Zoho ramps up its global assistance efforts with a new Vertical Relief Plan; targeted programs that will be introduced to aid organizations across Education, NFPs, Government and Retail sectors.
According to Zoho Corporation CEO Sridhar Vembu, Zoho’s Vertical Relief Plan (VRP) will be comprised of programs and tools to assist businesses and organizations in need across three verticals severely impacted by the crisis: Education, Non-Profit, Government, and Retail.
“We are so grateful to all the workers who are helping us weather this storm. Beyond those on the front lines, there are workers in industries who are struggling, who are persevering, who are inventing new paths forward. The Vertical Relief Plan is a way to support those people, whether they be teachers, government workers, or retailers, who are entirely committed to helping others and returning the world to solid ground,” says Vembu.
At an earlier stage of the current crisis, Vembu says Zoho introduced several initiatives to assist the broader business community, including the Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program and Remotely, which now is being actively used by more than 15,000 new global businesses.
Since then, Vembu says data has emerged pinpointing which industries have been disproportionately hurt as a result of the pandemic. In Southeast Asia, retail sales are on a steady decline due to the COVID 19 shutdowns, coupled by the decreasing travel.
Around the world, an estimated 290 million students are out of school, according to one UNESCO survey.
In response, local governments and NGOs have been stretched thin, lacking resources needed to keep people safe and economies going.
The VRP is a targeted effort to provide maximum assistance for businesses and organizations within these three industries that have been most critically hit during this crisis. In addition to these programs, Zoho is encouraging small businesses, as well as finance, sales, marketing, and HR professionals within larger organizations to utilize discounts, training, and support programs that the company is offering to help them adapt to their changing roles during this time.
Here are some of the key features of the Vertical Relief Plan followed by a list of Zoho’s additional support programs to assist with change management:
NFP and Government
Zoho Creator COVID-19 App Program
The program helps non-profits, government bodies, and communities that are working on various programs like patient monitoring or food distribution to execute their mission more efficiently with the help of apps.
These organizations can place a request, and Zoho will build web and mobile apps for free using Zoho Creator, a low-code application development platform. Zoho can, for example, create tools to help non-profits or community groups organize shelters or distribute food or other essential services.
Since the program was piloted two weeks ago, it has received over 70 requests and has already delivered 10+ apps, including the Citizen Communication App and Medical Staff Management App for local government bodies in India.
For government agencies and departments around the world that are working on COVID-19 relief initiatives, Zoho is currently offering free software licenses of Zoho Desk, the company’s help desk software.
This offering is intended to support federal and local government bodies globally in their efforts to combat the pandemic. Zoho Desk helps government agencies and support agents manage high volumes of support tickets during this period by setting up FAQs, and prioritising high level enquiries where human agents can advise contextually to questions posed.
Increasingly, non-profits are turning to social media to drive donations and manage distribution pipelines. Governments are using social media more than ever to spread awareness and communicate breaking developments.
To aid these organizations reliant on social media, Zoho Social is opening up its advanced edition for free for six months. It is also honoring extension requests from users as well as providing educational guidance and tool improvements to aid users working remotely.
For non-profits working to provide relief during the pandemic, Zoho Checkout is available for free, enabling them to collect online donations easily.
Zoho Classes, available for early access, is a new mobile application that enables educational and training institutes to serve their students online. This platform replaces the need for educators to deploy multiple, disintegrated apps including video content delivery, classroom communication apps, assignment management tools, as well as video-lesson and project-creation applications, and instead build the class on one platform.
Using Zoho Classes, teachers and institutions can upload courses, broadcast live classes, share assignments under set deadlines, and collect responses on one interface.
Zoho Classes is built with several layers of security ensuring the privacy and safety of users: In Zoho Classes, teachers and students log in to the same application, which means that anything being sent or received can be centrally monitored by the school principal or an administrator. Students can only join a group after an invitation is sent directly from their school.
Zoho Classes is completely free for government schools in India. For schools outside of India, the platform is free to up to 100 students.
Zoho ShowTime facilitates virtual collaborative learning and interactive events. It is a complementary tool to Zoho Classes aimed at more individualized and interactive learning environments including classroom breakouts or professional training. One-click access to ShowTime within Zoho Classes will be available in the coming weeks.
Zoho is offering all premium engagement features of ShowTime, from the Basic plan onwards, at no additional cost to users.
Retail storefronts, shuttered due to the crisis, can build an online presence using the Zoho Commerce Starter Plan for free, up to 60 days.
For existing Zoho Commerce customers, the company is raising the transaction fee threshold to $3,000 in sales for the Starter Plan and to $8,000 for the Pro Plan for the next 3 months to assist with tougher economic conditions.
Businesses providing essential services, such as retail or pharmaceuticals, can quickly set up their online presence by availing free training and rapid onboarding of Zoho Inventory, Zoho’s order management software, set up specially for them.
Zoho Survey is now available at a 50% price reduction to allow businesses and team leaders to swiftly prepare surveys and questionnaires to collect data needed to make smarter, swifter decisions during this time. The company has also provided several crisis-related survey templates to help organizations jump-start the data collection process. Furthermore, Zoho Campaigns now offers crisis templates to assist with outreach and communications.
Zoho has increased the storage limit for businesses using WorkDrive to 1TB of shared storage for the Starter plan and 3TB of shared storage for the Team plan. After 10 users, Zoho will give an additional 100GB of storage for the Starter plan and 300GB for the Team plan for every new user. This increased storage helps businesses currently experiencing higher-than-normal volume, such as NGOs or eCommerce businesses. For businesses developing new lines of revenue, WorkDrive serves as a centralized, scalable, data management and storage platform.
Zoho is offering several development programs through Zoho People, including unexpected change management training, privacy and security training, stress management training, new technology training, onboarding training, communication and collaboration training, and role-change training.
Zoho is rolling out free Zoho Recruit video credits until the end of June, 2020. Zoho Recruit has integrated with Zoho Meeting to make the video interface possible. The application will help recruiters provide timely, positive, virtual candidate experiences for those companies who cannot staff fast enough due to the crisis. Additionally, Zoho Meeting is now free with Zoho Bookings, making virtual appointment scheduling seamless in order to aid the rising demands of a global remote workforce.
Zoho claims it has created numerous additional resources, including a live COVID-19 impact dashboard, financial planning and recovery advice, a remote working help center, and virtual user groups, to assist businesses during this time. For a comprehensive list of programs, click here .