Zive, Inc.: Designing Better Cloud-based Applications

In a recent interview, Insights Success spoke with Eric Shashoua, CEO and Founder of Zive, Inc. about his experience building technology products using design as a key differentiator. In addition to sharing some resourceful insights, he also told us more about Zive’s approach to reshaping how cloud-based software is experienced along with his future goals to make people using applications like Google’s G Suite more productive.

Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Eric and Insights Success:

Please give a brief overview of the company, its uniqueness, and its vision.

Since its introduction, G Suite’s cloud-based approach and simplicity has won over millions of businesses. Google’s cloud-based email and productivity apps are great, but their main drawback is that users are stuck using them in the web browser.

Kiwi, a desktop app, untethers G-Suite from the confines of web browsers. What we’ve done is create a desktop app for Gmail as well as G Suite apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides that turns them into a set of desktop applications that exist outside the browser, functioning much more like Microsoft Office and not as a series web pages in tabs in your browser.

What are the cutting-edge solutions offered by Zive, Inc.? 

We began by focusing on consumers with Kiwi for Gmail. It took us more than two years to rethink and rebuild from the ground up how Gmail functions on the desktop to make it faster, easier to use, and more reliable. It has become one of the highest overall rated (average rating for all versions) third-party email apps in Apple’s Mac App Store.

Our enterprise solution, Kiwi for G Suite, enables businesses to provide their employees with a desktop-like experience for productivity applications like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The uniqueness of Kiwi is that it works as a full-featured desktop application that is fully integrated with your computer’s operating system and file system.  This means Kiwi is faster, lighter and has additional features that can’t be built by Google in a web page. The browser environment limits developments and enhancements in different ways, which Kiwi the desktop application makes possible.

Since security is a huge issue for both enterprise and consumer users, Zive implemented a theoretical computer science research paper on securing banking websites to isolate everything happening in Kiwi from what’s going on in the browser and even from other related accounts.

What Kiwi for G Suite really does is help enterprises improve their G Suite rollouts, increase user adoption and make them more likely to stay with G Suite after transitioning from Microsoft Office.

Give a detailed description of your role at the company and impact on the industry. 

I guess you could describe me as a serial entrepreneur who has developed a devotion to humanized design that is beautiful, seamless, and simple. My dedication to design is reflected in every aspect of our products. Before Zive, I previously started and led Zeo, Inc., where I raised $14M in VC funding and launched the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach in the US and Europe.

Underpinning everything our company does are two pillars, speed and multitasking, which help clients make a difference in the way their people work and ultimately their business propositions.

Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learned that have shaped the journey of the company. 

My management philosophy has been strongly influenced by the CEOs of Bose and iRobot, who were active members of Zeo’s board. As a result, Zive’s management now embraces a passionate design philosophy for creating humanistic, friendly products that are also powerful. We firmly believe that our products make real differences in people’s lives by making the tools they rely on not only more useful, but also more elegant and intuitive.

We believe in the power of design that results in an effortlessness, which invites engagement. We believe that beauty is indispensable, because life is bigger than work. We believe that details matter, because the realization of a vision is ultimately nothing more than an assemblage of these. And we believe in obsessive design, because true perfection requires persistent iteration fueled by burning passion for the thing created.

We believe that the only way to do transcendent work is to find something way more important than simple revenue. For us, that’s saving the world from bad software, with resounding works of art and engineering that stand boldly in defiance of the status quo.  What are the challenges faced while providing Google solutions and how is Zive, Inc. serving to tackle them?

Companies transitioning to G Suite and the resellers that assist them often find the process of rolling out the new platform and onboarding new users difficult. Employees often miss the familiarity of Office and find using applications like Google Drive via the browser difficult.

As a result, they often prefer to continue to use more intuitive and familiar alternatives like Dropbox and Box. Unfortunately, this means that companies end up having to hold onto additional licenses and essentially double pay for storage services.

This can end up significantly raising the overall cost of deploying G Suite. When combined with slower than expected adoption among employees, CIOs may be tempted to reconsider their decisions to go with G Suite. Kiwi’s multiple windows and intuitive interface lets users work smarter by enabling them to quickly access each application, open new documents, and get back to recent documents with a single click.

A recent analysis of Kiwi for G Suite users revealed a significant increase in the amount they use key G Suite apps. In fact, we saw a +74% increase in overall editor usage (Docs, Sheets and Slides) and a huge +140% rise in Google Drive usage.

These findings demonstrate that Kiwi can help companies achieve dramatically better adoption of G Suite among employees by delivering a more familiar and user-friendly experience when compared to using these same apps in the browser.

More Successful G Suite Rollouts: 

Kiwi for G Suite makes it much easier for clients to take full advantage of G Suite and reduces reseller sales IT efforts and cost.

Increased User Adoption: 

Kiwi makes G Suite a better product by adding new functionality and providing a native Interface. This not only allows users to get even more from G Suite, but also provides a simple alternative to make G Suite more usable for resistant employees.

Improved Client/User Retention:

By making, Google Drive and apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides much easier to use, companies can save money by reducing the need to double pay for Dropbox and Office licenses. This reduces cost and improves overall ROI on a company’s G Suite investment.

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