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IT Glossary for CIOs

Explore our comprehensive glossary of all standard definitions and terms that CIOs and enterprise IT managers should know.




The ADKAR Model is a change management model that is outcome-oriented and helps limit internal resistance to change. Created by Jeffrey Hiatt, the founder of Prosci, the ADKAR Model states change happens across a lifecycle including Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. This is where it receives its ADKAR name.

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Agile Change Management

Agile change management is the process of taking an agile approach, which includes taking a nimble, experimental, and quick-paced approach to change management.

Agile Digital Transformation

Agile digital transformation is taking the agile-approach to digital transformation, which includes being nimble, quick to implement, and experimental with organizational digitalization and transformation projects.


AI (Artificial Intelligence) uses advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze data, automate tasks, and improve decision-making processes within an organization. This technology helps CIOs enhance operational efficiency, customer experiences, and innovation while aligning with business goals and strategies.

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Big Data

For enterprise CIOs, big data refers to the large, detailed datasets organizations generate that need processing, storage, and analysis. CIOs use these massive data sources to gain valuable insights, make data-driven decisions, improve operational efficiency, and customer experiences, all driving business growth

Business Intelligence (BI)

The practice of business intelligence (BI) involves gathering, examining, and presenting data from different business areas to produce useful insights. These insights can help leaders such as CIOs make informed decisions that improve the organization’s operations, identify potential areas for growth and gain a competitive edge.


Change Agent

A change agent, also known as an advocate of change, is a crucial player in the process of change management. Their role is that of a catalyst for transformation within an organization, inspiring and influencing others to embrace new ways of operating. They are dedicated to promoting, enabling, championing, and supporting the implementation of change within the organization.

Change Control Process

A change control process helps identify, document, and authorize changes in a structured way. This helps minimize disruptions and makes sure everything runs smoothly. By ensuring that changes are authorized and errors are reduced, change control helps allocate resources more efficiently.

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Change Leadership

Change leadership is a proactive approach to change management that sees change as an opportunity for growth, not just a project. It requires agility, responsiveness, and overcoming common barriers to change.

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Change Management

Change management is a crucial process that organizations must undertake to implement and solidify changes within their systems successfully. From planning to implementation, this process involves guiding the organization through various modifications like the introduction of new technology or adjustments to existing processes, as well as changes in the organizational hierarchy.

Change Management Model

Change management models are useful frameworks for organizations looking to make significant changes to technology, people, or processes. They offer a comprehensive approach to managing change, guiding everything from planning and implementation to monitoring and evaluation. With the suitable change management model, businesses can confidently navigate the transformation process, ensuring that changes are accepted and implemented seamlessly.

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The CIO, or chief information officer, is a member of the C-suite and is the most senior individual responsible for managing IT-related and technology-related systems to help enterprises meet their goals.

Cloud Change Management

Cloud change management is the process of updating legacy, desktop (or on-premise) technologies to new cloud-based systems, including the development work, people, and processes.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is on-demand access through the internet to large computing resources such as applications, physical and virtual servers, data warehouses, DevOps tools, networking capabilities, and more.

Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is the process of a company moving its data, applications, infrastructure, and workloads into the cloud with Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS).


CPQ software (configure, price, quote) enables sales reps to create high-quality pricing quotes quickly. This allows companies to scale custom quotes with CPQ automation. Popular CPQ tools include Apptus, Salesforce CPQ, IBM CPQ, and more.

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Enterprise CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and Netsuite offers a comprehensive interface for managing customer relationships, making it easier for larger sales teams to handle data, team members, deals, and customers.

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CRM Adoption

CRM adoption ensures a CRM is used properly and actively by your sales team members. CRM adoption involves gaining buy-in and support from your team members on using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage sales activities across the organization.

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Cybersecurity is the act of an IT team protecting their company’s systems and information from digital attacks. It’s designed to combat threats from both inside and outside organizations.


Data Migration

Data migration is the IT process of moving data from one database to another, one format to another, or from one application to a new one. Typically, this results from switching to a new digital solution after retiring a legacy application.

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Data Silos

Data silos occur when data is stored in one area of an organization, making it hard to access and share. To fix this, enterprises can integrate data from multiple sources, use data management tools, establish data policies, and encourage collaboration and data sharing across teams and departments.

Data Privacy

Data privacy is the protection of personal and confidential information from unauthorized access and disclosure. Organizations must implement measures to safeguard data from cyber threats and breaches to protect their customers, employees, and partners.

Desktop Application

Desktop application are software programs run locally on computer devices that can be accessed offline. These on-premise applications aren’t accessible from a browser, like web-based apps, and require deployment on a personal computer or laptop.


DevOps combines software development and IT operations to streamline software delivery and infrastructure management. It aims to improve collaboration, automate deployment, and reduce errors for faster time-to-market.

Digital Adoption

Digital adoption refers to integrating new digital technologies into an organization’s workflows, processes, and strategies, ultimately ensuring that employees, customers, and stakeholders can effectively use and benefit from these new digital technologies.

Digital adoption goes beyond the deployment and implementation of digital tools and platforms but also includes end-user training, continuous support, and change management necessary to enable users to utilize these new technologies and applications effectively.

Digital Adoption Manager

A digital adoption manager maximizes technology ROI by training employees end-users through digital enablement and supporting employees during transformational changes. They require strong interpersonal skills and own a company’s digital adoption strategy.

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Digital Adoption Platform

A digital adoption platform (DAP) is no-code software that integrates with any application to help the end-users learn the application, its workflows, features, and overcome support issues. DAPs, like Whatfix, provide in-app guidance and on-demand user support with UI elements such as product tours, walkthroughs, task lists, tooltips, self-help menus, and more to guide employees, customers, or any type of end-user through every aspect of an application to enable end-users to find maximum ROI and peak productivity.

Digital Dexterity

Digital dexterity is the ability or skillset to quickly adapt to new technology and tools, allowing individuals to become more productive and efficient.

Digital Ecosystem

A digital ecosystem means connecting a network of companies or products. This can involve multiple companies partnering together to expand their range of products/services, or a single company creating a suite of connected products.

Digital Innovation

Digital innovation uses new technologies to solve complex business problems, improve processes, and evolve a company’s products and services. It’s an ongoing process that keeps organizations competitive and relevant.

Digital Maturity

Digital maturity is an organization’s ability to capitalize on the opportunities presented by new technology. It predicts success or failure by considering not just new software, but also the people, culture, and processes involved in digitalization.

Digital Strategy

A digital strategy is a plan that utilizes new digital initiatives and technologies to improve business processes. A roadmap for digital strategy helps companies innovate and discover new opportunities to gain a competitive edge, increase revenue, enhance customer experiences, and add value.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of enterprises migrating from legacy systems to new digital solutions that leverage new technologies and trends to improve business processes, services, and customer experiences. It changes how businesses operate and deliver value.

Digital Workplace

The digital workplace is a virtualized version of a traditional office, where collaboration and productivity happen through technology. It’s an always-connected environment that provides access to personalized services, data, applications, and workspaces from any device, anywhere, anytime.


Edge Computing

Edge computing distributes data processing and storage closer to where it’s generated, improving responsiveness, reducing delays, and enhancing privacy and security. It helps organizations process data more efficiently, leading to better decision-making and performance. Implementing edge computing reduces costs, usage, and risk for more reliable and resilient systems.


An ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning system, is an enterprise software solution that integrates and automates core business processes (ie. finance, supply chain, human resources, and customer relationship management.) As a CIO, it is essential to understand and manage your ERP system, as it connects various departments, streamlines operations, and improves decision-making, which ultimately drives operational efficiency, data accuracy, collaboration, and overall business growth.


Force Field Analysis

A Force Field Analysis is a tool used in change management and business diagnostics. It helps organizations understand the opposing forces at play when making significant decisions. To initiate change, organizations must strengthen driving forces, weaken restraining forces, or both. This theory is similar to Newton’s first law of motion, where a body will remain inert unless an external force acts upon it. Conducting a force field analysis helps identify these external forces and drive the change process forward.



HCM (human capital management) software, or HRIS software, is an integrated suite of people management technologies that help businesses manage their employees across their lifecycle – from onboarding, performance management, benefits administration, offboarding, and more.

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Icertis is a SaaS platform that provides contract lifecycle management (CLM) software solutions to companies to manage business contracts and processes digitally.

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Implementation Plan

An implementation plan is a detailed guide that outlines the necessary steps to achieve a particular objective or strategic initiative. For instance, if your company intends to establish a new department within a specified timeline, the implementation plan will describe how to go from the current state to have the new department operational.

IT Optimization

IT optimization is a strategic approach to improving an organization’s IT infrastructure, processes, and resources for maximum efficiency and alignment with business goals. This involves identifying areas of improvement and implementing cost-effective solutions for increased productivity, innovation, and security.

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ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a globally recognized IT framework that provides best practices for IT and IT Service Management (ITSM). It enables organizations to align their IT services with business needs, improve service quality, and deliver cost-effective service.

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IT Governance

IT governance is a structured approach for aligning and managing an organization’s IT resources with its overall business objectives. It includes decision-making, risk management, performance measurement, and compliance mechanisms.

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IT Roadmap

An IT roadmap outlines strategic steps for implementing IT initiatives within an organization, helping prevent workflow disruptions during technological change. It’s a crucial part of change management strategy.

IT Service Management (ITSM)

ITSM is a systematic approach to delivering IT services in an organization. It includes designing, implementing, and improving digital infrastructure, processes, and technologies to align with business goals, improve service quality, and reduce costs. IT managers oversee service delivery and optimize resources to meet evolving needs.

IT Stack

An IT stack describes the complete set of technology components that form the foundation of an organization’s IT infrastructure and services, including hardware, software, networking, databases, middleware, applications, and cloud services.

IT Strategic Planning

An IT strategic plan is a detailed document that provides an overview of an organization’s IT roadmap for the upcoming 3-5 years. It outlines the overall goals, strategies, and tactics to support those IT goals that align with an organization’s overall business objectives and outcomes.

IT Support

IT support is a service provided by IT professionals to assist end-users and organizations with using, maintaining, troubleshooting, and managing technology resources, such as hardware, software, networks, and more, for customers and employees. IT support ranges from basic help desk inquiries and problem resolution to advanced technical expertise for complex issues. 


Kotter’s 8-Step Change Theory

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Theory model is a proven approach to managing organizational change and digital innovation. This model mobilizes workers to adopt and implement new initiatives quickly. It was first introduced in Kotter’s book, Leading Change, in 1996. The model has since been updated to keep pace with changing business requirements and speed up the transformation process in today’s fast-paced world.

Kubler-Ross Change Curve

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, developed the Change Curve Model or Kübler Ross’ Model in the 1960s. The model illustrates the five stages of grief, which is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

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Learning Management System (LMS)

A corporate learning management system (LMS) is a centralized training and development SaaS portal that handles all aspects of employee L&D and training, including developing, storing, organizing, measuring effective, and more of your employee training content.

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Lewins 3-Stage Model

According to Lewin’s 3-Stage Model, individuals and groups are affected by two types of forces: restraining forces, which hinder change and maintain the status quo, and driving forces, which promote change and move towards a different outcome.


Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) is a type of AI that allows systems to analyze data and make predictions autonomously. This technology drives innovation and efficiency in various industries, from finance to healthcare, by automating decision-making and uncovering new insights from data. By embracing machine learning, organizations can streamline operations and stay ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7S Model is a comprehensive change management framework that emphasizes the strategic alignment and integration of seven interconnected elements: structure, strategy, systems, shared values, skills, style, and staff. 

By recognizing their interpolation, leaders can effectively manage organizational change, address its ripple effects, and foster a culture of change that unifies and influences all change project components, ultimately driving successful enterprise transformation.


Microservices are autonomous software components that communicate via APIs or messaging protocols to form a larger system for enterprise companies. They improve IT scalability, resilience, and flexibility. They also facilitate rapid innovation and seamless integration of new technologies. 


Microsoft is an enterprise software provider that offers a digital ecosystem and suite of enterprise technology, software, and infrastructure solutions, including Azure, MS Dynamics 365, MS Teams, SharePoint, and more.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (or MFA) is a security measure that requires users to verify their identities with multiple independent methods. This enhances their protection against unauthorized access and helps organizations reduce cybersecurity risks. With MFA, enterprises reduce the likelihood of data breaches, mitigate risks associated with compromised credentials, meet regulatory requirements, and strengthen their cybersecurity defenses, ultimately fostering better trust from customers, partners, and employees.



NetSuite is a US-based SaaS company that provides various solutions for SMB and enterprise companies, including accounting, CRM, inventory management, supply chain, ERP, HCM, payroll, procurement, project management, and other solutions. It was acquired by Oracle in 2016 and is now apart of one of the large enterprise software ecosystems in the world.

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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Network security is safeguarding an organization’s digital infrastructure and connected devices from unauthorized access, data breaches, and cybersecurity threats. By implementing robust network security practices, CIOs protect sensitive company data, maintain business continuity, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.


Organizational Development

Organizational development is a scientific approach that uses evidence to help organizations become more effective and adaptable to change. It involves developing, improving, and reinforcing strategies, structures, and processes to achieve organizational effectiveness. This can lead to various positive outcomes, such as improved financial performance, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and successful change management.

Organizational Health

Organizational health determines a company’s ability to develop, communicate, innovate, and follow a common business strategy by maintaining a highly engaged workforce and achieving positive business outcomes.

Organizational Structure

Organizational structure refers to how an enterprise organizes its teams, departments, and reporting structures to achieve its strategic goals and streamline decision-making. Understanding and shaping their organizational structure is critical for CIOs to foster effective communication, collaboration, and resource allocation within their IT department and the entire company.


Oracle is a US-based, full-stack software application, cloud platform, and technology services provider that specifically large, enterprises organizations across the globe and industries. Its the third-largest software provider in the world and offers a suite of enterprise solutions, ranging from its ERP, HCM, CRM, and customer experience applications – as well as dozens of enterprise cloud infrastructure services from big data, analytics, AI, DevOps, and more.


PDCA Cycle

The PDCA Cycle (plan-do-check-act cycle) is a four-step problem-solving technique used to continuously improve business processes and accelerate organizational change. It was pioneered by Dr. William Edwards Deming in the 1950s and is also known as the Deming Wheel or Shewhart Cycle.

Phased Adoption

Phased adoption is the process of gradually transferring to new internal business processes or new software systems with a phased approach. Legacy processes and systems are replaced one-by-one, allowing for proper configuration and testing for each new system separately — without impacting business operations. During the interim period, you have time to onboard and reskill your staff on new operating procedures and prepare the ground for a smooth transfer. 

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a cloud computing model offering scalable, on-demand platform services for application development and management. PaaS streamlines software development by handling underlying infrastructure complexities and enabling IT teams to focus on innovation. Leveraging a PaaS like Amazon Beanstalk, Outsystems, Google App Engine, Adobe Commerce, or Quickbase can help reduce costs, accelerate application time-to-market, and promote agility, scalability, and efficiency in an organization’s technology infrastructure.

Process Efficiency

Process efficiency is the steps your business tales or system automations you implement to make processes more efficient. This measurement factors in both time and resources spent on a process and either directly or indirectly affects a company’s revenue.

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RACI Matrix

A RACI Matrix chart is a useful tool for managing and facilitating projects. It helps ensure everyone involved understands their role, responsibilities, and tasks, which ultimately improves efficiency and helps meet deadlines. The chart explicitly identifies and communicates each person’s role and assignments, organizing all responsibilities in a clear and concise manner.

Risk Management

IT risk management is the process of identifying, monitoring, analyzing, and mitigating potential risks associated with an organization’s information technology systems, infrastructure, and data sets. For CIOs, effective IT risk management involves the implementation of robust internal policies, processes, and controls to minimize the likelihood and impact of risks and threats, such as cyberattacks, data breaches, and system failures.



S/4HANA is SAP’s new cloud ERP software designed for large enterprise companies that takes advantage of new best practices and industries technology trends. Many enterprises are currently migrating to S/4HANA from legacy SAP ERP systems, suchsaSAP R/3 and SAP ERP

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SaaS Management

SaaS management, also known as SaaS operations management or SaaS change management, involves actively overseeing and controlling the procurement, implementation, onboarding, licensing, renewing, and off-boarding of all an organization’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in its IT or technology stack. This has become a crucial role in IT and procurement business units in many organizations.

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SaaS Waste

SaaS waste happens when organizations pay for SaaS licenses that aren’t used by employees, or when organizations pay for multiple tools that provide the same solutions. Many times this occurs when business units are siloed and have different licenses for different tools. 


Salesforce is a cloud software provider headquartered in San Francisco. Its core offering is its CRM and Sales Cloud, but also offers leading solutions including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce CPQ, Slack, and dozens of other products in its Salesforce ecosystem – as well as its Salesforce AppExchange store.


SAP is a software and technology service provider for managing IT operations, supply chains, and customer relationships, based in Germany. Its core enterprise offerings include its ERP, CRM, HCM, among other large enterprise application offerings.

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For CIOs, scalability in information technology means a system, network, or process can handle more work, user demand, or data volume without sacrificing performance. This is crucial for businesses to grow, adapt to changes, and stay cost-effective.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between an IT service provider and a client (usually an organization or a business unit within an organization) that outlines the expected level of service, performance metrics, and quality standards for any IT services being delivered. CIOs play a critical role in negotiating and monitoring SLAs to ensure that their organization’s technology infrastructure and services meet business requirements and performance expectations.


ServiceNow is a US-based cloud computing and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider that provides digital workflow and automation solutions for enterprises, including IT service management, help desk, and customer experience management solutions.

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Single Sign-On (SSO)

Single sign-on (SSO) is a centralized user authentication process that enables end-users to access multiple applications and services with a single set of login credentials, which removes the need to remember multiple passwords. For CIOs, implementing an SSO provides streamlined access management, better enterprise security, and an improved user experience across the organization’s IT ecosystem.


Slack is a team collaboration SaaS provider owned by Salesforce. Its revolutionary team communication app changed the modern workplace and has become a staple for teams to collaborate, communicate, share files, and asynchronously work together.

Software Adoption

Software adoption is onboarding and training employees on newly implemented software applications to become productive and proficient with these tools quickly. This is a continuous process that involves on-demand end-user support and product update change management. 

Software Implementation

Software implementation involves adopting, integrating, and configuring software into an organization’s IT infrastructure and business workflows, including critical systems like ERP, CRM, and HCM systems. It also includes updates, upgrades, and migrations that may require development and testing efforts.

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Software ROI

Software ROI refers to the return on investment organizations experience from the implementation of a new software application or technology service provider. Enterprise software specifically can lead to ROI in the form of increased employee productivity, improved workforce efficiency, automated manual processes, streamlined workflows, enhanced data analytics and reporting, and other benefits.


SuccessFactors is a cloud-based enterprise human capital management software acquired by SAP in 2011. SAP SuccessFactors is one of the largest HCM software providers with 12,000+ customers and 190M+ end-users. It enables HR teams to digitalize, automate, and provide better employee experiences for core HR functions like onboarding, performance management, payroll, benefits administration, and more.


Technology Adoption

Technology adoption is how people or organizations accept, use, and find value in new technologies. It involves learning and adapting to new technologies to the point that they’re integrated into a person’s daily or weekly processes. Performance gaps, effort, digital skillsets, and social influence impact technology adoption.

Technology Adoption Curve

The technology adoption curve is a bell curve model that describes how different people react to, adopt, and accept new applications, products, and overall technologies. The original model segments people into five adoption categories five categories within the technology adoption life cycle: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Technology Enablement

Technology enablement  is how businesses use specific technology tools to boost operational efficiency and meet business outcomes, as well as how prepared their employees are to use these platforms to their full potential. Organizations use these tools to amplify their team’s strengths and capabilities.  Through technology enablement, employees can optimize business processes for the highest output levels to eliminate manual work, analyze business trends and data, and accelerate decision-making.

Technology Roadmap

A technology roadmap is a high-level overview of the applications, software, and technologies a company is, and will be, adopting over the course of the next quarters or years. It concerns your entire organization and approach to the tools you work with as your company and its needs change.


User Adoption

User adoption is the process of new users understanding and learning the value of a product and incorporating it into their daily or weekly workflows. User adoption strategies are implemented by product teams to improve engagement and create user evangelists and by IT leaders tasked with driving adoption and enabling employees to find value in enterprise software investments.



Whatfix is a digital adoption platform (DAP) that enables end-users of employee and customer-facing applications (desktop, web, and mobile apps) to efficiently and effective use software through contextual in-app guidance and self-help support overlays. Whatfix also provides advanced product analytics to understand user engagement and adoption to create more contextual, friendly user experience.


Workday is a human capital management (HCM) SaaS provider and one of the world’s largest cloud-software providers. Workday enables HR transformation by providing more automation and better employee experiences across payroll, onboarding, benefits administration, performance management, development, and more.

Workforce Transformation

Workforce transformation empowers employees to adapt and excel as a company grows and changes. This process includes strategic hiring, upskilling, and reworking roles. Organizations must incorporate workforce transformation into L&D initiatives to provide holistic growth opportunities for employees.



Oracle is a US-based, full-stack software application, cloud platform, and technology services provider that specifically large, enterprises organizations across the globe and industries. Its the third-largest software provider in the world and offers a suite of enterprise solutions, ranging from its ERP, HCM, CRM, and customer experience applications – as well as dozens of enterprise cloud infrastructure services from big data, analytics, AI, DevOps, and more.

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Zoho is a public, Indian-based SaaS company that provides a unified suite of enterprise solutions. It product suite includes complete, all-in-one solutions for sales, marketing, customer support, finance, team collaboration, HR, legal, analytics, project management, and more – all its single digital ecosystem.

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More resources for CIOs and IT managers


2023 Digital Adoption Trends Report


DAP vs. LMS: Creating Better Employee Experiences



Reed Partners with Whatfix to Drive Modern Digital Transformation