View Customer Info from 3rd Party Apps with Custom Related Lists & Gallery Scripts

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Recently, we introduced Custom Related Lists that gives you a holistic view of your customer’s information from Custom Apps and third-party applications right within your CRM system. Today, we’ll explain it more in detail.

Imagine this situation – Charles Stone heads the sales team for Zillum Corporation. Apart from assigning sales targets and forecasting he reviews sales expenses, travel plans and meetings with prospects. Since his sales reps travel extensively and the expenses can’t be reported on a daily basis, they enter the travel details and expenses using Zoho Creator’s Mobile App.

crm-desk-mobile

This data is in turn linked to each prospect and displayed contextually in the Contact details page in Zoho CRM. So, Charles no longer has to toggle between tabs or sign in to different applications. With all the information in one single place, Charles can analyze the return on investment for the deals won. Needless to say, there is also an overall increase in the entire team’s productivity and time is made use for more sales follow-ups. But, there’s more to this!

Contextual Integration with 3rd party Apps
To kick-start, we’ve integrated with third-party applications, like Contactology and Saasu Invoices. Just select the service from our Gallery of pre-defined functions, and instantly get the customer information from the app within your CRM.  And, of course, we’ve more integrations in line. We’ve also contextually integrated with Zoho Recruit.

Developer Tools For Programmers
If you have a flair for programming, we encourage you to write your own Deluge function. You can use it for your own purpose or we will work through the function and help you share it with the user community.

Sounds interesting? Then try out this feature and leave us your comments below.

– Vaishnav

All in a day’s work..

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Business Man

Recently, I came across a wonderful article shared by a friend on 6 personality and work environment types. The work environments recommended according to personality types made a lot of sense.. I found myself mentally screening myself and other friends, if we were in the right jobs.. Most of us, thankfully, are.

What also set me thinking was, is it possible for one person to assimilate in himself all the personality types and thus be suitable for any work environment?

The answer stared at me like a writing on the wall. YES. If we consider each personality type to be a hat, wearing a different hat at different times is what we all do. Only we don’t do it consciously. And more importantly we are not forced to do it. But what about those who do it consciously and with elan? Who you ask.

Read more

At Zoho Creator, it is raining integrations

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Many of our business apps become centers of gravity, with other apps revolving around them. And more importantly, complementing one another. It all happens with the integrations. This post sums up all DELUGE tasks that bring Zoho Creator closer to other services.

Zoho CRM:

Zoho CRM is the most popular of our services that we have integrated, and hence has the most tasks for itself. There are 7 tasks for adding, updating and fetching records from Zoho CRM.

GApps:

 

If you have installed Zoho Creator from the GApps Marketplace, there are two tasks solely for communicating between Zoho Creator and your Google account.

* Fetching List of Google Apps Users

* Creating an event, or multiple events on Google Calendar

Zoho Invoice:

Using DELUGE Tasks for Zoho Invoice, you can perform operations like creating new invoices, adding customers, adding expenses and fetching information of existing invoices, all from within Zoho Creator.

Zoho Calendar:

With this task, you can add an event automatically to any existing calendar on your Zoho account.

Zoho Reports:

On any table on Zoho Reports, you can add a record, specify criteria to delete records, and also update existing records.

All these tasks can be executed at any instance; when a form loads, upon successful submission of data into the form, or during validation. Values for the parameters can be hardcoded in the script, or values entered into the form can be used. Try them. And stay tuned for some third-party integrations too, that are on their way.

Zoho Sites And The Database Connection

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A website is the online face of a business, and act as a repository of information. They are the first point of contact for random visitors, and play a vital role in helping them decide on using your service, so it’s got to be really impressive. Call it the front-end of your business activity.

Then there is the back-end, which is the critical business data obtained from these visitors. This collected data is a source of wisdom that teaches you about visitors and trends, enabling you to make smarter projections in future. Collecting and storing data, and more importantly, mining information from piles of collected data has to be done using databases; Zoho Creator databases, in this case. But how do these two ends meet?

When it comes to business process management, the relationship between these two services is blazing, though not very obvious. Zoho Creator databases are pre-integrated into Zoho Sites, and serve two scenarios.

1. Data Collection through Custom Online Forms
2. Dynamic Webpage Content Management

Online Forms:

Be it contact details, event registration, survey or any other unique data collection requirement, Zoho Creator forms can be customized to suit every need. The forms can be inserted into your webpages just by dragging them into place, and they blend with your website’s color theme, so that it appears to be a part of it.

Best thing about forms is that you can configure condition-based actions to make it as intelligent as you wish. For example, you can instantly show or hide a set of fields based on the value of a previous field. This makes sure that only the relevant fields are displayed to users, thus establishing a connection. And every time a visitor fills up a form on your website, an email notification is triggered automatically to keep you informed.

The data collected would be of less value without filters to manipulate it. Searching, sorting and filtering options help you to mine out that essential piece of information from the entire database, without having to write complex combination code.

Dynamic Webpage Content:

This is yet another major implementation of databases on a webpage. Some pages on a website need to be continuously updated with information. So, instead of having to modify the webpage every time, you setup a database for that page, which holds all the frequently changing content, and the layout in which it is displayed on the webpage. Every time you need to add, alter or remove data, you do it on the database, which is simple as filling up a form. The corresponding webpage automatically reflects the changes, without even the slightest delay.

This is especially useful when the website is being collaboratively managed by many members. This database, which is actually a Zoho Creator form, can be shared to all these members, enabling every one of them to keep the website up to date, from independent locations.

These are just the gist of how databases can be used to leverage your website. Both Zoho Creator and Zoho Sites stand up for customization, and cater to unique requirements, so the limit is always what you put on it. Oh, and now is a good time to begin experimenting, because we have Payment Buttons for Dynamic Pages up next, so you’ll want to be familiar with databases by then 😉

Zoho Creator and The Playwrights’ Center – The Plot Thickens

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Premise:



 


The Playwrights’ Center focuses on both supporting playwrights and promoting new plays to theaters across the country. Significantly, they offer over $200,000 in fellowships to writers and theater artists each year. They also organize workshops where playwrights can get together with actors and directors to see their script at work, and manage several other programs that help playwrights get connected and build their careers. As they work closely with theaters, actors, directors, and writers, they have an advantage when it comes to advocating for artists and promoting them.




 




Flashback:



 


Way back in 1971, five playwrights were seeking professional assistance and support.

The Playwrights’ Center
 was founded by these five writers to help them secure productions of their plays, and later expanded to offer multiple forms of support and professional assistance. Since then, it has served as a launch-pad for numerous artists and currently serves over 1,100 member playwrights, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive play-writing centers in the country.


 




Lead:



 


Tom Borger is the Communications Associate there, who is responsible for social media coverage, as well as print and electronic communications. He was the person who set

Zoho Creator
 up for the Playwrights’ Center. He spoke to us about why and how they got started.


 




Action:

 

The Playwrights’ Center wanted to track the careers of writers who had benefited from their programs. Knowing where each of their playwrights’ plays had been produced, as well as what honors and awards that playwright had received, would help them promote and advocate for the playwright. The Playwrights’ Center also wanted to measure their own effectiveness. This data would go to funders and donors interested in the impact of the Center’s work.


The extensive documentation
was gratifying to have; there were so many examples, and the message
boards were full of other people’s experiences.



The problem was that they had theaters, productions, awards, and past development to track, in addition to playwrights. Also, a play would often have more than one playwright. When a play was selected, all artists associated with that play needed to be populated in the respective fields, and vice versa. Handling these complex branches of data on spreadsheets was the last thing they wanted to do because it led to multiple versions of the same data. So, Tom decided to build a new database using Zoho Creator.


Credits:


The very few times I ran into snags, I emailed support and heard back
really quickly. That was impressive because all that was for a user who
wasn’t even paying; I was doing all this on a free account.



Tom is now set for the next step; publicizing the applications on their website using a JSON feed. He also suggests that the number of specific scenarios addressed on our

community-forum
 should keep growing in order to guide new users. That, we will do.  


(And, personally, I loved using

Pixlr
for editing the images for this post!)

Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM Integration : A success story of Credible Systems

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Guest post by Mark Thurman of Credible Systems:


Credible Systems joined the


Zoho Alliance Partner Program
 2 years ago, with Zoho Creator as their main focus, and later expanded their scope to include Zoho CRM, Zoho Reports, & Zoho Projects. Founded in early 2009 by Mark Thurman and Sarah Treanor,


Credible System
 is a consultancy focused on helping organizations of all sizes and types, leverage the growing power of cloud-computing. Their clients range from schools and SME’s to much larger enterprises. Here is how Mark

sees it all:



The Client:


We were approached by a European-wide consultancy to assist them with extending the functionality of Zoho CRM. The client provides a broad range of business consultancy services to blue chip organization across Europe.

The Problem:


Their need was to effectively track the utilization of resources across their various clients and projects. Of course, a spreadsheet solution could have sufficed as a short-term solution. But we had our doubts about it being a scalable, long-term solution, keeping in mind the client’s growing operations. An external third-party solution would cause an additional problem of duplicating all data, inevitably leading to differences between the two sets.


Zoho Creator
 would be a fine solution for such a problem in any case, but its recent integration with Zoho CRM made it the perfect solution.

Zoho Creator, it seems, has something for everybody
.


The Implementation:


We created a custom database application that allows the user to import opportunity details directly from Zoho CRM, based upon certain criteria. For instance, only those with a status of “Closed Won” are brought into Zoho Creator. Using Deluge script, we then provided methods for 
  • Creating sub-projects for each opportunity 
  • Assign a unique Project ID 
  • Relate the project to specific internal business units for project work and administration 
  • Expose relevant CRM data for the selected opportunity 


And with reports generated from within Zoho Creator, they were able to



  • compare planned and actually delivered values for an opportunity against the estimated Opportunity Value in


    CRM






  • chart the utilization level for a specific resource, business unit or entire company against a threshold for a


    specific


    time period




  • create calendar views of resource


    allocation


    providing consolidated information at a glance



The Next Step:
We intend to use Zoho Creator for Google Apps, combined with


Zoho CRM’s sync with Google Contacts and Calendar
. By this, we can provide resource utilization calendars within Google Apps, for the data residing in Zoho CRM.

When an Activity is created, we can provide a function to ‘write’ the Activity details to Zoho CRM as an ‘Event’.
  • Create custom calendar views in Zoho CRM for ‘All Events’ and ‘My Events’ 
  • Set up CRM calendar sync with Google Apps calendars 
  • Then ‘All Events’ and ‘My Events’ CRM calendars will be visible on Google Calendar too.
Resource planning using Zoho Creator has allowed them to see how much resource is currently planned against each project, and how much they can possibly expand, thus enabling them to manage available resources effectively.

Explore Zoho Reports Series: Part III – Form Interface using Zoho Creator

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In Zoho Reports, data is stored as database tables. Unlike in conventional databases, this tabular data can be readily edited in Zoho Reports, using its spreadsheet-like interface. When new data is to be entered, it would be possible to do so using this interface. But wouldn’t it be easier and more functional if we had a form interface? There can be situations where data entry has to happen without the user seeing the whole database.

Enter Zoho Creator, our friendly online app creator and form builder. All you have to do is follow three simple steps as below to get your form interface.

  1. Create the form using Zoho Creator’s drag-and-drop interface.

  2. When creating the form, uncheck the ‘Store data in Creator’ option

  3. Include a short Deluge script that instructs Zoho Creator to directly store data in Zoho Reports.

Once the above is done, you can start entering data in the Zoho Creator form, see it getting collected in Zoho Reports and create all the reports you need in Zoho Reports as usual. Detailed documentation of how to go about this is available here. In case of any questions/clarifications, leave your comments or email us at support@zohoreports.com.

Note: While the above is for Zoho Reports users, in the past, we have had a couple of integration points for Zoho Creator users (where the web app is built using Zoho Creator and all data gets stored in Zoho Creator itself).

  • Zoho Creator has an in-built ‘Reports’ tab (that’s powered by Zoho Reports) which provides all the necessary reporting for your data.
  • If you wanted to use the full features of Zoho Reports, you can periodically export your data from Zoho Creator to Zoho Reports, for further reporting and analysis.
More about the above two options here.

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