Zoho Joins the Social “Chatter”

The market for collaborative social networking software is getting ever hotly contested. Not long after Moxie Software announced its free Collaboration Spaces offering, Zoho, a provider of online productivity, collaboration, and business applications for businesses of all sizes, also decided to challenge the establishment of Jive Software, Microsoft Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, IBM Connections, and other prominent social software providers.

Zoho recently announced the launch of Zoho Pulse, its social network with which companies can establish their own private social networks to encourage communication and collaboration among the entire organization as well as select departments and users. Employees can stay on top of what’s going on within the organization through Zoho Pulse iPhone and Android mobile applications. You can see an online video tour of the product here.

zohopulse_pagesconcept_small.jpgZoho Pulse offers three types of tools for company-wide collaboration: 1) a company wall where employees can collaborate on various topics, 2) a discussion forum, and 3) a blog—all enabling collaboration throughout the company. The offering enables collaboration between users, groups, or within the entire organization, and enhances group collaboration by bringing together various collaboration tools such as discussion forums and document sharing along with custom apps—all within the context of a group. At the user level, users can view other users’ profiles, activity, and contact information as well as send private messages and have an option to follow fellow users to be informed about any activity.

Additional highlights of Zoho Pulse include Activity Streams, Notification Center, and Search. In addition, Zoho Pulse integrates with other Zoho applications (e.g., Discussions, Calendar, Docs, Wiki, Chat, and more), giving users access to additional collaboration, productivity, and business applications without leaving the Zoho Pulse user interface. Custom applications, powered by the Zoho Creator platform, allow businesses and groups to create business/group-specific apps. Zoho Pulse also brings document management functionality via Zoho Docs, a people directory, and more, for a more potent social intranet solution for businesses. Instant messaging, audio conferencing, video conferencing, web conferencing, and other capabilities can be additional boosters.

Like its sister products, Zoho Pulse offers a free edition as well as a professional edition, and an enterprise edition for a fee per user per month. All three editions include iPhone and Android apps. The free edition is available for unlimited users, but with no support for groups. The professional and enterprise editions include unlimited public and private groups and 500 MB of file storage per user. The enterprise edition also includes the aforementioned custom apps via Zoho Creator.
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