide new opportunities to expand channel partner practices.

“The opportunity for the channel is using these tools to allow them  to creative active specializations and how help customers use those tools better,” he said.

Zia is available by default in Zoho’s applications. Integrations for Zoho Desk, Cliq, and Writer are available in Zoho Marketplace, alongside 1,800+ extensions, while all other OpenAI integrations are available within their respective Zoho products.

Zoho will be at the Collision event in Toronto this week. LSP may be found at Booth E352. LSP will also be presenting a masterclass, Transformative BI with a Modern BI & Analytics Platform, on June 27 at 11 AM ET, in Room 1.