Zoho CRM View: $50 a month/user for CRM is way too much

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There is a discussion going on in the blogosphere about the impending entry of Microsoft to the on-demand CRM market, with price points in the $50 per month/user range – see for example here or here or here. The discussion is about how this is going to seriously undercut Salesforce.com. Well, I am all for undercutting, but $50/month/user doesn’t, well, cut it for me! The enterprise software market could use a little old-fashioned price competition. Even after the last downturn, the industry remains bloated and inefficient. This is most starkly illustrated by the typical enterprise software business model where five even ten dollars are spent on sales & marketing for every dollar spent on R&D – here is the income statement of Salesforce.com if you need proof. If you are the lucky customer of such companies, reflect on the fact that most of what you are paying for is simply paid to market the software to you.

Zoho CRM takes a very different tack. First 3 users are free (that is our marketing expense, if you will), and from that point it is $12 per month per user. Come on, I hear you say, how can a product that costs 70-80% below the competition be just as good? Actually we say our product is better, but don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself – sign up for a free account at http://zohocrm.com

There is no big secret to our low prices – we keep our costs under control (like any sane business would) and pass on the savings to the customer. That magic formula has worked wonders in every other industry, so why not try it in software? The on-demand software revolution is meaningless if it doesn’t actually lead to materially lower prices in this industry. While I am really excited about the technology behind our Zoho services – compare the ease of use of Zoho Creator against Salesforce AppExchange, for example – I am even more excited about the low prices we can bring to this market.

New Look & Feel for Zoho Chat

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Based on our users’ feedback, Zoho Chat’s update today introduces a new theme. In addition to the existing tab-based theme, you can now have floating (drag-and-drop) chat windows on a desktop theme. These chat windows are now within the Zoho Chat browser tab but soon we will be giving the pop-out option as well. The new theme’s available in two gradient color styles, blue & black, with more colored skins to come.

Desktop theme – Black
Desktop theme – Blue
Tabbed theme

Zoho Creator Scheduled Update [Rescheduled to this week end]

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[Update] : We have decided to postpone the update to this weekend since it will affect our regular users. Hence Zoho Creator service will not be available for a brief period from July 14th, 2007 at 01 AM PDT to July 14th at 02 AM PDT

We have scheduled an update for Zoho Creator. Hence Zoho Creator service will not be available for a brief period from July 9th 2007 20:30 hrs PDT to July 9th 2200 hrs PDT.

We regret for the inconvenience this may cause.

Zoho Notebook Update: Page Reordering, Undo/Redo, Safari Support and more

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We rolled out couple of useful updates in Zoho Notebook with some of the most requested features. These include Page Reordering, Undo/Redo, Menu at the Book level, Safari support and more.

Page Reordering

This is one of the most requested feature and we now have it available. You can now reorder your pages by simple drag and drop. Just drag the page tab (on the right) and drop it on top of the other page and the pages get reordered.

Undo/Redo URedo.jpg

Another added functionality is multiple Undo/Redos. Even if you deleted an object, if you are on the same page, you can retrieve it by simply undoing that action.

Book level Menu

We discussed earlier on this design and we now have this implemented. We added a small menu for the book tab on the top. This menu has book level options like Rename, Publish, Share and Delete. We plan to provide similar menu options for page level too.

Menu.jpg

Apart from these, we made several other minor enhancements (like more formatting options in Text Object) and fixed some bugs. These include Safari related bug fixes. Notebook should work fine on the latest version of Safari (3.0.2).

Do give these a try and let us know what you think. Also, if you have any immediate pain points with Notebook, please do let us know and we’ll try to address them soon.

Zoho Mail Update

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It’s been a while since we updated Zoho Mail – we have been working away on a lot of stuff, which it is now time to roll out. The long awaited Zoho Mail update has been scheduled on Saturday 7th July 2007 from 10.30PM PDT onwards. Hence the access to Zoho Mail will not be available for about 2 hours during the update.

We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.

Edit : The update is over. More about it here.

UNESCO Uses Zoho Creator

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Since we rolled new version of Zoho Creator, we are getting good response (infact, very good responses) from our users. But this is a special email which I would like to share with you. During our regular round-up of embedded forms and views in external websites, we stumbled upon this page.
unesco_zohocreatorform.gif

Yes, its UNESCO. UNESCO Bangkok. They are using Zoho Creator extensively for managing their training courses online. We wrote to them with thanks for choosing Zoho Creator and asking their permission to post in our blogs, and this is what they wrote back…

Thank you very much for the kind e-mail. Zoho Creator is really a big help for us in managing our UN training courses in Bangkok.
Of course you can report in your blog about it.
Mr. Gordon Johnston, Training Manager from UNESCO Bangkok says: “Zoho’s online registration feature has proven to be very useful and straightforward – a huge timesaver in our current round of IT course registrations for over 900 UN staff in Bangkok”

So far we are really happy with the products of Zoho. Please keep in touch with me.

Warm regards,

Hartfried
Information Assistant

Offcourse Hartfield, we will keep you posted on the updates. Thank you Mr. Gordon Johnston for the wonderful quote.

Zoho Apps on Facebook

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Zoho Applications (Writer, Sheet and Show) are now available on Facebook and we are excited about this. We got several requests from many users and well wishers like Krish asking us to do this integration. Considering the fact that 30% of our users are students, we couldn’t resist.

So, what can you do with this application?

You can now create documents, spreadsheets and presentations from Facebook. You can also view and edit all your existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations (both personal and shared) from Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show. Here is a quick screenshot.

Facebook.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

This makes Zoho the first office app on Facebook. Do give it a try and add it to your profile. This application provides a good view of all your documents in a single page.

Talking about providing all documents in a single page, let me pre-announce something else here. We are working on way to better organize your documents in a single place (compared to our application specific organization). We will reveal more details on this soon.

Meanwhile, do give our new Facebook app a try and let us know what you think.