I’m a big fan of Zoho. Not only because he moved the company’s headquarters to my hometown of Austin, Texas, but because I believe the value proposition of building easy-to-use, affordable software for a wide range of functions with deep cross-integrations is potentially disruptive to the cloud software industry. As a result, I’ve been following Zoho for some time and recently wrote several articles along the way, tracking progress as Zoho reached eighty million users.

I recently saw a press release announcing 50% year-over-year (YOY) revenue growth for Zoho’s finance platform, which powers over half a million businesses in 160 countries. Intrigued by this recent news, I was excited to speak with Zoho Chief Evangelist Raju Vegesna to understand the reasons behind the parabolic growth of Zoho’s financial platform.

Few financial platforms support the growth of global companies

Earlier this year, Intuit announced that QuickBooks products would no longer be available in India. Financial software is a market where prominent vendors are moving out of countries, while Zoho is doing the opposite. Because?

Zoho’s financial platform includes solutions for accounting, inventory management, travel and expense management, billing and membership management, and payroll management. The most popular application on the platform is Zoho Books, a cloud-based accounting application. Zoho Books supports 180 currencies and 17 languages ​​and includes a comprehensive global tax engine that enables country-specific tax compliance.

Supporting Zoho Books in multiple countries, each with ever-changing tax and regulatory rules, is a significant effort.

The key to Zoho’s success is due to a combination of three factors: an integrated product strategy with software as a service, and a unique Zoho philosophy called transnational localism (more on that later).

A family of applications that work perfectly

As the business grows, applications are installed to solve specific business challenges. Eventually, you’ll end up with a hodgepodge of disparate applications and spreadsheets that don’t talk to each other. Unfortunately many of us have been there.

That’s why I’m a suite guy! A family of applications that works perfectly is superior to an optimal strategy. With heterogeneous applications, the time and money spent integrating, maintaining, and acquiring new versions of applications are the only reasons to upgrade to a suite.

The caveat is that the application suite must have an ecosystem to connect with any third-party application via API. Since its inception, Zoho has built applications on one platform. The result is a consistent user interface with data integration between applications and an ecosystem of payment gateways, banks, travel partners, and shopping carts. Businesses can also connect with any third-party application via API and Zoho Marketplace.

In summary, tightly integrated products form a powerful platform for running an entire enterprise.

Pay only for what you use

Zoho embraced the cloud-based software-as-a-service subscription model long before many large companies. Zoho saw the ability in the cloud to massively reduce system management costs and pass the savings on to customers in the form of a lower subscription cost.

Under the subscription model, Zoho hosts applications and makes them available over the Internet. For many, this is an interesting alternative to the standard software installation, which requires you to create a server and install and configure the application.

Zoho does upgrades, which is a significant plus, especially with financial applications that need to change with new tax and regulatory rules.

Zoho makes it easy for customers to try, purchase, and implement Zoho solutions, whether they’re single solutions, bundles, or the entire Zoho One suite. Customers can upgrade or downgrade editions and licenses at will and without multi-year contracts. Pricing for Zoho Finance Plus starts at $249 per organization per month and includes ten users. Zoho Books starts at $20 monthly ($15 when billed annually) per organization.

Think globally, act locally

Transnational localism is Zoho’s secret sauce for success in local collaboration and customization to meet the needs of individual markets. Zoho attempts to solve workforce issues related to rising cost of living, long commutes, and general work/life imbalances by providing opportunities to people in cities and communities that lack them.

Transnational localism could be a solution to create a balance between home and office work for employees, a challenge for every HR department today.

Today there are more than twenty small Zoho offices in India. These offices serve as focal points where employees collaborate across departments and workspaces. New relationships have been formed with colleagues and employees can continue to support local communities. Employees sometimes visit a central campus, but local network and corporate tools support remote offices. In essence, Zoho has created a hub and spoke model with a major population center as the hub and rural areas as the spokes.

In my backyard in Austin, Texas, Zoho has created a hub. Last year, the first representative office opened in New Braunfels, Texas, one hour from downtown Austin. Soon after taking on the team in New Braunfels, Zoho opened another representative office in Bastrop, a rural town about 40 minutes southeast of Austin. These two locations have shown that talent is everywhere and that many young people in small towns across the United States are just looking for an opportunity.

Wrapping up

The proof is always in the numbers: eighty million users, twenty-six years of profitability since inception, and thirty-eight percent year-over-year growth in a challenging environment.

Zoho’s approach of providing sophisticated yet easy-to-use software for a wide range of functions, with deep cross-integrations, attracts many customers. Zoho innovates with a constant stream of new solutions and continuous improvements.

I also learned a new term, “transnational localism”. My view is that by incorporating a business into a local community, investing not in selling it, providing high-paying jobs in scarce areas, and promoting local education, these communities become self-sufficient, and everyone wins.

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Moor Insights & Strategy founder, CEO and lead analyst Patrick Moorhead is an investor in dMY Technology Group Inc. VI, Dreamium Labs, Groq, Luminar Technologies, MemryX and Movand

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.

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