Zoho (news, site) digs chitchat. This week they announced a new social tool for their ever-growing productivity suite called Zoho Discussions. The solution allows users to create internally or externally facing communities, and aims to help organizations improve their support experience through forums, conduct research and get insights on preferences with product idea boards.
Even though Zoho Discussions was just formally announced and tossed into the Zoho Marketplace, the tool has been in service for quite some time. Zoho has been stealthily using it as the technology behind their own Zoho forums, meaning its ability to handle hundreds of active discussion threads on a daily basis has already conveniently been established.
With that out of the way, review some of the other highlights:
- Topic Administration: Community moderators can manage the lifecycle of posts and discussions. For example, depending on the topics enabled, community users will be able to vote on an idea or select the most popular solution for a problem.
- Content Discoverability: Content stored in communities created with Zoho Discussions is findable through integrated advanced search, custom organization as well as RSS/Secure RSS subscription options and SEO.
- Branding: Zoho Discussions allows businesses to remain in control of their brand and the user experience they provide to customers through custom URLs, branding options and elements, customizable look and feel, even including full rebranding (white labeling) options.
- Rich User Experience: Zoho Discussions provides a rich experience for users with features such as a WYSIWYG editor, threaded conversations, drafts and previews.
- Administration: Administration features allow companies to support more users with less community administrators: Fine grained access controls, auto spam, community-marked content and user management.
Here's a run down via video:
"We want to provide our customers with the relevant applications they need to run their businesses," said Raju Vegesna of Zoho. "Zoho Discussions is another piece of that puzzle. It's a key application that customers can easily include in their website to create a natural spot where customers gather to exchange ideas and experiences, support each other and provide feedback to the company."
Walk the Talk
If there's anyone who continues to remain a good sport in the era of Google, it's certainly Zoho. Arguably the most persistent startup, Zoho continues to compete with the biggest player in the game by releasing new products and features on an almost monthly basis.
Zoho Discussions however, is the first brand new product they've launched in some time. Word has it they've been spending a lot of their energy focusing on how to integrate their existing solutions with each other, in addition to improving them. Given Zoho's track record, we can probably expect to see them kick out a lot more news in the coming months.
But for now, go poke around Zoho Discussions. The free plan offers 2 forums and limited space, but there are paid plans and custom plans available as well starting at US$ 25 per month.