Zoho Wiki Update : Backup, Page Options, Customizable Footer etc

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We’ve rolled out some important changes in Zoho Wiki over the last couple of weeks.

Wiki Backup : Taking a wiki backup has been one of the top requirements of our users. The wiki owner/administrator can now find this option under Settings -> General -> BackUp -> ‘Click to download the backup’. You will get a zipped file containing all the pages of your Wiki as HTML files.

Page Options : In the previous update, we brought in page level permissions. Now, there are even more options for each of your wiki pages.

  • Duplicate Page : You can make copies of a page now. This comes in handy when your Wiki consists of almost similar pages. Create a template page & make duplicate copies of it.
  • Copy to (another Wiki) : You can copy a page to another Wiki which is yours or which you are subscribed to.
  • Print Preview : Print a Wiki page (without the Wiki side panel etc)
  • Other options like delete, rename, adding a sub-page, setting a page as the Wiki’s home page, seeing/changing the page’s permissions, viewing all/public/group/private pages are part of the ‘Recently Changed Pages’ module in the Wiki’s side panel

Customizable Footer : Another new customization option which will give a more native feel & individuality to your Wiki. Click on Settings -> Customization -> Use customizable footer and set your own footer.

Other changes in this update include :

  • An option to specify whether you would the visitors of your Wiki to send feedback to you by email
  • The order is maintained now during drag-and-drop of all pages in the wiki’s Site Map (previously, the order wasn’t preserved in the root level pages)

The above changes illustrated using a Zoho Show slide show below.

Try out the new features in Zoho Wiki and as always, we’ll be glad hearing your feedback!

ps : Help documentation for Zoho CRM & Zoho Show are now available as Zoho Wikis!

On Dominant Organizations

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As I was reading Paul Graham’s latest essay on small and large companies, I remembered something I noticed several years ago, something akin to Moore’s Law:

The dominant technology company in a generation reaches its pinnacle at about half the size of the dominant company in the previous generation, and it retains its dominance for half as long.

IBM was dominant for roughly 30 years. Microsoft’s domination lasted about 15 years. Google’s domination started at around 2005, I would think.

Why would such a thing be true? Same technological forces that are reshaping our lives are also impacting economies of scale. Technologies are lowering transaction costs, thereby making organizations reach their peak economic power at smaller scales. A related point which uses the Coase Theorem is made here.

Desktop Apps to Online Apps and the Transition in Between

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As an online application provider, we bet on applications residing in the cloud. We think this is the future. We expect to see a migration to the cloud based computing the same way we saw the migration from Mainframes to PC. But then, migration doesn’t happen instantly. To get to the next level, we need to climb multiple steps and it takes time before we move to the next generation of application delivery.

For over a decade, we have seen desktop apps running on a PC in the offline mode. These include apps like MS Office which primarily reside on the PC. Then, there are next generation applications that reside in the cloud like Zoho, Google Apps etc which are served from the cloud. We are currently seeing users slowly (?) migrating from desktop applications to online applications. While users are migrating from PC Apps to Online Apps, vendors are also extending their applications to make this transition easy.

We are noticing that PC App vendors are extending their offline applications to the cloud for future compatibility. Microsoft extending their MS Office with MS Office Live Workspace is a good example of this. On the other hand, online app vendors like Zoho are extending the apps to the offline mode for backward compatibility. While these are two different approaches in opposite directions, they are basically doing the same….transitioning the user.

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Transitioning to the next generation of computing takes time and several steps. Each of the steps help make the transition better. Offline support for online apps is one such step which is an important during this transition phase. Not all users are online all the time. Offline support is important, atleast till we are always connected. So we have added offline support (both on desktop and Mobile) based on Google gears to help such users. Another step is integration of online apps with offline counterparts (like our integration into MS Office). Another step is to make a web based application look and behave like an offline app which is what Mozilla Prism is doing. We in fact did offer something like this earlier with Desktopize.

TechCrunch has a great post about technologies bridging this gap between online and desktop apps. These are important transitioning technologies/concepts that are necessary to transition the users to cloud based computing.

Zoho Notebook: Enhanced Web Clipping, New Shapes & More

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In the last few weeks we made several useful enhancements to Zoho Notebook. Here are few highlights…

Web Clipping

We made a simple but useful enhancement to the web clipping feature in Zoho Notebook. When you collect information using the ‘Add to Zoho Notebook’ option in the Firefox plug-in, the content will now be arranged one below the other. Previously, the content overlapped where you had to manually arrange them.

Editing Option for Objects

We now added editing option for the objects. The ‘Edit’ icon (editoption.png) lets you edit the HTML code in the ‘Add HTML’ object, Feed URL in ‘Add RSS’ object and URL in ‘Add HTML’ Object.

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New Shapes

We noticed that several users use the drawing tools for drawing flowcharts. We now added more shapes that are useful for flowcharts.

RSS Object

The ‘Add RSS’ Object now supports feed from different RSS verions. This object currently support versions 0.91, 0.92, 1.0 & 2.0.

Podcasts on Zoho

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After the screencasts from Rick Castellini that we wrote about earlier, we found a couple of recent podcasts featuring Zoho.

Adam Wolf at BizTech Podcast offers a crisp intro on Zoho to small business owners. The podcast can be dowloaded from this page. And Bill Blinn at TechByter Worldwide talks about Zoho in detail. Download the podcast (the first 5 of this 18 minute podcast is about Zoho) or read more about it here, Zoho for Your SOHO.

Thanks Adam & Bill, for recommending Zoho to your podcast subscribers!

Introducing Zoho People

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zplogo.pngWe are excited to announce a new addition to the Zoho Suite – Zoho People.

Zoho People is a Human Resource Management Application for HR team in an organization. This new business application joins our other business applications – Zoho CRM, Zoho Meeting, Zoho Projects and Zoho DB.

About Zoho People

Zoho People has several modules for HR Team (admins) and for Employees in an Organization. Let me briefly explain about the key modules…

Organization Module:

This module is used to define the structure of your organization including departments, designations/titles and also the Org Chart.

Recruitment Module:

The Recruitment module eases the hiring process in an organization. It automates the steps involved between searching a candidate from resume database to hiring him an employee. This module also lets managers raise job requirements and admins post openings on the website.

Forms Module:

The Forms module has a set of pre-created forms (mini-applications) for common tasks in an organization like filing expense reports, reporting leave etc. With Zoho Creator integration, this module lets admins create new forms or customize existing forms and make them available to all employees.

Checklist Module:

This module lets admin automate business processes and define the flow based on conditions. Tasks can automatically be assigned to users or groups based on defined flow.

Self Service Module:

This module acts as a self-service module for Employees and Managers. All the employees have access to this module. Managers can define job openings and organize their team structure. Employees can submit information to the HR department using the forms defined by the HR team (like submitting an Expense Report or informing about a leave etc).

Roles and Permissions :

This module is used by admin to define fine grained access for different roles based on permissions – which drill down to field level, action level and form level.

This explanation doesn’t do justice to the capabilities of the application. The video below gives a quick overview of the key functionalities in the application.

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While all these capabilities make sense in a HR App, we understand that no two businesses operate the same way. Customization is the key for an application like this. So we made Zoho People completely customizable. Right from the top level tabs till the forms inside the application, everything is customizable. Infact, we have integrated Zoho Creator inside Zoho People allowing teams to customize every form in the application.Who Should use Zoho People?

Zoho People is really targeted at a level beyond the very small (say 50+ employee) businesses. Very small businesses can keep track of people in ad-hoc ways, (spreadsheets work!) but once a company reaches a certain size (even 25-30) keeping track of things like recruitment, IT resource allocation, benefits, vacations, skill management etc. becomes time consuming. In fact, that is the level at which a business typically gets a dedicated HR person. That is where Zoho People steps in.Zoho ApplicationsBig PictureAs we often say, we want to be the IT Department for SMBs. Just offering a set of productivity applications doesn’t meet the needs of businesses. There needs to be a suite of business applications addressing those business needs. With Zoho People, we are taking another step towards offering a complete online solution for businesses. As always, we cannot wait to hear your feedback on this new release.