‘The Economic Times’ profiles Zoho University

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Pankaj Mishra in ‘The Economic Times’ wrote about Zoho University, our in-house initiative that recruits students who’ve finished higher secondary school, and trains them to become software engineers. From the article,

In an industry scrambling to hire and retain restless engineers from top engineering and business schools, Zoho offers lessons to other entrepreneurs in terms of looking beyond traditional hiring, apart from demonstrating that India can produce software product for users across the globe.

… for employees like [Saran] Babu, an open work atmosphere without any investor or stock market pressure means freedom to think bold and execute the ideas. “Zoho taught us how to learn on our own,” he says. Indeed, when Babu joined, he was taught popular programming language called C++, and now, he is busy teaching new recruits and other members of his team how to write applications using Java language. With revenues of nearly $100 million, Zoho has also been able to keep chasing venture capitalists at bay.

“We go back to 1996 when nobody was interested in products. Venture Capitalists cannot have a 15-20 year vision. We have managed well, and have a strong balance sheet,” says [Sridhar] Vembu.

Zoho is currently adding 1,00,000 users every month, and the company expects to add users at double the pace over next few months. Most of this growth is coming from smaller firms in the US and other markets who are trying to avoid similar pricey solutions from established software giants. Zoho’s office suite, which includes word processing costs around $50 a year.

Thanks to Pankaj & ‘The Economic Times’.

Two useful mouse techniques for your spreadsheets!

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After a marathon effort to load a million cells spreadsheet in Zoho Sheet, we are onto a sprint mode. A lot of exciting and nitty-gritty features are in the making. Meanwhile, we’ve added a couple of features that can make you more efficient.

Drag-n-Drop cells:

We have now made it possible to do cut-n-paste actions using your mouse. 


To move a cell or contiguous range of cells, select it and position your mouse over the selection outline. The mouse cursor will change to “move” pointer . Now drag the selection by holding down the mouse button. Once you reach the target cell, release the button in order to paste the content.

Similarly, to copy a cell or range, hold down the CTRL key either before you start or as you drag the selection.

At any point of time while dragging, if you need to cancel the operation, just press ESC key. 

Cell references to other worksheets in the same workbook:

We already support referring cells from other worksheets within the same workbook using the syntax



SheetName!CellAddress
(e.g.,


Sheet2!A5
). But in cases where the formula has cell ranges referred from various worksheets, it becomes really tedious to type the entire formula in one go.

Now, you can directly open the corresponding worksheet by clicking on its tab present at the bottom and select the cell(s) while typing the formula. Once you select a cell or range of cells on a different worksheet, you can press the ENTER key to submit the formula or type an operator and continue the formula.

More details about the latest update here.

New In Zoho CRM: QuickBooks and Telephony Integrations

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Here are two brand-new integrations that make customer relationship management with Zoho CRM a lot simpler: Zoho CRM’s Telephony integration and the integration with QuickBooks. These two integrations have been top of our list when it comes to new feature requests from customers. So, here goes.


Zoho CRM for QuickBooks

Zoho CRM for Quickbooks will help you keep information in both

Zoho CRM
and your QuickBooks accounting system in sync.

Many of our Customers were helpful in testing this and giving us feedback. Based on their feedback, here’s what we have got for you in this update – it is now possible to integrate both Customer and Inventory data with your QuickBooks system.

What are the implications of using this feature? No more dual entry, complete visibility of customers and you can focus better on your sales cycle, from lead nurture to the close of a sales deal. This means that your Sales and Accounting departments can have a single version of customer data, even when they continue to work independently.

Here are some of the highlights of this integration. Zoho CRM for QuickBooks supports the Contacts, Vendors, Products, Quotes, Invoices and the Sales Orders modules in Zoho CRM and is available for the Premier and Simple Start offline Editions of QuickBooks. We also give you the flexibility to schedule your data transfer between Zoho CRM and QuickBooks at your convenience. That’s not all. You can avoid data entry conflicts between Zoho CRM and QuickBooks by setting your priority and also map any custom fields that you have created.

As a Professional and an Enterprise Edition customer of

Zoho CRM
, you can try this integration at a cost of $25/Month, per Organization. So, all QuickBooks users,

learn more
about this feature and give it a try!


Zoho PhoneBridge: Zoho CRM’s Telephony Integration

As the name suggests, PhoneBridge connects your telephone system(PBX) with Zoho CRM and allows you to interact with your CRM account during all your customer interactions through inbound and outbound calls.

Consider the case of a Call Center. Cold calling, telemarketing calls, telesales calls, customer care, customer support -  these are the typical operations of call centers. Now, how would it be to leverage the data from your CRM System during a call? Zoho PhoneBridge is the answer!

Here’s how you can make your outgoing and incoming call operations simpler with Zoho PhoneBridge:

Make outgoing calls with a single mouse click from the Leads, Contacts and the Accounts modules. All you have to do is to click on the telephone icon next to the telephone number in the record details page. For incoming calls, you have the key details of the call displayed as a screen pop-up (provided you have logged into your account). You can also capture all details of a call with the ‘log the call’ feature, instantly and simultaneously during the call. Logging a call inside Zoho CRM

has plenty of benefits
.

So, how does this work? It’s simple. As an administrator, you can configure PhoneBridge for your Zoho CRM account by entering a few details, such as users, their telephone extension numbers and dial codes for your outgoing calls. You can then install the adapter for your PBX system and you are done.

At present, we support Avaya, Elastix, Asterisk and Trixbox. And if your company has multiple contact centers that are geographically distributed, you can operate them as separate entities by creating a separate PhoneBridge group for each of them.


Learn more about this integration and give it a try. A 15-day Trial version is available in all editions of Zoho CRM and it is priced at $6 per user, per month. If you’re interested in this, and have a PBX system that we don’t support, please don’t hesitate to let us know at support@zohocrm.com.

How do these latest features work for you and what more would you like to see in Zoho CRM? Please write to us,and let us know. Or drop us a comment right here.

Zoho@Zoho: How our resellers access Zoho CRM contacts via Zoho Creator App

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Line-of-Business

applications (LOB) is much talked about nowadays in the corporate
world. LOB apps are a series of indispensable applications that are capable of
being smoothly interlaced with each other.
This is where Zoho Creator come
into adding value to your business; Even change the way you run
business, perhaps. Zoho Creator is an online database platform to build situational
applications that can work seamlessly alongside these LOB apps, Zoho CRM for instance. These are apps that bridge
gaps
because a fully functional generic application might not cater to
your minor, but not-negligible requirements. Here is one such instance
which we encountered.

We have resellers in quite many countries, and it is they who help customers in their locality to get the most out of Zoho. We chose Zoho Creator to come up with this reseller portal. But this application needed contact information from Zoho CRM. Hence we employed schedulers to do the job.
Remember us having talked about

task schedulers

some time back; The what-to-do and when-to-do stuff? This application might prove to be the kind we had in mind. As a very pleasant outcome, we have got ourselves this application that is capable of importing contacts daily from our Zoho CRM account. Automatically. Seamlessly.

We designed it to fetch all the contacts for the day, and scheduled it to do so at 12 pm everyday. It accounts to 200 a time because the return limit for the API request is 200. Once the synchronization of contacts between the two services is in place, distribution of relevant data is child’s play. Access to details of clients in their locality alone is granted to the resellers, and that too, on a dedicated view. This application has redundant information, already available on Zoho CRM, but with a purpose. It is to avoid modification of data on CRM. Whenever a reseller closes a ticket, ie., generates a lead out of a contact, it stays on Zoho Creator for verification. This ensures the integrity of the original information stored on Zoho CRM; Not being altered at any cost.
Well, that’s all about this application, I suppose.

Try this application

too, as you’ve tried the previous ones. If you have built anything of this sort that busts myths about Zoho Creator’s capabilities, write to us. It might throw more light on how custom, online application building can get, and how Zoho Creator is pioneering.

Apps showcased till now:

Rebranding ManagementHall of ShameTweet Stream,  Ad TrackerReseller PortalDownload TrackerIT Asset ManagementSupport Call TrackerNew Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier ManagementCab Booking



Appreciation from Zoho Reports Customers

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Some of the usage scenarios and testimonials from Zoho Reports customers below.

-


Eurail.Com

– – Based in the Netherlands with fulfillment centers operating from the
USA and the UK, Eurail.Com sells Eurail train passes online to travelers
from all over the world. The company uses Zoho Reports to provide quick,
easy and centralized data access for its sales and marketing team; to
improve its sales forecasts and reporting accuracy; and to increase
employee productivity by reducing manual tasks. “We now have very
detailed insight into our daily sales figures without any manual
operations,” said Jeroen de Bruin, marketing and sales manager for
Eurail.Com.

-


Impact
Solutions


This company helps teachers spend more time
inspiring students and less time keeping records. The flagship product,
Impact, uses Zoho Reports to give teachers, administrators and staff
real-time access to accurate and current information about student
performance, attendance and character. And the Zoho Reports price
structure makes Impact affordable for small schools as well as large.
“In some ways, the schools wouldn’t be doing this tracking and analysis
if not for Zoho Reports. It lets us deliver a system that’s powerful yet
simple and cost effective,” said Jesse Olsen, founder of Impact
Solutions.

-

Interchem (Chemist Wholesale) Limited –

A pharmaceutical
wholesaler, Interchem Limited uses Zoho Reports to compare prices for
both vendor procurement and retail sales. The company automatically
uploads data from Microsoft SQL Server into Zoho Reports on an hourly
basis to make decisions in near real time, with the option of using the
Zoho Reports API for real-time data analysis. “Zoho Reports has helped
our business reach the next level. It’s so easy to use – no coding
required – but is nevertheless more powerful than many other products on
the market. I would recommend it to anyone looking to procure a business
intelligence solution on a shoestring budget,” said Shaheed Fazal,
director at Interchem


(Chemist Wholesale) Limited.

-


CH2M
HILL
– A global full-service engineering, procurement,
construction and operations firm, CH2M HILL uses Zoho Reports to track
project data and reports. The Zoho solution provides a reporting
database in which everyone can access current information and reports,
but only one person controls them. “Previously, we had people tracking
data and reports with Excel spreadsheets and passing them around, and we
lost control of data and reporting. Now, we are again using the data and
reports with confidence,” said John Kubenka, CMMS administrator for CH2M
HILL.

More testimonials here. And our press release on the same subject.

If you are looking to create and share reports of your business data (be it sales, marketing, finance, HR etc), do try Zoho Reports now. Also, sign up for our FREE 3-day Consultation Program where we help you get your data into Zoho Reports and create your first reports and dashboards.

Humor on the cloud: Snowmen

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Speaking of snow, here’s a recent tweet from Zoho user, Dave Holowiski:

      Thanks to Zoho Assist I fixed my customer from my toasty warm home, instead of having to drive an hour in the snow! Woohoo!


If you’d like to share any experiences of how Zoho helped you when you were snowed in, please drop us a comment here. We’d love to hear them!

Cloud Computing Assignments for B-School Students

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What’s common to B-school students of Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSoM), IIT Kharagpur and those in Lundquist College of Business (LCB), University of Oregon? Well, both have professors who are not only well-versed in the latest web technologies but also involve their students hands-on with these technologies.




1. VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur



We have featured Professor Prithwis Mukerjee of VGSoM before as a Zoho power user. Prof Mukerjee continues to getting himself accustomed to the latest tech trends. He uses

Facebook’s discussion board
to full effect in communicating with his students. One of his latest assignments to his students – make a short movie and upload to YouTube or create a mini ERP system in Zoho Creator. His problem statement for the Order-to-Cash ERP app:

The Order-to-Cash process begins with the arrival ( and recording ) of
an order for a specified product from an approved customer. The order
can ONLY be accepted if a sufficient inventory exists of the product.
After the order is accepted, it is fulfilled at some point of time when
an invoice has to be generated. Generation of the invoice also creates a
Accounts Receivable entry and sets the order status to delivered.
Subsequently a payment is received, the invoice is marked paid, the AR
entry is marked paid and credit entry is made in the cash ledger.

11 student groups made the Zoho Creator app and I was honored when the Professor asked me to judge the apps made by his students and award them marks :) The related

discussion thread
in Facebook.
Prof. Mukerjee blogged about it too.


2. LCB, Univ of Oregon



Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, Michael Pangburn, teaches Business Information Systems (DSC340) at LCB, UofO. And he not only uses

his blog
to communicate with his students but also makes each of his students create one – their blog roll. His

notes page
for the course DSC340. And one of his

home work
assignments to his students:

Assignment Description

  • Download a copy of

    this Excel file
    .
    This “Presidents.xls” spreadsheet file contains 4 database tables: (i)
    president (a list of presidents), (ii) party (a list of parties), (iii)
    state (a list of states), and (iv) priorPosition (a list of prior
    positions that presidents have held).
  • Go to

    http://db.zoho.com
    , a free
    online database service, and login (either create a new account or login
    using the Google, Facebook, or Yahoo! login options).  Create a new
    (initially blank) database and then your

    1st database task

    is to use the “Import .XLS” feature to

    import, one at a time, each of the four worksheets

    within the Presidents.xls workbook–each worksheet will become a distinct table in your database.
  • After the importing of those four tables, your

    2nd task

    with the database is to create a 5th table to capture the Many-to-Many
    relationship between the two tables you imported that correspond to the
    two worksheets: ‘president’ and ‘priorPositions.’  To create a table,
    click the

    New–>New Table

    drop-down menu option and create
    the new table using “Design View.”  In design view, you simply type in
    the column names you want; double-click on the default data type to
    change it. 

    You need to figure out what columns should be in this table that should connect presidents to positions.

    Save the table with the name ‘PresPositions’ and then add 3-4 rows of

    true data

    (use Wikipedia or other information source) to this table, connecting a few presidents to their

    actual past positions

    .  After adding your data, be sure to

    click the Save button

    to save the data.
  • After creating the Many-to-Many bridge table, your

    3rd task

    with the database is to

    write the following query



    Show presidents’ first and last names, their political party name, birth state name, and their prior position title(s).

    This requires that you join the 5 tables in the database, so you need
    to specify the 4 joining conditions that connect those tables to each
    other. 

    The query results will only show those presidents for
    whom you provided past-positions data in the 2nd step above, which is
    expected (and it’s fine).

    Note: to access the SQL interface in Zoho, click the

    New–>New Query Table

    drop-down menu option.

It was nice to see him use Zoho Reports for teaching SQL query functions and joining of two tables. I mailed him thanking him for using Zoho and he promptly replied back asking a couple of questions about entering data and embedding options in Zoho Reports.

Great to see Zoho and other current technologies being used in classrooms. If you are a student or instructor using such technologies in your courses, please do share your views in the comments.