[The BI Survey 17 results, not included in The BI Survey 18] Zoho Reports is the BI offering available in different packages from zoho.com. It is a relatively straightforward, low-cost, cloud-based reporting and analysis solution aimed at business users. Ease of use is a key selling point of the product, which employs an intuitive drag-and-drop spreadsheet-like interface so users familiar with Microsoft Office can easily adapt to it.
Zoho Corporation began life in 1996 as an IT services company called Adventnet, Inc. The company was renamed in 2009 and now operates three distinct divisions including Zoho, which is focused on developing and selling the Zoho Office Suite of business applications. Zoho Corporation has never accepted venture capital investment, remains privately held and is still led by co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu.
Across its suite of over 30 business applications – which is comparable to Google’s Apps For Work and includes solutions for CRM, email, business process management, finance, human resources and building websites – Zoho claims to have 20 million users worldwide, representing a four-fold increase since 2009. More than 5,000 of these are paying customers of Zoho Reports, the BI component of Zoho’s Office Suite, which was first released in 2009.
Zoho has always followed a cloud-first development strategy so there is no offline version of Zoho Reports, or any of its other business applications for that matter.
Zoho Reports is essentially a reporting and analysis tool that can connect to a variety of local file and database formats and cloud data stores, as well as other Zoho apps and several popular third-party products. Its intuitive drag-and-drop, spreadsheet-like interface is squarely aimed at non-technical business users. However, data modeling has to be performed by tech-savvy users.
Zoho Reports is delivered as a multi-tenant public cloud application. Private cloud instances are not offered. Zoho partners with industry giant Equinix on its redundant data center operations, with its principal locations based in Silicon Valley (USA) and The Netherlands (Europe).
When working on prepared and modeled data or flat files, users can start analyzing data directly or let Zoho prepare suggested ‘auto-generated’ reports based on the data set. These can be viewed ‘as is’ or customized in an intuitive drag-and-drop, spreadsheet-like interface.
User & Use Cases
Zoho Reports is a spreadsheet product comparable to Microsoft Excel, which is also its biggest and most frequently evaluated competitor. Similar to Excel, a far higher proportion of employees in customer organizations use Zoho Reports (27 percent) than The BI Survey average (17 percent). This underlines the fact that Zoho Reports is often used with Zoho’s Office Suite, which is somewhat comparable to Microsoft Office.
As its name suggests, Zoho Reports offers spreadsheet-oriented reporting capabilities and is mostly used by customers for this purpose. The second most common usage scenario is dashboards with 73 percent. This should grow on the back of improvements such as the D3 charting library.
Compared to Microsoft Office, which is also deployed in mid-sized and large companies, Zoho Reports is predominantly used in small companies (76 percent).
Current vs. planned use
N = 45
5 products most often evaluated in competition with Zoho Reports
N = 43
Percentage of employees using Zoho Reports
N = 45
Number of users using Zoho Reports
N = 45
Tasks carried out with Zoho Reports by business users
N = 43
Company size (number of employees)
N = 45
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