Explore Zoho Reports Series: Part III – Form Interface using Zoho Creator

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In Zoho Reports, data is stored as database tables. Unlike in conventional databases, this tabular data can be readily edited in Zoho Reports, using its spreadsheet-like interface. When new data is to be entered, it would be possible to do so using this interface. But wouldn’t it be easier and more functional if we had a form interface? There can be situations where data entry has to happen without the user seeing the whole database.

Enter Zoho Creator, our friendly online app creator and form builder. All you have to do is follow three simple steps as below to get your form interface.

  1. Create the form using Zoho Creator’s drag-and-drop interface.

  2. When creating the form, uncheck the ‘Store data in Creator’ option

  3. Include a short Deluge script that instructs Zoho Creator to directly store data in Zoho Reports.

Once the above is done, you can start entering data in the Zoho Creator form, see it getting collected in Zoho Reports and create all the reports you need in Zoho Reports as usual. Detailed documentation of how to go about this is available here. In case of any questions/clarifications, leave your comments or email us at support@zohoreports.com.

Note: While the above is for Zoho Reports users, in the past, we have had a couple of integration points for Zoho Creator users (where the web app is built using Zoho Creator and all data gets stored in Zoho Creator itself).

  • Zoho Creator has an in-built ‘Reports’ tab (that’s powered by Zoho Reports) which provides all the necessary reporting for your data.
  • If you wanted to use the full features of Zoho Reports, you can periodically export your data from Zoho Creator to Zoho Reports, for further reporting and analysis.
More about the above two options here.

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OneSaas integrates with Zoho CRM (Announced at CeBIT Australia, 2011)

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OneSaas is a Software-as-a-Service cloud integration platform that is designed to solve the challenges of integrating separate Cloud-based or On-Site software solutions. By integrating popular platforms from CRM, eCommerce, Invoicing, Email Marketing, Event Management, Project Management and Accounting, OneSaas gives you a way to simplify and optimize your business processes.

This is a guest post by Corneliu Tusnea of OneSaas.

When your business data like contacts, invoices, and product inventory is in the cloud, you can work from anywhere.

And you can use your favourite tools, such as Zoho CRM to stay on top of client sales, MailChimp for email marketing, and Shopify to host your online store. But what happens when your business data lives in two or three different Saas applications? Changing a customer address in one system means the others are out of date: Hello unhappy customers! To fix that problem you had to build custom integrations between the different Saas systems, and maintain them when systems changed. What a pain!

Enter: OneSaas.

OneSaas provides integration as a service, connecting your favourite web apps together so that you are never out of date. Now, when you update a contact address in Zoho CRM that is automatically connected to Shopify and MailChimp or the other 30 web apps currently supported or under development (spanning CRM, eCommerce, Invoicing, Email Marketing, Event Management, Project Management and Accounting), OneSaas gives you a way to simplify and optimize your business processes so that your whole Saas system works together: Hello happy customers!

What’s more, it means your data is always right, customers get their packages at the right address, your accountant loves that your numbers are up to date, and you can get on with running your business.

Zoho CRM is now integrated with OneSaas, and here’s a video of the announcement made at CeBIT Australia, 2011.

Learn more about this integration here.

What do you think about this integration? Do try it and let us know!

– Corneliu Tusnea

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


or connect with us on

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 and

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r.




Zoho Support: New User Interface for Customer Support Portal

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Today, we are happy to announce an improved user interface for the customer support portal of Zoho Support, our

Customer Support and Helpdesk application
.

 

Customer Service Portal – Home page view

Apart from changing the look and feel of the customer support portal, we’ve also enhanced a few settings to help you manage your customers better.

  • You can now customize the widgets and sections. You now have the option whether to show to all users or to only those who are your registered users.
  • The Solutions view in the Customer Portal has been changed to display the list of topics. Clicking a topic will display the sub-topics under it.

     

    Customer Service Portal – New Solutions page view

  • When a customer searches for his/her requests, the requests which were re-assigned to internal departments have been made viewable too.
  • A new section called ‘Contact Info’ is now available in the right panel customization area. You can use this section to display the contact information of your support functions, and customize it further by adding more sections based on your needs.

You can read more about the new Customer Portal in Zoho Support at

http://www.zoho.com/support/help/customer-portal.html
. Try the new Customer Portal pages of Zoho Support and mail your feedback comments to

support@zohosupport.com
.

iCloud: It is Everything Microsoft Wanted to Be

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At first they ignored the iPod, and it looked plausible
Then they laughed at the iPhone, and it looked ignorant
Then they dismissed the iPad, and it looked ridiculous
Finally, the iCloud arrived
And the board woke up.

(OK, that last line was pure fiction).

It is a testimony to how far Microsoft’s stock has fallen – no I don’t mean just their stock price here – that no one seems to remember Ray Ozzie’s Software-plus-Services marketing slogan anymore. I was reminded of that when I watched Steve Jobs announce the iCloud and how that spells the end of the PC. I must say he didn’t just say the end of the PC – he helpfully added “the Mac” too, but he is just being polite and everyone knows what he has in mind. Of course, we at Zoho don’t have to tell you that the era of billions of cloud connected devices suits us very well, thank you. It is everything we have been working on for the past 6 years. 

With Apple training us in our capacity as consumers to expect our data to be just there in every device we work on, we as business users will expect the same convenience from all our apps. We are accelerating our R&D at Zoho to deliver that ubiquitous access, everywhere, in every device, through the web and through native apps when necessary. It is telling that the one platform where we are not planning any native apps is the same one that gave meaning to the words “software platform”.

The iCloud should be Microsoft’s dream, except that Steve Jobs has turned that into their nightmare. 
Some time ago, it used to be that Microsoft’s entry on a particular space validated it. But it was not Office365 that “validated” the cloud. Rather, it is Apple’s iCloud announcement what finally brought the cloud to the mainstream public. Of course, it took Apple to take a mouthful of a marketing phrase such as Software-plus-Services and turn it into something small, tight and cool.

How a company with so many strategic assets would manage to piss their seemingly insurmountable advantage away in a decade should be a business school case study. Hopefully Stanford Business School would award Ballmer his long unfinished MBA for showing us how it’s done. 

SAMTEQ Limited gets paid faster using Zoho Invoice and improves its cash flow

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Recently, I had a tete-a-tete with Ken Coley of SAMTEQ Limited, a Scottish Web development company. He had some interesting things to share on his company and how

Zoho Invoice
 fits into his fast growing business. Some excerpts from our conversation:


1. How did SAMTEQ get started?


SAMTEQ Limited was established in 2009 by Sam Coley, at the age of 16 and has enjoyed rapid growth to a successful web development company. SAMTEQ creates web solutions for small to medium businesses, based in Scotland but serving the UK and beyond. SAMTEQ specialises on making extremely easy to manage websites, with a unique CMS system developed in-house. SAMTEQ customers tend to be owner managers and have little time to do anything apart from concentrate on their business. As a growing business we do not have an accounts department so we have to manage our invoicing between our paid work.


2. How did you discover Zoho Invoice?


Zoho Invoice came to our attention through Google search for online invoice system, allowing us to have a genuine no commitment free trial.


3. What invoicing software were you using before and why did you decide to switch?


Before Zoho, we were using Microsoft Access, a template found on the web. It did the trick but was slow and time consuming. We needed a system that allowed us to have

recurring invoices
 and make sure we actually created and sent the invoice. We switched to Zoho because it had all the functionality we needed and was very affordable, now we have been using Zoho Invoice for a few months and have found it has improved [our] cash flow and reduced our time, well worth every penny.


4. How has Zoho Invoice helped your business?


Finding Zoho Invoice was a great break through for SAMTEQ in dealing with our invoices. What was a chore turned into an automated process. When we need to create a new invoice, it is a breeze. When we first trialed the solution we found the setup to be easy and intuitive, only bringing up a couple of questions which were answered in the forum and an email to support. We generally bill customers for setup charges then have recurring charges for ongoing services. We invoice customers when we complete work and they have approved the work, this means we sometimes issue an invoice while on the move, the iPhone App makes this easy and, to be honest, quite satisfying!


Ongoing invoicing had become an issue as we often forgot to invoice small recurring charges and chasing payments. Zoho allows us to have an automatic invoice and an easy payment option for these small amounts, we find they now get paid quicker with the Zoho system.


5. How do you see life beside work?


Owning a business obviously eats into spare time but at weekends I like to get out onto the water and sail or play the odd game of Golf, in the evenings I mostly watch films.


That’s how SAMTEQ Limited took advantage of Zoho Invoice. Click

here
 to read more such customer success stories.


If you’d like to share how Zoho Invoice has helped your business, write to us at 

support@zohoinvoice.com
 or connect with us on

Facebook
 and

Twitter
.