The News: Zoho Corporation, a global company that offers the most comprehensive suite of business software applications in the industry, is launching its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) to help Zoho customers worldwide weather this global crisis. ESAP is one way Zoho is committing itself to helping its small business customers. For up to 20,000 qualified paying customers with 25 employees or less, Zoho is waiving the cost of every single application they current use, for up to 3 months. Learn more about ESAP.
Analyst Take: There has been quite a response from the technology community, with companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, Google and more all offering some type of free, freemium or deferred expense for software and services for businesses that are being impacted by COVID-19 and the economic impacts of the outbreak–I’m certain there are many more.
What caught my attention here is the broader thinking here by Zoho. The majority of the early announcements to business have evolved around collaboration and productivity tools that enable remote work. Given that remote work is the new normal (for now), those offers were both timely and valuable for helping companies react to almost instantly moving the workforce home. However, those productivity tools and collaboration softwares are useful for certain types of at home work, but for many small businesses the workforce may not be knowledge workers on group chats and video calls. Those businesses are going through a different type of transition and the cost implications for those businesses to deal with massive revenue dips with minimal time to prepare means that those companies are going to have to look under every rock to find efficiencies to keep operations running and employees working.
For a company the size of Zoho (Private ~8000 Employees), the ability to help up to 20,000 small businesses keep their operations running a little bit more efficient is a real, tangible benefit. It won’t save the world, but it is good corporate stewardship and a great example of a bigger company giving to its community; which for Zoho is comprised of many SMBs.
Overall Impressions of Zoho ESAP
There is a lot to like about what Zoho is doing with its ESAP. As we have come to accept the severity of COVID-19 and the impact that this global pandemic will have on business, it is a sign of strength and compassion that Zoho is sacrificing short term revenue to help customers reduce monthly spending. In the end, I see this course of action reflecting well on the company. While I often think society tends to quickly move beyond extraordinary circumstances like those we are dealing with now, I do think that small business customers that received these benefits from Zoho will have an improved perception and loyalty to the company as the economy recovers and business moves from this momentary standstill back to full steam ahead.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.