by Divina Paredes

Ex-Warehouse CIO Timothy Kasbe is now ANZ chief at Zoho

Feb 26, 2019
Cloud ComputingDigital Transformation

Timothy Kasbe, former chief information and digital officer at The Warehouse Group, is the new head of Zoho in Australia and New Zealand.

Kasbe launched Zoho’s ANZ operations this week – opening offices at Britomart in Auckland and at Byron Bay in Australia.

Kasbe says the ANZ region is one of Zoho’s top performing markets in the world. He says a major goal is to build a partner ecosystem, including resellers, that will support local customers.

He says he expects New Zealand staff to ramp up to 10 in the next six months to a year.

Kasbe brings to the role experience in online and digital transformation programmes at clothing retailer Gloria Jeans in Russia where he was chief operating officer, and also at Fortune 50 companies such as Intrexon Corporation and Sears Holdings; Reliance Industries in India; and IBM in the US.

Zoho is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, with international headquarters in Chennai, India.

It has three technology businesses: Zoho, which includes its CRM and productivity tools; Manage Engine, which is a system network and cloud administration technology; and webNMS, used by the telecommunications industry and IoT applications.

Zoho’s technology stack is used by over 45 million users across 180-plus countries, and more than 300,000 companies around the world, including Tesla, Netflix and Amazon.

Among its local customers are The Warehouse Group, major airlines and banks, Turners and Growers, Collective Hospitality Group, Recur Logistics and Radlink Communications.

Zoho competes directly with the likes of Salesforce, Google and Microsoft. Zoho cites its speed of deployment and pricing structure as key competitive differentiators, with even the smallest of businesses able to digitise their operations with Zoho for as little as $1 a day.

“Business software has historically conjured up thoughts of applications that were only available to large companies with deep pockets and sophisticated IT teams. Zoho’s affordable and accessible application suite has democratised business software for all,” says Kasbe, whose title is managing director for ANZ and Global Large Enterprise.

“We have priced ourselves so that a tiny street vendor can digitise the business, as well as the biggest airline in the world,” he says. “We tell CIOs and boards you don’t necessarily have to spend millions to have good software.”

“We have far more products across business functional areas than even the largest titans of the industry, which means we can solve more problems and create more value.

“And, Zoho does this without reading customers’ data or worse, selling it to highest bidder like other industry titans as privacy and security are our supreme values.”

“That is why so many public and private sector organisations trust us,” he says.

Addressing critical themes across all IT shops

Raj Sabhlok, president of Zoho Corporation, was in New Zealand late last year for a CIO and Computerworld breakfast forum held in both Auckland and Wellington.

Sabhlok notes how IT has changed from the previous times of being infrastructure focused. “We brought in technologies, set them up, and managed their lifecycle.The cloud has changed all that and our responsibilities have changed.”

He explains that there are four main points that are critical themes to focus on for IT organisations today: integrating data and applications, cybersecurity, cloud-native and systems of intelligence.

It is, by no means an “exhaustive list”, but “leading IT organisations will be defined by their expertise in addressing these critical requirements,” he states.

Historically, we have these systems such as CRM, HRM, and ERP that are the information of record. “We have a new wedge in there, the systems of intelligence also known as artificial intelligence and machine learning,” says Sabhlok.

He explains that the AI and ML he is referring to are not the “creepy stuff that are taking over the world, our organisation and doing away with jobs”.

These are the systems that are making jobs easier, and making human interactions much more error free and more productive.

“We are encouraging IT to really adopt these technologies that help us become more productive through working through accessing data and making sure businesses and organisations are able to use that data to make better decisions,” he says.

Zoho president Raj Sabhlok at the CIO and Computerworld breakfast forum ‘Digital Savvy, Digital Now’ in Auckland