The business software market continues to soar with both small and mid-sized organizations clamoring to find all-in-one software solutions that satisfy a variety of business needs. Missing from the market, however, was a low-code solution that allows business users and IT professionals to build end-to-end processes. Until now, that is.
With the March 3 launch of its newest version of Creator, Zoho answers the demand for a low-code platform with the sophistication to develop scalable end-to-end tools that are enterprise-ready. The Zoho Creator Platform supports every level needed for a complete low-code experience, including building, managing, integrating and analyzing.
What is Zoho Creator Platform?
Zoho Creator Platform is a cloud-based software tool that allows users to create custom applications without any coding knowledge or experience. Launched in 2006 and updated several times since, Creator offers a low-code solution for companies seeking to increase their productivity and boost their digital transformations.
With the newest release of Creator, Zoho hopes to become a strategic partner with its users, helping businesses fully optimize what low code can do for their organizations, making information available and accessible while automating processes to support a digital transformation.
The newest version of Zoho Creator Platform fills a gap in an evolving market landscape filled with plenty of low code builders that fail to provide unified solutions that include integrations, automation, analytics and business intelligence. By integrating digital data and processes, the Zoho Creator Platform helps its users create agile solutions for both business users and IT teams. For example, business developers can build scalable low-code solutions like apps with integrations, analytics and process automation without a heavy reliance on IT assistance.
“With this update, Zoho’s Creator Platform combines application development, integrations, process automation, business intelligence and analytics into one single platform while simultaneously enabling IT teams to effortlessly manage security, compliance, and governance challenges,” says Raju Vegesna, Zoho Chief Evangelist. “Now, organizations can leverage a unified solution for all of their low-code needs, extending the ability to innovate to every employee.”
A Unified Solution
While plenty of low-code solutions exist in the business software market, they usually prioritize either ease of use or application complexity. With the platforms that focus on ease of use, problems occur when an application grows in maturity, complexity and sophistication. Users can hit what insiders call a low-code glass ceiling where they are unable to add certain complex functionality to an application to solve a problem or improve a process because the platform is designed for the initial stages only.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are platforms targeted towards IT teams that focus on application complexity and offer more elaborate configurations. While these programs can build powerful, complex applications, they aren’t software tools that a business user could effectively use in a matter of hours or even days to get an application up and running. The Zoho Creator Platform offers a unified solution that includes the best of both worlds with a tool that can be used by both business users and developers.
“On the Creator front, we tried to do this not-too-complex, not-too-simple, Goldilocks method to be an end-to-end unified platform across both ends of the spectrum,” says Zoho Creator Head Evangelist Tejas Gadhia. “So, in every single capability that we offer, we want to make sure that there’s a point-and-click or drag-and-drop or some type of access to it in order to configure whatever a business user would want to. Meanwhile, everything is available programmatically at the same time.”
New Zoho Creator Platform
The Zoho Creator Platform provides innovative business solutions in three key areas, with functions supporting each available from a centralized dashboard.
Users experienced with Zoho Creator know they can use it to build custom business solutions, and the traditional functions are still available. Zoho Creator Platform still includes the same low-code building features as other platforms with basic levels databases, forms, reporting and chart creation, as well as workflows, design capabilities and mobile access – all of the building blocks for building an application.
The Zoho team realized that about 85% of its customers were integrating the program with a third-party system to achieve their ultimate business goals. The new Zoho Creator Platform further facilitates this need for integration by offering more unified control in terms of permission sets. This allows users to create integrations with a continued focus on privacy, data security and compliance.
Analytics remained a key element missing from the low-code business software market. While some products offer integration capabilities, the analytics remain limited beyond basic reporting prior to the Zoho Creator Platform. Now, Zoho Creator customers can drive insights based on the data existing in the Creator application and third-party apps.
“Being able to drive insights has always been a challenge because you generally have to connect it to some kind of a third-party business intelligence tool,” Gadhia says. “Then you have to know how to use those tools, which means you have to know how to run SQL queries and do a bunch of configurations to get insights into what the data looks like.”
The Zoho Creator Platform, however, brings the analytics capability with a built-in BI engine to help app developers gain true insight from the data they’re collecting in their apps, as opposed to relying on basic levels of reporting.
Zoho Creator Platform Innovations
The new Zoho Creator Platform provides unified low-code solutions for small and mid-sized businesses thanks to a variety of innovations to the market, including:
- The Unified Solution Builder helps users create, integrate, analyze and manage their business solutions from a central dashboard.
- Creator saves time with process blueprinting, an intuitive drag-and-drop builder that graphically reconstructs each step of a business process, assigning responsibilities and automating actions.
- The new Zoho Creator Platform features Zia, an artificial intelligence assistant that helps developers import data, build data models, automatically detect data relationships and more.
- With the integration status dashboard, Creator users can clearly view and monitor the operation of each integration.
- The industry-first embedded business intelligence and analytics engine now included with the Zoho Creator Platform helps users derive valuable business insights from the data residing in their applications.
- With centralized governance, IT teams can manage low-code development with features like granular role-based access controls, comprehensive audit trails and backup options, application IDE and dashboards to view and manage users.
Zoho Creator Platform Pricing
The Zoho Creator Platform offers competitive pricing, starting at just $25 per employee, following a 15-day free trial. The professional plan, which costs $25 per user, per month billed on an annual basis, includes five apps and 20 integration flows.
Users can upgrade to the ultimate plan for $400 a month for up to 10 users, which includes unlimited apps, 100 integration flows and unlimited analytics. Additional users can be added for $25 each per month, and there are no cancellation penalties.
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