THE COVID-19 pandemic hit like a tsunami, inundating whole countries and fracturing economies. The results are instantly devastating but the long term results could even be more drastic
In Southeast Asia, retail sales are on a steady decline due to the COVID 19 shutdowns, coupled by the decreasing travel. Around the world, an estimated 290 million students are out of school, according to one UNESCO survey. In response, local governments and NGOs have been stretched thin, lacking resources needed to keep people safe and economies going.
—Zoho Corporation, a global technology company that offers the most comprehensive suite of business software applications in the industry, is introducing its Vertical Relief Plan (VRP) comprised of programs and tools to assist businesses and organizations in need across three verticals severely impacted by the crisis: Education, Non-Profit & Government, and Retail.
“We are so grateful to all the workers who are helping us weather this storm,” said Sridhar Vembu, Zoho co-founder and CEO. “Beyond those on the front lines, there are workers in industries who are struggling, who are persevering, who are inventing new paths forward. The Vertical Relief Plan is a way to support those people, whether they be teachers, government workers, or retailers, who are entirely committed to helping others and returning the world to solid ground.”
At an earlier stage of the current crisis, Zoho introduced several initiatives to assist the broader business community, including the Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program and Remotely, which now is being actively used by more than 15,000 new global businesses.
Since then, data has emerged pinpointing which industries have been disproportionately hurt as a result of the pandemic.
The VRP is a targeted effort to provide maximum assistance for businesses and organizations within these three industries that have been most critically hit during this crisis. In addition to these programs, Zoho is encouraging small businesses, as well as finance, sales, marketing, and HR professionals within larger organizations to utilize discounts, training, and support programs that the company is offering to help them adapt to their changing roles during this time.
Here are some of the key features of the Vertical Relief Plan followed by a list of Zoho’s additional support programs to assist with change management:
NON-PROFIT & GOVERNMENT
- The program helps non-profits, government bodies, and communities that are working on various programs like patient monitoring or food distribution to execute their mission more efficiently with the help of apps.
- These organizations can place a request, and Zoho will build web and mobile apps for free using Zoho Creator, a low-code application development platform. Zoho can, for example, create tools to help non-profits or community groups organize shelters or distribute food or other essential services.
- Since the program was piloted two weeks ago, it has received over 70 requests and has already delivered 10+ apps, including the Citizen Communication App and Medical Staff Management App for local government bodies in India.
- For government agencies and departments around the world that are working on COVID-19 relief initiatives, Zoho is currently offering free software licenses of Zoho Desk, the company’s help desk software.
- This offering is intended to support federal and local government bodies globally in their efforts to combat the pandemic. Zoho Desk helps government agencies and support agents manage high volumes of support tickets during this period by setting up FAQs, and prioritising high level enquiries where human agents can advise contextually to questions posed.
- Increasingly, non-profits are turning to social media to drive donations and manage distribution pipelines. Governments are using social media more than ever to spread awareness and communicate breaking developments.
- To aid these organizations reliant on social media, Zoho Social is opening up its advanced edition for free for six months. It is also honoring extension requests from users as well as providing educational guidance and tool improvements to aid users working remotely.
- For non-profits working to provide relief during the pandemic, Zoho Checkout is available for free, enabling them to collect online donations easily.
Zoho Classes, available for early access, is a new mobile application that enables educational and training institutes to serve their students online. This platform replaces the need for educators to deploy multiple, disintegrated apps including video content delivery, classroom communication apps, assignment management tools, as well as video-lesson and project-creation applications, and instead build the class on one platform.
Using Zoho Classes, teachers and institutions can upload courses, broadcast live classes, share assignments under set deadlines, and collect responses on one interface.
Zoho Classes is built with several layers of security ensuring the privacy and safety of users: In Zoho Classes, teachers and students log in to the same application, which means that anything being sent or received can be centrally monitored by the school principal or an administrator. Students can only join a group after an invitation is sent directly from their school.