Recent Reviews on Zoho

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Bill Ives at ‘The AppGap’ has a nice post on all things Zoho (including our blogs!) titled ‘Zoho: A Suite of Many Online Apps for Small to Midsize Business‘. From his post,

These apps are all designed to take advantage of the web with good collaborative features. You do not have to send emails with attachments to provide access to documents. You always see the latest version online and teams can make and see changes real time. Chat is integrated into all the apps so teams can discuss these changes.

Then there is the question of offline access, something blogs have not addressed as I write this post in Word at the airport, being too cheap for the $9.95 they want for wifi. Zoho is now offering offline apps, beginning with Zoho Writer. Later I edit it on the plane, hoping I get wifi in my hotel room. They built their offline capability with open source code from Google Gears. When you go back online, data is synchronized. You have the option to merge data or make your version the latest. This will require some team coordination on version control but is a good feature for business adoption.

Rob Bushway at GottaBeMobile is in awe with Zoho Notebook. The Library & Information Services Newsletter of DePauw University in its latest issue carries an article on Zoho in its Emerging Technologies section. From the article, “Zoho.com – Online Collaborative ‘Office’ Suite“,

Zoho writer and presentation allow users to import documents from Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to be edited or shared, and a plug-in is available to work with Excel as well.Like the Microsoft Office suite, all of Zoho’s tools integrate and work better together. Unlike Office, Zoho allows multiple users to share and edit documents simultaneously from any computer with Internet access.

In addition to integrating with each other, all Zoho applications can be integrated with Facebook, an increasingly helpful feature for college students, faculty and staff.

Thanks to Bill, Rob and DePauw University!

Zoho Mail: Scheduled Update on Feb 15, 2008

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It’s been a while since we had a post on Zoho Mail. Its just that we’ve been so busy working on some critical features and functionalities to move Zoho Mail out of private beta and integrate it with Zoho Business.

As a major step towards integrating Zoho Mail with Zoho Business, we’ve scheduled an update on Friday, February 15, 2008 between 4.30AM and 6.30AM PST. During this time, access to Zoho Mail will not be available. We greatly appreciate your patience and co-operation during this downtime.

Kristin Lowe : Happy Zoho (CRM) Customer

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Kristin Lowe of OrganisingSolutions.com writes in her ‘Calm Control – Personal Productivity for Life’ blog,

There’s a new word on my family’s lips these days: “Zoho.”…as in, “Mom, are ya working on Zoho again?” or, “Sounds like Zoho was just what you needed honey…are you ready to watch our movie yet?” I’m happy to say that the addiction is not mine alone; all my biz-owning friends who I’ve shared with are emailing me straight away saying, “Ohmigosh – I have been looking for something like this forever!!” It’s happening to all of us: we’re getting Zoho-fied, one by one.

So what’s Zoho? It’s Address Booking (contact management) for your business. Well, that’s how it begins anyway…and then you discover everything else the ZohoCRM can do…and then you stumble upon all the other Zoho apps…and then you’re good and hooked. In less than a month of converting our team’s Outlook Contacts, Excel sales management system and a few Google docs bits and bobs to the ZohoCRM, I can measure the improvement in company systems in cold hard cash. In other words, we’ve just closed a bunch of new business that we had sort of forgotten was even in our pipeline!

And she writes about why she chose Zoho ahead of others.

Why we went with Zoho instead of others

  • It’s web-based, i.e. accessible by our consultants and support staff scattered around Hong Kong as well as our VA in Canada.
  • It’s free for 3 users. Additional users are only US$12/month.
  • It’s not software. Your membership gives you all the benefits of ongoing development.
  • It’s super flexible. How many custom fields does a girl need? Well, it’s a bit like shoes, isn’t it…
  • It’s really hard to muck things up. You can undo just about anything…even your data imports!
  • The tutorials and how-to Wikis are comprehensive and actually do what they’re meant to do (tell you how-to…)
  • The support is incredible. Ask a question and get a friendly, spot-on answer from my new best friends Adam or Gopal within hours – usually within minutes. If they’re not sure what on earth you’re trying to ask (ahem), they’ll jump onto a desktop sharing session to have a look…using Zoho Meeting, of course!

Thanks for spreading the Zoho love, Kristin :-)

Why Moving on to The Cloud Makes Sense

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Marc Duchesne recently underwent the pain that most other PC / laptop users experience at some point of time : the blue screen of death & unable to boot thereafter. And he writes about how having his files, links, projects online saved him.

Now, the really good thing of all this mess : I can get back all my mission-critical files, PDF docs, URLs, etc. Thanks to the lovely Zoho suite, Zoho Projects in particular. I use Zoho everyday, as my mission planner and database. I put almost everything on it : draft presentations, spreadsheets, web links, PDF documents…

I can now restore my offline base, without fearing files losses. Outcome : I’ll use Zoho Show to create my next presentation.

Such stories will become common as more and more people realize the accessibility, affordability & safety that online applications offer versus storing everything on a laptop or PC. Reminds me of this interview of Sridhar’s.

SSL Support in Zoho Creator

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We are happy to announce the SSL Support for Zoho Creator. This is one of the long pending feature requests in Creator. We are glad that we could give SSL support which will pave the way towards the Business Edition of Zoho Creator. As of now SSL Support will be free for Editing and Accessing your applications. In future, SSL support for accessing the application may come with a premium charge.

To access Zoho Creator with SSL support, point your browser to https://creator.zoho.com/ or use the “Secure” link found near the login box in http://creator.zoho.com .

SSL Option

The main feature of SSL support is that you can restrict the access of your applications only through https. When you enable this option for your application, http access to your application will not work and only https access will work. You can find this option in the Application Settings while Editing your application.

SSL Support

In the broader picture, we plan to extend SSL capabilities to all Zoho apps. Meanwhile, please try this new update and let us know your feedback.

Zoho DB & Reports Update – Filters & Search, Multi-character set, New Chart Types and more…

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It’s been quiet sometime since you heard from the Zoho DB & Reports team. We all have been working hard under the hoods to get Zoho DB & Reports better. Thanks to all of you for the overwhelming response to Zoho DB & Reports and for the great feedbacks you all have posted. All your feedbacks are really keeping us very busy. 😉

We have been incrementally adding new features and at the same time fixing important and glaring issues in the service. Just thought of summarizing the important features that had been rolled into Zoho DB & Reports in the past couple of weeks for you to keep tabs on.

Filters and Search in Tables:

This has been a major limitation in the service so far. Now you can filter or search data in the table using the “Filter Fitler Icon”  option in the tool bar. We have provided variety of options to filter the data based on the type of the column. We have also ensured that it is very easy to use and self-explanatory.

Filters & Search Snapshot

Support for data in Multiple Character set:

This feature has been one of the most sought after by users across the globe. You have it now in Zoho DB & Reports!!. Now users can import data in different character set and do any type of data manipulation and reporting.

New Chart types:

In our first release we only had 5 types of chart supported (basic Pie, Line, Scatter, Bar and Table). Now we support 14 chart types including Web Chart, Stacked Bar, 3D Pie, 3D Bar etc., Still lots more coming ….

New Chart Types

Groups support for easy Collaboration:

Now you could create a Group for each database and associate a set of users within it. View creation, sharing etc., could now be done easily at the group level rather than at each user level. This would facilitate much easy collaboration in a team environment.

Highlights of the Group feature:

  • Database owner will have the permission to create a Group and add/remove users to it
  • Tables and Views can be shared to the Group (apart from individual users) by the Database Owner
  • Users in the group could create their own views
  • Users in the group could share their views to the group. (They cannot share it to members outside the group)
  • Only Database owner will have the permission to share any view or table outside the group

 Group Feature

More In-built Formula Functions:

We have also added good number of inbuilt functions that you could use in your Custom Formulas when you add new Formula column in your Table or Tabular View.

Uploading more data into Zoho DB & Reports:

As the scale of usage of Zoho DB & Reports by users are expanding, we have been receiving requests to enable uploading more data and also to increase the maximum size limit. In case you have such a requirement, please contact us to support at zohodb dot com so that we could assist you.

Give the features a try and let us know your feedbacks as always. Apart from this, we have also fixed quiet a number of issues since the first release.

Work is in progress on a number of interesting features which are coming up very soon. Stay tuned…….