Multiple Zoho Products Win the Trust of Secure Link Services

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We are quite excited to present Mr. Julian Weber, Managing Director of the software development firm -

Secure Link Services Ltd
. In this post, he shares his experience about how Zoho became his go-to software vendor for ALL his business needs.


A little about Secure Link Services

Secure Link Services is a software development firm with offices in Zurich, Switzerland and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Launched in December 2010, we currently have 15 full time employees and extend our team with more than 10 contractors, partners and other third-party collaborators. Our mission is to deliver superior quality, speed and reliability in software development, and we intend to set market-leading standards in the globalized markets of information technology.


Secure Link Services’ Challenge

When we chose the software to underpin our operations, we had to take a number of factors into account. First, we considered price and usability. We are a startup company, so our administrative requirements are limited to the industry standard and every franc, taka and dollar counts. Another related consideration was, whether to buy the applications and run them on our own or whether to rent the applications and let someone else run them in a software-as-a-service model.

In addition to price, the other factors included 1) how to best support employees in Switzerland and Bangladesh, many of whom are constantly traveling and 2) how responsive vendors are to customer support issues, including fixing and upgrading their software.


Zoho Solution

The first Zoho application we used was


Zoho Projects
.

For two and a half years, I had been using Basecamp, but it was expensive and I didn’t like the UI. So I switched to Zoho Projects and found it to be one of the greatest tools for both admin projects and engineering related ones. My initial experience with Zoho encouraged us to adopt Zoho applications for other administrative purposes, and today we use Zoho Books, Zoho CRM and Zoho People as well as Zoho Projects.

Zoho Projects – As a startup, we had to create a lot of operating documents from scratch – our code of conduct, employee manuals, things of that nature. So within Zoho Projects, we created a project for each document and assigned tasks to the administrative teams. This way, we were able to report on the progress of each document, track who was doing what, and identify and address any problem areas. We do the same thing to maintain the code and content of our website, write a brochure, and perform just about any other administrative task. We even use Zoho Projects to manage marketing campaigns that go beyond the scope of Zoho CRM in terms of detailed planning, execution and management.








Zoho CRM

I  had been using Salesforce in another organization before, but Zoho CRM seems to be more flexible and definitely is more affordable. What you find in Zoho CRM is almost the same functionality as in Salesforce and it follows the Dominant Design in the CRM market.

Right now, we use contacts, accounts and leads exclusively, but we have assessed various other functionalities which we will soon use, as our marketing activities grow.



Zoho Books

This is really outstanding. We evaluated a number of online accounting applications in addition to Zoho Books, but we really like the processes behind Zoho Books. It’s very easy to use, very intuitive, e.g., the “Money In” and “Money Out” tabs in the UI.

The usability from complex bank transactions, creditcard handling to automated invoicing and estimating is really strong. We also like the support of multiple currencies in Zoho Books, and the customizable document templates are nice. Additionally, the reports give us a clear picture of our finances, taxes, and our business overall.


Zoho People
 
– We use Zoho People to keep track of information on our employees and
our third-party contractors. For employees, we track details related to
demographics, employment history, performance assessment, salary data,
emergency contacts, and other information. And we use Zoho People to
provide monthly salary, allowance and expense reports. We fully
customized Zoho People by adding our own approval workflows and custom
fields so we can adapt to the conditions of the Bangladeshi
jurisdiction.


Zoho’s Impact

The decision to work in the cloud with Zoho was initially motivated by cost and accessibility. But over time, working online with Zoho has proven to be a superior, long-term approach for us. In addition to the savings advantage, Zoho gives us software that’s easy to use and, if we want to modify it, easy to customize. The applications are updated constantly, not every year or couple of years. And as we grow, all we have to do is create an account for new employees, and they have access to the full Zoho suite.

Another area in which we are seeing a big impact is administrative efficiencies. Here, Zoho Books and Zoho People stand out most significantly.

By using Zoho Books, we save roughly 40 percent of a full-time employee. We’ve basically cut our accounting time in half, particularly the time it took to track expenses, receipts and other records. Likewise, Zoho People saves another 25 percent of a full-time employee, largely because of its self-service aspect.




If you too would like to share your Zoho success story,


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Cloudcamper picks Zoho Projects for Cloud based Collaboration

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Cloudcamper
 provides cloud computing solutions and online software to small and medium business as well as to divisions within larger enterprises. The company is a reseller for both Zoho and Google Apps. Cloudcamper has its main office in Oostende, Belgium as well as five remote offices, each staffed by one of the company’s five partners.


The distributed nature of Cloudcamper skill sets, mirrors the distributed nature of the company’s work force. However, when a client needs a cloud solution that requires the talents of several Cloudcamper partners, the company has to act as a single, unified organization.

To that end, the company needed a way to coordinate the activities of its partners and its contract developers working on any given client project.

 The Zoho Solution
 For Cloudcamper, Zoho Projects provides cloud-based collaboration that supports the company’s structure and work style.

“If we didn’t use

Zoho Projects
, our job would be hard. We’d have to use
a shared spreadsheet or something to get an overview of all our
projects,” says Philip Debaere, managing partner at Cloudcamper. “Now, we open Zoho Projects and in one view, we
see all our open projects and their status. And the integration of the
other Zoho applications means that, for instance, I can send a project
to a customer in Zoho CRM and pull an invoice from Zoho Projects in Zoho
Invoice. Those features are really strong and well executed.”

Cloudcamper relies on Zoho Projects to track the time, partners and contract developers spend on tasks. Debaere and his partners review these time logs to calculate the profitability of projects and to uncover problems in project delivery. The information may be used to adjust prices to more accurately reflect time investments.

The Zoho Projects Gmail Contextual Gadget keeps Cloudcamper users in their Gmail user interface but lets them create a project, transform an email into an actionable task, assign tasks, and more.


Read more
 on how Cloudcamper benefited from using Zoho Projects.


Want to add Zoho Projects to your Google Apps? Click the button below.


Zoho Invoice’s iPhone app clinches the deal for Pesav.com

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You would have earlier read the Zoho Invoice customer success stories of M2i3, SAMTEQ Limited, etc.

Today, we are proud to present Mr. Davide Peri, Owner,


pesav.com
, an IT Services and Consulting firm. He would be reminiscing on why he chose

Zoho Invoice
 for his company’s invoicing needs.

Head straight to Mr. Davide Peri:

——————————————————————


The Challenge


Before Zoho Invoice, we invoiced our clients using a software that we created on our own for our internal use. Over time, most of our clients began requesting for an invoicing solution as well. So, our development began to focus on meeting our client’s needs instead of our own. Our goal was to create an invoicing application that was easy to use, simple to configure, required no maintenance and included some basic functionality.
Given
the scope of our business, our fundamental challenge was, finding the
time to develop and refine a consumer-oriented invoicing application.
The project started to take on a life of its own, and began to intrude
on our other projects and development work.


Zoho Solution

At some point during our own development, we found Zoho Invoice through a search on Google.

Simply put,  Zoho Invoice met our design goals and had better prices than we would be able to offer our clients. We shut down our own invoicing application project and migrated to Zoho Invoice (internally) and began recommending Zoho Invoice to our clients who had expressed interest in our invoicing app.

The best features for us, are the mobile access via Zoho’s iPhone app and the integration with Google Apps. The

Zoho Invoice iPhone app
 gives us access to all our accounting information, everywhere we go.

Continue to

read
 on how Zoho Invoice created an impact in his organization.




Already got Google Apps? Want to see invoices in your iPhone? C
lick the button below.


Customer Speak: “We Use Zoho Projects to Run the Entire Company”- Abacus Concepts

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You might have read the earlier accounts of how different businesses are using 

Zoho Projects for managing their projects
. Today, we are glad to present the story of Mr.

Sudheer Marisetti, the President and Founder of

Abacus Concepts
, a specialized database and data analysis consulting company. He would be sharing his

Zoho Projects
 experience with us.


Over to


Mr. Sudheer Marisetti
:
————————————————-


Abacus Concepts’ Challenge



abacus
In our company, most of the technical team is in India. Our clients are primarily in New York and New Jersey, with some in Boston and Virginia as well. We work with our partners in Europe whose products we market, sell and maintain in South Asia and South-East Asia. 

With such a scattered nature of our operations, we needed an online project management tool to support the global nature of our company and clientele and the resulting time zone gaps.

We tried

Basecamp

, but it’s not quite mature enough. We also tried using our clients’ project management tools. Some clients use

JIRA

, for instance, which does a great job of tracking requests and bugs but not powerful enough to cover the whole gamut of project management. And any tool that relies on email to coordinate requests is just hard to manage. Emails get lost. People don’t know how to keep track of them. We’ve also tried using

Microsoft OneNote

and

Excel

to keep track of the work, but it’s not the most efficient way.

And we used

Microsoft Project

, but it fell short for us. One, other people are not aware of the project progress unless you publish it online. We don’t have the means to do that. So I’d send copies, PDF versions to people through email. If I made a small change, I had to email an updated PDF. In a distributed environment like we have – a dozen people in the U.S., a dozen people in India, five or six people in Europe, and me traveling – Microsoft Project is not a good tool.


Zoho Solution

Today, we use

Zoho Projects
 extensively, almost as much as we use email. We track a dozen client projects in addition to departmental activity outside of our development team.

We not only use Zoho Projects for our income generating projects with our clients but also to run our company.

We created projects for our company administration, finance, marketing, HR, etc. This way we are able to create milestones (long term goals) and tasks and assign them to appropriate individuals and track their progress.

Abacus-Concepts


Zoho Projects + Google Apps Advantage

Zoho Projects is tightly coupled with Google Apps, and that helps us a lot. It means, we don’t have to maintain documents in both locations. And the moment we define the dates for a task, it shows up in Google calendars of the people assigned to the task.




Continue to read
 about how Mr. Marisetti uses Zoho Projects in his company.





Want to add Zoho Projects to your Google Apps? C
lick the button below.









If you would also like to share your project management success story, do contact support[a]zohoprojects.com


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 and

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r.




ClearDrop’s Preferred Project Management Solution – Zoho Projects

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We’ve been talking about how various businesses choose Zoho Projects for their project management needs. Today, we’d like to talk about ClearDrop, a value-added reseller offering business consulting and implementation of Openbravo ERP. They were in search of a project management solution that can
  • quickly be learned and easily used by a hybrid team of distributed developers
  • scale to handle the company’s growth

ClearDrop evaluated several client-side and cloud-based project management solutions including 37signals’ Basecamp. Ultimately, the company selected Zoho Projects.

ClearDrop’s Challenge

“I like to keep things simple,” said Jan Hendrik Mensen, CTO and
consulting partner at ClearDrop. “We can’t afford to complicate our
developers’ lives with a project management tool that has too many
options and settings. All those bells and whistles are actually
user-unfriendly and just complicate things and clutter the screen. We
need a lightweight tool that does all the essentials and lets us manage
all of our projects with minimum effort.”​

For ClearDrop, those essential project management features include
logging and tracking bugs, tracking project progress, setting and
assigning tasks and milestones, and managing the overall project
workflow. And those features must be presented in a streamlined,
easy-to-use interface.

Why Zoho Projects?

Broader Suite of online applications

In addition to satisfying ClearDrop’s list of essential feature demands, Zoho Projects offered other, distinct advantages. It is part of Zoho’s broader online application suite that includes Zoho Creator Helpdesk and Zoho Reports, both of which ClearDrop expects to use going forward.

Google Apps Integration

Another key advantage of Zoho Projects, it integrates with Google Apps.

“The Google Apps integration makes it really easy for us to add users and give them access to Zoho Projects using their Google accounts,” said Mensen.

How ClearDrop uses Zoho Projects?

For now, ClearDrop uses the Tasks and Milestones features in Zoho Projects to keep projects and deliverables organized and manageable in a single, easy-to-access location. Project milestones give ClearDrop full control of what its developers are doing and how the various projects are progressing. The company also uses the Wiki, and of course, the Bugs module too.

“We’re in software development, so we need to be able to log bugs. That’s really important to us, and Zoho Projects is one of the few tools that combines project management with bug tracking,” said Mensen.

Zoho CRM Usage

ClearDrop also uses Zoho CRM. Mensen likes the fact that he can test the application for free yet still access most of the key CRM functions. As the company expands its use of Zoho CRM, Mensen expects to easily scale from the free to a paid version of Zoho CRM. “I like how Zoho enables small businesses to just use a freebie,” said Mensen, “and if you grow and have the budget, it’s not a big step up to a paid plan.”

Zoho Projects Impact

“Software development projects can really be a pain, especially when you’re working with offshore teams,” said Mensen. “As a manager, you need to feel that you control the situation. You need updates. You need visibility. And Zoho Projects gives you all that. I can go to my dashboard and see the latest updates, so I know what’s going on and what my team is doing. Now, we don’t have to worry about being in control. With Zoho Projects, we’re in control.”

Read more about ClearDrop and Zoho Projects here.

If you would also like to share your project management success story, do contact support[a]zohoprojects.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Web Design and App Development Company M2i3 Uses Zoho for Quick and Effective Invoicing

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Are you one of those people who spend hours sending invoices manually? This post is just for you!
Find out how

Jean-Marc Lagace, principal partner at M2i3 managed to


save quality time


by switching over to online invoicing with Zoho Invoice.


A little about M2i3


M2i3
 is a web design and application development company based in La Prairie, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 2003, the company has extensive expertise in software development, including e-commerce, content management, and customer management applications. M2i3 takes pride in its ability to deliver application solutions backed by 20 years of experience, with strength in PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python, and Perl as well as Agile software development.


M2i3’s Challenge

For years, M2i3 prepared its client invoices manually, using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents. All invoice amounts were calculated by hand, including fees and taxes – both provincial and federal. Basically, M2i3 would calculate the two taxes together and then, after three months, pull reports and do more math to recoup some of the provincial taxes charged on the federal taxes.

 

The primary complaint with manual invoices was the time it took to generate them. “Invoicing was just a pain,” says Jean-Marc Lagace. “We were using Excel and Word, and it would take forever just to do the invoicing.” 

Zoho’s Solution


Simple Invoicing:




Three years ago, M2i3 began using the free edition of Zoho Invoice, which gave the company a chance to investigate the service without risk. The investigation paid off as M2i3 found Zoho Invoice very simple and easy to use. In fact, the calculations that M2i3 used to perform to figure its federal and provincial taxes are performed by Zoho Invoice. “Now, doing the invoicing is something we can do in just a few minutes,” said Lagace. “I don’t like spending time preparing invoices. Nobody does. Zoho Invoice really takes the sting out of the whole process.”


Recurring Invoice:

For most clients, M2i3 sends between two and three invoices – one before the project starts, one at the end of the project, and occasionally one at the project’s midway point. The company uses the recurring invoice feature of Zoho Invoice for support and maintenance.

The recurring invoice feature is great because every month, I get an email that tells me an invoice was created. I review it and then, with the press of a button, I can send it as an electronic invoice or as a paper invoice that gets delivered by snail mail. I don’t have to stuff any envelopes or lick any stamps. Zoho Invoice takes care of that for me.

Payment Followup:


And Zoho Invoice makes it easy for M2i3 to issue follow up invoices when customers fall behind in their payments. The company has set up criteria for payment, including grace periods, interest charges, and late fees.

Having Zoho Invoice calculate late fees makes it much easier to charge them. If we still did our invoicing manually – calculating the late fees and sending out Word documents – clients would be much more inclined to question the fees even though they agreed to them in their contracts. When the late fee is calculated and invoiced with Zoho Invoice, clients don’t think twice about it.

Google Apps Integration:


M2i3 relies on Zoho Invoice integration with Google Apps to streamline its invoicing workflow. Users access Zoho Invoice through their Google desktops, using the same menu they use to access their Google Docs files. And M2i3 users sign in, just once to gain access both vendors’ applications. The Zoho/Google integration meant that the contacts M2i3 had in its Google address book could be easily transferred to its Zoho contact list, eliminating the need to re-enter that information by hand.


Zoho Invoice Impact​


In addition to professional looking invoices created by Zoho Invoice, M2i3 enjoys time savings that can’t be overstated. Compared to preparing invoices manually, Zoho Invoice takes a job that used to average 30 minutes per invoice and compresses it down to five minutes for a one-time invoice and to two minutes for a recurring invoice. Likewise, Zoho Invoice greatly accelerates the process of recovering provincial taxes paid on federal taxes.


In the past, we had to calculate all the taxes by hand and that took forever. With Zoho Invoice, we just run two reports. The tax reports are actually within the product itself. It’s very useful and a huge time saver.

If you’d like to share your Zoho story, write to us at support@zohoinvoice.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


IT company Ondimar uses Zoho CRM + Google Apps to run its business

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The challenge for small business owners has long been finding a CRM application that is both effective and affordable. One such business is Ondimar.com, a Brazilian information technology company owned and
operated by Ondimar Jose de Morais. The company specializes in
demonstrating systems, training users, and presenting IT alternatives to its client base.

Ondimar realized that the effectiveness of any CRM installation depends on the users’ ability to understand the process flow, share knowledge, and understand the utility of CRM as a fundamental business process. Meanwhile, the company’s CRM users were often spread thin engaging a variety of clients and business partners.

Ondimar.com started working with Zoho CRM two years ago and is quite happy with the decision. The company is now taking advantage of Zoho CRM’s integration with Google Apps.

“Zoho CRM has assisted me in tracking tasks,” says Ondimar. “We use Gmail, so I can monitor all requests that come to my team via email. Then, I can email the file after it is resolved. By integrating with Google Apps, Zoho CRM lets me share without difficulty or duplicating effort.”


Continue to read
 on how Zoho CRM’s straightforward interface helped Ondimar.com’s employees.

If you’d like to share your Zoho CRM story too, write in to us at support@zohocrm.com, We look forward to hearing from you!