SaaS used to stand up for something much bigger than just software delivered over the internet.
At its inception, SaaS was the anti-thesis of big, stodgy software companies: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP. Where big software companies had hefty prices, SaaS was affordable. Where big companies had convoluted pricing licenses (Microsoft’s Licensing, anyone?), SaaS promised straightforward per-user pricing. Where big software companies required upfront long-term contracts leading to “shelfware,” SaaS promised paying for only what you truly needed.
As both a SaaS customer and a SaaS vendor, I want to talk about three tactics where I see the industry veering off course.
This is the second part of a 2-part blog series. Read the first part of the series here.
The myth of multitasking.
When you’re trying to get multiple things done with different sets of people, it might seem easy to multitask by doing everything together. But this can be counterproductive because your attention gets split between activities. You’ll take much longer to complete each activity, and this can negatively impact your overall output and quality of work. Several independent psychological researchers have established that multitasking results in reduced efficiency due to cognitive ‘switching’ costs.
Switching from a task before you complete it also causes the Ziegarnic effect – the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about unfinished tasks. The only way to resolve the cognitive dissonance that comes from a lack of closure on an unfinished task is by completing that task.
A good project management app is one that lets you simplify complex projects so that you spend enough attention and energy on each task.
To simplify complex projects, you can organize them according to a hierarchy of easily manageable units such as milestones, task lists and tasks. Split your tasks into the simplest sub-tasks that can be easily completed before you move on to the next task. You can also set task dependencies to help identify and complete dependent tasks. And of course, the sense of completion that comes from finishing these tasks can help avoid the Ziegarnic effect!
Encourage everyone in your team to restrict their focus to completing one thing at a time – complete one task or participate in one discussion or just catch up with activity streams in one project portal. Finish any one thing before you move on to the next.
Treat different project portals like separate rooms – you cannot be in more than one at the same time.
Resist the temptation of switching to another tab or project portal before you’ve completed what you wanted to do. Read more
We have already seen how the Gantt Chart was used in several projects, big and small, across industries over the last century. Its original use was to plan production in factories, to allow all components to be available when needed for subsequent production activity. Today, as we hear from our customers, they are used in a variety of other applications and this includes marketing! Find it hard to believe? Take a look at these examples.
Caldera Group is a company based in the Netherlands, that offers shared marketing services. It provides its customers the marketing department they always wanted, at an affordable cost. “As part of our work, we have to communicate with multiple companies,” says Leon Hamstra, a director of Caldera Group. “Our operations require our employees and our customers to be on the same page at all times. The Zoho Projects Gantt Chart helps us do just that.”
Moving to Johannesburg, South Africa we have Spaghetti TV, a company that produces corporate movies, presentations, TV commercials, documentaries and other content for broadcast and online distribution. “We work with clients all over the world and we use Zoho Projects as a means of not only planning the project for internal resources, but also for giving clients a view of project progress,” says its founder Andrew Lester. “The Gantt view is something they are used to interacting with and being able to edit tasks here was a real improvement for us.“
We see that the Gantt chart continues to be an important tool for managers and we want to make sure they get the best out of it. So here are some more enhancements we’ve added to the Zoho Projects Gantt view. Read more
Zoho Survey‘s new integration with Google Spreadsheet pushes your survey results to Google in real time. Now you can view and analyze survey responses to your heart’s content in that familiar spreadsheet interface.
Visualize the results in a variety of different ways as they are updated in real-time. Generate custom or personalized reports and share the sheet with anyone. Sharing the spreadsheet gives chosen individuals or teams the flexibility to collaborate with you and work on your reports.
In addition, your spreadsheet is saved on Google Drive so you can view survey results both online as well as offline.
Summarizing the benefits of survey data in Google Spreadsheets
• View data in real-time
• Easy to share
• Access to data both online and offline in Google Drive
It takes only a simple click of a button to integrate your survey results in Google Spreadsheet. You can select whether you want the results in a new sheet or an existing sheet. Results pushed to a Google Spreadsheet lets you share, collaborate, and analyze data. Tell us how this feature helps you.
Multiple users, one huge document and a lot of review comments to be implemented. Sounds like a nightmare?
Well, it can turn out to be one without the right tool. Collaboration is a breeze when you can keep a track of all the changes made to the document by each user. And what is the best way to do that? – Track changes it is!
Taking the popular demands into account; I am excited to bring you the announcement of our latest feature - Track Changes for Zoho Writer, the online document editor of Zoho Docs.
My colleague recently blogged about how project management apps can greatly help improve collaboration especially for geographically distributed teams or companies. As a remote employee at Zoho, I’ve experienced this a lot. My marketing role requires interaction with multiple teams, all based in other cities and time zones. And yet we all manage to collaborate seamlessly across multiple projects.
We do this by creating and reinforcing a culture that encourages collaboration.
That’s where project management apps come in to the picture. They work as an antidote to unproductive practices that could prove harmful for a collaborative culture. If you’re a growing start-up or company that’s trying to become more collaborative, these are the work practices that you might want to upgrade from:
Email ping pong.
If you’re using email to make decisions or to discuss specific tasks that require inputs from multiple people, you could end up back and forthing and wasting time:
- creating email threads that are too long for people to follow through
- discussing the same topic over disparate email threads and have a hard time combining inputs
- just trying to get everyone on the same page
Not only is email ping pong unproductive, it is also unhealthy. In a recent research, occupational psychologist Dr Emma Russell listed email ping pong as one of ‘the seven deadly email sins’ that could have negative health repercussions for employees.
Sifting through piles of email to look for important tasks or trying to achieve a “zero inbox” state should never be a work goal for anyone. Read more
In the midst of a simmering summer, we’re making a cool announcement for small business owners.
Zoho Invoice app is now available for Windows phone and Windows Surface. This is the latest addition to the existing lineup of our native mobile apps for Zoho Finance products.
With the Zoho Invoice app for Windows Phone and Windows Surface, you can simply go about managing your income and expenses on the go, just as efficiently as you would in your office. The app has been designed to provide flexibility and ease of use, even when you are away. Here are a few of the many things that you can do with the app. Read more