Supercharging your Business: Spreadsheets were not designed for Collaboration.

Posted by Posted on by
0

Collaboration on spreadsheets is like playing a Chinese puzzle. There are many instances, where we co-edit spreadsheets with our colleagues. Most times, we communicate and share these changes via e-mail, with the updated versions. This back and forth e-mail communication can tie us up in confusion of different data versions. The second problem is, when spreadsheets are shared, anybody having access to the sheet can alter data.  It does not allow role-based permission access for users. These alterations made by multiple users, may result in missing or erroneous information.

Working together is all about having data in one place and the possibility to work with the available data. When data becomes pivotal to all your daily tasks, you need a better business tool to manage.

Creator_Collaboration

Let’s consider your sales and production teams, both being cross- functional in nature and inter-dependent on data. As your sales executive updates sales information on the spreadsheet, your production manager from a different location, may add a few more rows of data relating to the stock information. Not only does the spreadsheet application get heavily-loaded with information, there is also a high chance  of collaboration-triggered issues. The problem gets more complex when everyone in other departments in your company, for instance–your warehouse team has access to manipulate information.

A custom solution like Zoho Creator is not only a central repository of information, but also allows multiple users to work on the data in real-time without confusion. It allows you to share the application with different teams in the organization. Due to its fine-grained access control feature, you can ensure that only specific people within a team have a chance to modify information. Additionally, the access permissions can also be defined based on roles. With all these features, you’re in total control of all information-based transactions that happen between multiple users in multiple teams.

You can be confident, that the data is available for people to collaborate and you can rest assured that it’s always accurate and up-to-date. So, if you have a lot of information and more collaborators then Zoho Creator would be the best solution for you.

Share with us, the processes you’ve deviced in your organisation to track all collaboration-based issues while using a spreadsheet program.

Supercharging your business: Understanding what solution is right for your business.

Posted by Posted on by
0

Before the era of technology, book-keepers, record assistants, and accountants used the paper and pencil method to maintain statement of transactions.  The rise of the computer era led to a wonderful invention called  spreadsheets. The first electronic version of the spreadsheet appeared in 1978 with a program known as “VisiCalc”. Since then,  spreadsheets  became the go-to tool to solve  problems since people started using the program for every single need like collecting information, performing calculations and data analysis.

No doubt, it is a terrific tool on multiple fronts, and it is evident that spreadsheet programs have a huge fan following. Number crunching is a piece of cake on spreadsheets–all you need to know is, to use some formulae and automate calculations in the workbook. Another significant advantage of spreadsheets  is visualizing statistical or numerical data in the most simplistic form. Data need not be necessarily represented as text or numerals; it can be represented as charts or graphs.

ZOHO Creator_Supercharging your business

Businesses run on data. Data is needed for making informed decisions and taking actions. Time is also the most important factor while working with data manually. Let’s imagine you run a book store that sells more than thousands of titles. As the best-in- town store, you always  keep track of all your titles that you  sell. And, you have Imagine you have this information stored on a spreadsheet. You are good as long as you want to analyze or visualize data like hot-selling titles of the week or month.

What if you needed your data to work for you? What if you wanted to be notified about one of your hot-selling titles running out of stock? What if you needed to place an order for fresh stock of books to your distributor in order to  replenish your inventory? What if you wanted to get your customer feedback as soon as he or she has made a purchase from your store?

You will agree with me, that spreadsheets can be limiting to perform these unique actions for you.There are many off-the-shelf software solutions for businesses that help solve most of the common business bottlenecks. Each business is unique. That is why you need a custom fit solution for your business to ease out your business operational tasks.

Zoho Creator is a solution that allows you to store, manage and create workflows around your data. It competes business complexity. You don’t need an IT guy to sit down, build something, test it and then wait for it to be rolled out to everyone in the workplace.  Because, building something on Zoho Creator is as easy as and much more than working with a spreadsheet program. Additionally, you can enjoy the advantages such as workflow management and real- time collaboration.

As a growing business owner, ask yourself these questions.

  • Does your company generate an enormous amount of information that is unmanageable in a spreadsheet?
  • Do you have constant changes made to existing data by different teams at different times and  geographical locations?
  • Do you need instant workflow based actions to be triggered or notifications based on available data?
  • Do you need automatically generated reports?

If your answer, is a ‘YES’ to all or any of the questions above, you sure need a powerful and scalable solution to beat complexity, manage and automate your business processes.  Zoho Creator is the right solution for your growing business.

Wise Up your business with Crowdsourcing

Posted by Posted on by
0

People always look for better, faster and smarter ways to accomplish everyday tasks. Most times, we borrow approaches that worked for us at an an earlier instance. However, banking on this method stifles innovation.

Problem solving is no longer confined to smaller teams. The boundaries of diagnosis have expanded from immediate teams to organization and  even external agents like suppliers and customers. Complexity demands better and more creative solutions, and controlled crowd sourcing is emerging as a way to solve complex business issues elegantly. The Japanese have done this for decades by bringing workers and business partners into their problem resolution processes.

Crowdsourcing

Today, crowd sourcing and collaboration have become part of a company’s culture. Vivek Wadhwa — an entrepreneur, columnist and academic— who writes in the Wall Street Journal about crowd sourcing as a tool for creative problem-solving that fosters innovation and co-creation within organizations.  It’s human trait to seek help externally, as we see on social media forums.

Businesses have been held back for lack of the right tools, which possess the ability to present, track, and resolve issues in collaboration. Zoho Connect is a tool that helps groups of stakeholders within an organization partake in issue identification, resolution, and execution — in a private and secure setting. It offers a searchable system of record that allows collective experiences to be shared, thereby driving rapid organizational learning. The tool can be used for problem identification, resolution, stakeholder feedback, or even as a quick and trusted way to assess product direction from early customers.

We use Zoho Connect in our organisation to drive our ideas and work, by collaborating across teams, time zones, and organizational levels. That’s exactly how we bring you better products. We genuinely believe that businesses using such tools for idea generation and problem solving will see massive comparative advantages over others stuck within traditional paradigms.

Have you thought about crowd sourcing for your business yet?

Beyond Corporate Walls: Announcing External Networks and other New features

Posted by Posted on by
0

We all know, organisations are made of people and processes. People play an essential role in getting things done. Every business, be it small or large have diverse goals and various internal and external stake-holders involved in the decision-making process. The business discussions and decision-making process is often complex. And the work certainly doesn’t just end with just discussions. Implementing work involves an execution plan, supervision and control to achieve the desired goal. Apart from employees, business alliances outside the company can also add value to attain this goal. And the key to successful implementation and innovation is better with collaboration involving these people too.

External Network

Cultivating External Collaboration:

Therefore, it is imperative to choose the right mode to collaborate. Understanding this transformation in the collaboration space, we’ve developed external networks. External networks are designed to enable businesses to extend collaboration capabilities to their partners, suppliers, agents, franchises or contract workers. Zoho Connect’s external networks are no different from the internal network for employees. We have made the interface consistent for both the internal and external networks. With external networks, businesses can leverage the collective knowledge and creativity of partners or vendors and arrive at smarter solutions.

Additionally, we’ve also added newer features to Zoho Connect to enhance collaboration capabilities for businesses. Chatroom, events, network analytics, AD integration are the new features.

Focused Conversations:

Zoho Connect believes in making team communication more focused and actionable. Keeping this in mind, we have added a chat room feature to groups. Chat rooms can be created within groups to hold real- time conversation on specific topics.

Time Management:

Calendars are staple in time management. Users can create events, send invites, track RSVPs of invitees. Don’t miss a single event in your company, stay up to date on upcoming events. We’ve also integrated with Eventbrite so that users can create social network for events, thereby aiding collaboration capabilities for the event.

Measuring Engagement:

It is important for community managers or network admins to understand how the users engage within the network. Network Analytics allows the admins of the network  to measure the overall health of the network, engagement at the group and company level.

Customisation:

Zoho Connect allows administrators of the network to customise the network to match the uniqueness of the company brand. The headers and footers are customisable and can be customised to reflect the look and feel of the brand.

Centralising User Access:

Most businesses leverage Microsoft’s Active Directory to centralize and to standardise user access to networks and other resources. Users can now directly login to their Zoho connect  network with their common organisation credential. It is advantageous in terms of increasing efficiency through convenience while improving access and boosting user adoption.

With the release of external networks, we’ve revamped our pricing plans too. We’ve made it simple.This new plan we believe will reduce the cost significantly to companies that work with a large pool of external users.

Simplified Licensing:

You no longer will have to pay per user for both internal or external network.  You can access most of our prime features like private groups, custom apps, document management and chat rooms in the Free plan itself. The additional features such as multiple admins, post moderation, custom domain, header and footer customisation and Active Directory sync will be under Enterprise plan priced at $49 per network.

To know more and how to use these features, join us at Zoholics: Productivity and Collaboration 2014 event at Pleasanton, California.

Social the way you want : New administrative features for Zoho Connect

Posted by Posted on by
0

It’s clear: putting your company on a private social network boosts collaboration and productivity. But if bringing the wild, anything-goes spirit of social networks to your company scares you, we don’t blame you. Zoho Connect has a full set of administration and moderation features so you can make sure things don’t get out of hand, while still taking advantage of all that creative energy.

Policies and Moderation:

Policies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Zoho Connect, every employee has a voice. It is most unlikely that organizations will need to remove content to promote transparency and engagement. However, there are those rare instances when moderation is absolutely necessary and that’s when the policies & moderation features comes into play. We’ve made it easy for community managers to step-in and take ownership for censorship.

Zoho Connect under your domain:
Access Connect network from your own domain. Having a custom domain improves brand credibility, trust and professionalism factor to your private social network. It is also promotes your brand to your most your important brand ambassadors — your employees.

Tailor the Look & Feel of your network:

Custom- Headers

As a network administrator you can now adjust the network header colors to match the uniqueness of the organization. Choose from a library of header colors and customize the look and feel of your portal to reflect the company brand.

Manage all network Groups:
From initial setup to daily administration to managing your network groups is now possible on Zoho Connect. Group administrative functions makes it easy for administrators to directly manage groups from the setup section itself. The network administrator can now see all public and private groups created within the network and manage it’s members.

Configure your existing network also with these new features under the setup section. If you are new to Zoho Connect, you can visit our help section to understand how to configure your network with these new features. Leave us your feedback too!

 

 

Coffeehouse Culture: Freshly brewing within Companies

Posted by Posted on by
0

Two weeks ago, my colleague posted an infographic on , “Work & Coffee: The Unbreakable bond”. It is true and I second that.  Now, I’d like to draw an analogy between “coffeehouse culture” and “social media” within an organization.

From the late 15th century, coffee-shops were the common meeting places for artists, musicians, writers and the like to share ideas and build their community. Coffee is considered to have aided the age of enlightenment and revolution in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Earlier, coffeehouses were social places where people met and debated on various topics of interest within the social circles. Modern coffeehouses are not so much about “coffee” but mostly about the “culture” that it brings along with it. “Coffeehouse culture” is all about allowing ideas to flow in from different social groups to meet and mingle.

A social network within a company functions more like “coffeehouses” facilitating workforce to be more interactive. The employees can be more out-going with their ideas leading to innovations. As much as each coffee shop has its own social climate and culture, each organization has its own culture too. Organizations can support an opportunity for collaboration among colleagues using a social network.

coffee

Learning brings vitality to an organization. Businesses that value and promote learning in all its forms, can reap benefits of its workforce in an environment that is alive and engaging. A social network inside the organization keeps workforce productively engaged, while transacting information that is relevant to them.

Imagine, a crowded space with individual tables for each group which is very typical of a coffee shop. A social network is also that “crowded space” with all its employees in it. Groups within social networks are those “individual tables” that allow teams to collaborate individually and effectively in small numbers. Each social circle may have its share of information and noise on the coffee table, so much so Groups will have their own share of information within the network.

Having shared this analogy, social media for companies is increasingly changing the way organization communicate and the way businesses function. The demand of staying updated at all times has become part of modern digital era.

As coffee refuels your senses, so does the social network for your company. Sip in this new business culture !

 

Announcing Zoho Pulse –– A Private Social Network for your business

Posted by Posted on by
4

Today is a special day for us at Zoho. We’re excited to unveil our new robust addition to the range of products at Zoho. Introducing Zoho Pulse –– a private social network for businesses.

Zoho Pulse is a secure workspace that enhances internal collaboration and communication among employees. It is a place on the cloud, that can serve as a virtual water-cooler and keep employees informed about company-related activities. It boosts productivity of employees, by giving them a podium to get their grey cells working on solutions that can bring mind-blowing outputs. Zoho Pulse is a great platform for employees to foster focused groups and share ideas, and thereby companies can promote inventiveness through engagement.

Pulse can change the way you work. Read more