Features for the Outlook Plugin for Zoho CRM

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The Outlook Plugin is one of the core add-ons provided by Zoho CRM. I firmly believe that the Oultook Plugin is a force-multiplier and can dramatically enhance productivity. Hence, I would like to understand what all are the features that you would like to see in it at the very earliest. A priority-wise list will be very helpful.
Currently we have a bidirectional sync facility but this will not suffice. We are working on providing pull and push facility from- and to- Outlook to Zoho CRM and vice-versa.

We are working on adding some of the other planned features as well.

Documentation for Zoho CRM

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We have been getting some mails wherein the main thrust is addressing the How-To? behaviour.

I would like to know in what manner should this requirement be addressed to satisfy most of the community. I know that we can provide textual documentation but then this seems so passe’. I am certainly not going to write this off but then there certainly are other modes of conveying the message too like contextual help. Any other ideas would do good too please.
Any reference sites will be good to have.

Zohoites interviewed

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As said here, Pete Thomas of ‘Land of ZC’ interviewed Suganya, Lead Architect of Deluge. From the interview :

LoZC: What other projects, applications, or web sites out there influence your current work and perhaps helped to inspire what we see in Deluge today? And which mentors, teachers, or books do you think most influence your design style?

Suganya: Deluge was initially built as a proprietary language to meet our internal needs. Deluge’s design is not influenced by any one language, however since the underlying execution engine is Java, and we are mostly Java programmers, that had some subconscious influence, but Deluge is a very different animal from Java. We did have a look at Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python and Lisp for inspiration and also read few research papers on data driven web applications.

LoZC: This question comes from Bill, commenting at the LoZC blog. Could you give us a high-level introduction to the overall ZC architecture and system setup, with special attention to how it handles the growth of traffic and balancing the load?

Suganya: Zoho Creator is a database-driven application and all the information with respect to the applications created in Zoho Creator is stored in a bunch of tables. You can create an application in the GUI mode or script mode. i.e. The GUI mode and script mode are just two different ways of viewing the application. All the changes that you make in the script mode will get reflected in the GUI and vice versa. And all the changes done in either of the modes will reflect in the live mode. Zoho Creator also includes the Deluge workflow execution engine that executes the deluge action scripts.

Zoho Creator runs on grid of servers and that ensures a high system availability. If there is an increase in the traffic, we need to just add more servers to the grid. We are continually enhancing this system, as we learn from experience, so that we can serve more traffic.

And Raju Vegesna was interviewed by Ashish Sinha of pluGGdin, a site focused on Indian Internet space and Indian startups. From the first part of the interview :

Online office suite – one of the major challenges is convincing the IT depts to use such tools. While Google can always play on “free” software (and brand equity), how do you plan to increase user adoption of Zoho tools? Especially with regards to concerns over data security?
Enterprises with IT Depts are not our target markets. We focus on SMBs (Small and Micro Businesses) who cannot afford a full time IT staff on board. Online applications are ideal for these companies. Zoho essentially becomes an IT department for these SMBs. There is also Home office market. When you purchase a new computer at home, how comfortable are you spending for your office suite that you occasionally use? That’s a great market for us. In fact, ZOHO has derived from SOHO (Small Office and Home Office) which is our target market.

Note that all Zoho tools will remain free for individuals. For businesses, we have some offerings coming soon. Security concerns for online applications will be addressed by different vendors (including us) going forward. It’ll be a non-issue in most cases one year from now.

Thanks to Pete and Ashish!

Zoho: 300,000+ Users

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Zoho now serves over 300K users and we’d like to take a moment to thank you for letting us serve you.

The growth has been really encouraging for the past 22 months. To give you a perspective, it took us 12 months to get to the first 100K users, 6 months for the next 100K users and 4 months for the last 100K users.

We hope to add more value by integrating and enhancing our existing apps along with adding new apps. You’ll see some good announcements from us over the coming weeks.

On behalf of Zoho, I’d like to thank all our users for letting us serve you.

Questions for Deluge Script’s Lead Architect?

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Pete Thomas of Share Tactics has started an exclusive blog just dedicated to Zoho Creator and its called Land of ZC. He has been busy building many interesting apps and is posting fine details of it at Land of ZC.

Pete hit upon the idea of interviewing backstage guys of Zoho Creator. Neither business nor promotional interviews, he just wanted to interview about some of the technical aspects of Zoho Creator. To start with, Pete will interview Suganya J, Deluge Script’s Lead Architect.

Suganya, Deluge Script's Lead Architect

Well, here is your chance to fire all the questions you had in mind about Deluge Script. Post all your questions at this blog : Talk With Suganya J and she will answer your questions. Pete, get ready!

Introducing 15 Chart Types in Zoho Creator

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Since Zoho Creator 2.0 launch we had one big update – FaceBook Integration and now we have another big announcement – Charting.

Charts in Zoho Creator helps you to organize and analyze your data. We have rolled out 15 types of charts in the first phase:

  • Column, Stacked Column, Column 3d, Stacked Column 3d
  • Bar, Stacked Bar, Bar 3d, Stacked Bar 3d
  • Line, Step
  • Pie, Pie 3D
  • Area, Stacked Area
  • Web Chart

As always with Zoho Creator, it’s best to see it in action. We have created a new screencast to highlight charting. Check it out!

We know that no two needs are the same when you want to see the data. So we have provided a wide range of charts to help you to visualize the same data in different formats.

Go ahead, dress up your application data as charts and let us know your suggestions.

Chat with your shared users in Zoho Planner

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With the latest Zoho Planner update, you can now chat to each of your shared users. On clicking a page you can see the list of shared users with status (either online/offline). Now you can chat with the person who is available for chat.

Zoho Planner chat for shared users

We have also added RSS feeds for your shared pages. You can find this feature in your planner settings page. Subscribe to the RSS feeds and get notified on the changes done by the shared users in your page.

Do give a try and send your feedbacks to feedback at zohoplanner dot com.