Zoho adds discussion forums to hosted collaboration suite

Zoho Discussions can be used for internal forums where employees discuss projects and for external forums to provide support for customers

Zoho has added a discussion forum application to its Web-hosted software suite, the company announced Tuesday.

Organizations can use Zoho Discussions for internal forums where employees can discuss projects and for external forums to provide support for customers.

[ Zoho recently linked its online productivity apps with Microsoft SharePoint and added e-mail and Salesforce.com customers to its CRM. ]

In addition to discussion threads, Zoho Discussions features IM-like text chat, user profiles, e-mail-like private messaging, action notifications, a search engine, file attachments, RSS feeds and forum administration capabilities like the access controls, topic moderation and user management.

The company, which offers SaaS (software-as-a-service) communication and collaboration applications for individuals and organizations, offers various options for Zoho Discussions. A free version includes up to two forums and 100MB of attachment space, while the Standard version includes up to five forums and 1GB of attachment space for $25 per month. The Professional version costs $75 month and includes up to 25 forums and 5GB of attachment space. Organizations that need more forums and storage can get a custom version of Zoho Discussions.

The company has a suite of hosted collaboration and communication software called Zoho Business that is designed for use by small and medium-size companies. It is free for up to 10 users and thereafter it costs $50 per user per year. Zoho also has a set of applications available free for personal use by individuals.

Like Google with its Apps suite, Zoho offers a SaaS-based alternative to traditional on-premise productivity and communication suites like Microsoft's Office and Exchange. Zoho specifically targets individuals and small and medium size businesses.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.