Zoho@Zoho: Tracking revenue with a Zoho Creator application

Posted by Posted on by

We’ve been showcasing an application every week, that talks about the unique use-cases

Zoho Creator

is capable of catering to. Today, we are on the verge of completion of a hopefully successful series,

Zoho@Zoho. If this series has kindled the creator in you to create apps for unique uses, then we have succeeded.Revenue Tracker is this week’s application, and our CEO, Sridhar, intends to use it. We have not deployed it yet, which is why I say, “intends to use it”.
It all started when we happened to overhear Sridhar grumbling about
unclear data while reviewing numbers one day. His main concern was the
fact that data was accurate, but not clear enough to make future
projections from. Reports too, were not so satisfactory. It was all maintained on a spreadsheet. Well, several of them, to be precise. Each seller would create a spreadsheet with the statistics for his / her region. At the end of the month, all these spreadsheets would be consolidated. This bringing-together of  multiple spreadsheets had to be done manually, and it was a very monotonous job. The total revenue brought in by each product in all regions would be calculated, and the final report would be emailed to Sridhar. This was how they had been doing it. No wonder he grumbled.

This use-case was meant to be handled by Zoho Creator. There was a complexity, however. The data we were to handle was too valuable to play around with. So, before deploying the application, we decided that it would be better to import all the existing data first. We can always modify the application to suit real-time scenarios, and customization is child’s play with Zoho Creator.
The approval module and the business intelligence are yet to be incorporated into this application. This would enable the administrator to grant access to every reseller and sales representative, thus allowing them to enter the details directly into this application. As integration between Zoho Creator and

Zoho Invoice

strengthens, we can employ other means too, like a schedule that would automatically fetch all invoices created for the day from Zoho Invoice, into this application.

Try the application

. Never mind the data, because it is not what it looks like ;)With that, we wind up this series of Zoho Creator applications categorized under Zoho@Zoho. Thank you for all the suggestions and comments throughout the series.

Apps showcased till now:
Rebranding Management,Hall of Shame,Tweet StreamAd Tracker,Reseller Portal,Download TrackerIT Asset Management,Support Call Tracker,New Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier ManagementCab Booking

Zoho@Zoho: Handling Rebranding Activities with Zoho Creator

Posted by Posted on by
Zoho services are used widely across countries. That means people of different languages and cultures rely on

for many of their critical business and personal needs. With that being the case, it became necessary to make our services available in the native language of our users. Even if not in all languages, at least in the widely used ones. This translation process, otherwise known as localization (L10n), is pretty tedious because many factors had to be taken into consideration. For instance, browser locale and default language settings of the computer. Another massive operation is the rebranding of our services to suit the vendors of different countries. Both these operations collectively are called internationalization (i18n). During these processes, many concerns arise, just as during development of the product, from feature request to bug fixes. Tracking all these is what this application is primarily meant for.


One developer of every team has access to this application. This developer is the i18n coordinator for that Zoho service. The reseller updates all enhancements and issues in this application. Other elements of the record are priority of the issue, category and the service it corresponds to. Whenever a record is added, the coordinator for that service is notified by an automated email. The coordinator then checks the nature of the request, and based on priority, assigns the ticket to the developer who is responsible for the feature in demand. After implementation, the co-ordinator updates the status of the request for the reseller to verify. File upload field and detailed reporting also play a very vital role in this application. The rebranding of all Zoho services are managed with this application and that shows how scalable this

Zoho Creator
app is.

Though this application stands tall with 14 forms and 160 views, the workflow behind it is not so complex.  All 160 views are handled by simple filters and conditions, thus making data handling much easier. Views are shared to those who are responsible, so that everyone gets to view data that is relevant to their service only.


This application has brought together teams in China, Japan and India. All thanks to Zoho Creator’s collaboration capabilities, communication between teams located in different countries is much simplified now. And integration with

Zoho Reports
has made data analysis easier.

Try this application

Apps showcased till now:

Rebranding ManagementHall of ShameTweet Stream,  Ad TrackerReseller PortalDownload TrackerIT Asset ManagementSupport Call TrackerNew Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier ManagementCab Booking

Zoho@Zoho: Managing Security Issues with a Zoho Creator Application

Posted by Posted on by


series kicked off last year. We have been portraying Zoho Creator applications which we use for our very unique needs. With the series nearing completion, there are only a few more applications left, and we’d like to know how  this series has influenced you. And just in case you have missed out any, here is an archive of the situational applications

showcased till now
The first app for this year is here because of its significance. It helps us ensure the reliability of all our services by keeping track of possible security threats. Here is

Hall of Shame.
You read it right. Hall of Shame. More than anything else, we crave for reliability of our services. We realize that you trust us with your precious data. We also understand that we cannot compromise on the security of any of our services and live to talk our way out of the mess. It is why we chose to be on the front-foot. Every single entry on this application is a disgrace to the team, so the teams do whatever it takes to avoid it. Rightly named, don’t you think? Whenever a team comes out with a major update, every other team gets to test it intensively. They test not to find faults, but to improve the quality and reliability of the service. Should they stumble upon a backdoor that might be damaging, it is immediately brought to the attention of everyone. Don’t panic, because we don’t do all these after you start using the feature. This hunting-down happens on a local set-up. Only after every flag has been brought down, do we let it go live for you to use. Here is how it is streamlined.
Flags is the hot keyword here that attracts all the attention it deserves. All flagged vulnerabilities are tracked by security coordinators who are at the heart of every team. Whenever a set of features or fixes is ready, it is updated on a mirror set-up which is very much similar to the one you use, except that this is for testing privately. Security coordinators of every team are then notified of the update through automated email notifications.
Just like our customers, we too use our services extensively and rely on them. While testing the mirror set-up, if any security coordinator comes across any issue that is seemingly dangerous, he makes a note of it on this application and the team behind the service is notified. A developer of that team is then assigned to rectify the reported issue within a deadline. Once done, testing is iterated.
By ensuring that all service updates pass through this critical phase before going live, we have security in it’s rightful place.

Zoho Creator

is not the reason why our services are reliable, but it sure can take all the credit for a timely and custom application with which we implement security. Try this application.

Zoho@Zoho: Simple and Creative

Posted by Posted on by
It is that time of the year to thank all you wonderful customers for your patronage. We see this as the end of yet another great year of togetherness. Carrying forward the faith into the year to come, here is wishing all Zoho users and others too, a very joyous season.
As for our customary application for this week, festive spirit is in the air and everyone is coming up with new ways of celebrating. I didn’t want to ruin the mood for you with a utility-packed application. Instead, it seemed a good idea to showcase creativity. At Zoho Creator, we worship creativity. There are plenty of people out there with a wild thing for creativity; Passionate about it to the core. They are those who contribute new ideas, initiate changes and readily collaborate to create a better story, out of whatever they have at hand. Bending your mind around corners is all what getting creative is about. That is also just what creating custom applications / creative applications is all about.
Twitter being one of the fastest and wide-spread means of getting to know of a product or service, we decided to flaunt our favorite tweets on our home page. We could have used the default badges and widgets provided by Twitter, but how could we just settle for that? Not with Zoho Creator at hand. We did try out something new with Zoho Creator. It is an application to fetch our favorite tweets, save them on a view, and embed the view on our home page. Twitter provides an API to fetch our favorite tweets from our twitter account. We had Zoho Creator’s HTML view to embed on our website. But we found the intermediate part to be more interesting; Creating a custom schedule to fetch the latest ones from twitter, automatically.
It was done and all was well. All pains were to cater to our thing for creativity. Other than this, the twitter application has no brainstorming complexity or never-heard-of sophistication. It is the simple idea that makes this application so unique. Just as simple things in life go on to be the best ones. If it will inspire you to put on your thinking caps, try it by all means. And in honor of the seasonal spirit of giving, tell us what your App story is!

Apps showcased till now: Ad Tracker, Reseller PortalDownload TrackerIT Asset Management,  Support Call TrackerNew Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier Management,  Cab Booking

Zoho@Zoho: Tracking advertising costs with Zoho Creator

Posted by Posted on by
Talking about advertisements, the first thing that crosses our minds is the excitement. It is the creativity of the design and the wordplay that leaves behind trails of enthusiasm, even long after it’s launch. But just the visual elements of the commercial are not everything that make the campaign a grand success. There is this other side; The equally important factor called cost. Especially with so much of marketing activities nowadays, it is easy to get lost in all the WOW. If your campaign should tower a head and shoulders taller than the rest, you need to invest, not spend. Here at Zoho, we have an application to keep track of the campaigns that come up for every product. And as we have a very wide range of services, it becomes necessary to moderate decisions.
Of all the services we offer, whenever a seemingly viral idea emerges, the team weaves it to completion. To launch it, they would raise a request on this Advertisement tracker application. The request has a detailed description of the product, type of campaign, the target-audience and estimated cost. The approval module triggers a notification email to the approving authority, the team’s manager in this case.
Before the managers approve or reject, the team would demonstrate the whole idea to them in person. This is not because they are superior and are the deciding factor, but because they might come up with a master stroke that might make a difference. Be it either trade shows, banner ads, bill boards or other campaigns, once the request is approved, the team that raised the request is notified.
In addition, the ticket is moved to the finance team; The bankers. It is the finance team that maintains this application, and has the authority to add new advertising locations, types of campaigns and include users. After the cost-benefit analysis, the fund is approved. The manager and the requesting team are then notified of the approval. They can now carry their campaign forward. Another note-worthy aspect of this application is the detailed reporting and analysis. Being powered by Zoho Reports, reporting becomes all the more picturesque than ever before.
This Zoho Creator application is not one of the kind that has so complex code stuffed into it. Nor has it got anything to do with the success of an advertisement campaign. Too bad, it doesn’t. But it does something inevitable; Helping us invest instead of spend. Try this application.

Apps showcased till now: Ad Tracker, Reseller PortalDownload TrackerIT Asset Management,  Support Call TrackerNew Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier Management,  Cab Booking


Zoho@Zoho: How our resellers access Zoho CRM contacts via Zoho Creator App

Posted by Posted on by


applications (LOB) is much talked about nowadays in the corporate
world. LOB apps are a series of indispensable applications that are capable of
being smoothly interlaced with each other.
This is where Zoho Creator come
into adding value to your business; Even change the way you run
business, perhaps. Zoho Creator is an online database platform to build situational
applications that can work seamlessly alongside these LOB apps, Zoho CRM for instance. These are apps that bridge
because a fully functional generic application might not cater to
your minor, but not-negligible requirements. Here is one such instance
which we encountered.

We have resellers in quite many countries, and it is they who help customers in their locality to get the most out of Zoho. We chose Zoho Creator to come up with this reseller portal. But this application needed contact information from Zoho CRM. Hence we employed schedulers to do the job.
Remember us having talked about

task schedulers

some time back; The what-to-do and when-to-do stuff? This application might prove to be the kind we had in mind. As a very pleasant outcome, we have got ourselves this application that is capable of importing contacts daily from our Zoho CRM account. Automatically. Seamlessly.

We designed it to fetch all the contacts for the day, and scheduled it to do so at 12 pm everyday. It accounts to 200 a time because the return limit for the API request is 200. Once the synchronization of contacts between the two services is in place, distribution of relevant data is child’s play. Access to details of clients in their locality alone is granted to the resellers, and that too, on a dedicated view. This application has redundant information, already available on Zoho CRM, but with a purpose. It is to avoid modification of data on CRM. Whenever a reseller closes a ticket, ie., generates a lead out of a contact, it stays on Zoho Creator for verification. This ensures the integrity of the original information stored on Zoho CRM; Not being altered at any cost.
Well, that’s all about this application, I suppose.

Try this application

too, as you’ve tried the previous ones. If you have built anything of this sort that busts myths about Zoho Creator’s capabilities, write to us. It might throw more light on how custom, online application building can get, and how Zoho Creator is pioneering.

Apps showcased till now:

Rebranding ManagementHall of ShameTweet Stream,  Ad TrackerReseller PortalDownload TrackerIT Asset ManagementSupport Call TrackerNew Employee RecordTravel ManagementCourier ManagementCab Booking

Cloud Computing Assignments for B-School Students

Posted by Posted on by

What’s common to B-school students of Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSoM), IIT Kharagpur and those in Lundquist College of Business (LCB), University of Oregon? Well, both have professors who are not only well-versed in the latest web technologies but also involve their students hands-on with these technologies.

1. VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur

We have featured Professor Prithwis Mukerjee of VGSoM before as a Zoho power user. Prof Mukerjee continues to getting himself accustomed to the latest tech trends. He uses

Facebook’s discussion board
to full effect in communicating with his students. One of his latest assignments to his students – make a short movie and upload to YouTube or create a mini ERP system in Zoho Creator. His problem statement for the Order-to-Cash ERP app:

The Order-to-Cash process begins with the arrival ( and recording ) of
an order for a specified product from an approved customer. The order
can ONLY be accepted if a sufficient inventory exists of the product.
After the order is accepted, it is fulfilled at some point of time when
an invoice has to be generated. Generation of the invoice also creates a
Accounts Receivable entry and sets the order status to delivered.
Subsequently a payment is received, the invoice is marked paid, the AR
entry is marked paid and credit entry is made in the cash ledger.

11 student groups made the Zoho Creator app and I was honored when the Professor asked me to judge the apps made by his students and award them marks :) The related

discussion thread
in Facebook.
Prof. Mukerjee blogged about it too.

2. LCB, Univ of Oregon

Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, Michael Pangburn, teaches Business Information Systems (DSC340) at LCB, UofO. And he not only uses

his blog
to communicate with his students but also makes each of his students create one – their blog roll. His

notes page
for the course DSC340. And one of his

home work
assignments to his students:

Assignment Description

  • Download a copy of

    this Excel file
    This “Presidents.xls” spreadsheet file contains 4 database tables: (i)
    president (a list of presidents), (ii) party (a list of parties), (iii)
    state (a list of states), and (iv) priorPosition (a list of prior
    positions that presidents have held).
  • Go to

    , a free
    online database service, and login (either create a new account or login
    using the Google, Facebook, or Yahoo! login options).  Create a new
    (initially blank) database and then your

    1st database task

    is to use the “Import .XLS” feature to

    import, one at a time, each of the four worksheets

    within the Presidents.xls workbook–each worksheet will become a distinct table in your database.
  • After the importing of those four tables, your

    2nd task

    with the database is to create a 5th table to capture the Many-to-Many
    relationship between the two tables you imported that correspond to the
    two worksheets: ‘president’ and ‘priorPositions.’  To create a table,
    click the

    New–>New Table

    drop-down menu option and create
    the new table using “Design View.”  In design view, you simply type in
    the column names you want; double-click on the default data type to
    change it. 

    You need to figure out what columns should be in this table that should connect presidents to positions.

    Save the table with the name ‘PresPositions’ and then add 3-4 rows of

    true data

    (use Wikipedia or other information source) to this table, connecting a few presidents to their

    actual past positions

    .  After adding your data, be sure to

    click the Save button

    to save the data.
  • After creating the Many-to-Many bridge table, your

    3rd task

    with the database is to

    write the following query

    Show presidents’ first and last names, their political party name, birth state name, and their prior position title(s).

    This requires that you join the 5 tables in the database, so you need
    to specify the 4 joining conditions that connect those tables to each

    The query results will only show those presidents for
    whom you provided past-positions data in the 2nd step above, which is
    expected (and it’s fine).

    Note: to access the SQL interface in Zoho, click the

    New–>New Query Table

    drop-down menu option.

It was nice to see him use Zoho Reports for teaching SQL query functions and joining of two tables. I mailed him thanking him for using Zoho and he promptly replied back asking a couple of questions about entering data and embedding options in Zoho Reports.

Great to see Zoho and other current technologies being used in classrooms. If you are a student or instructor using such technologies in your courses, please do share your views in the comments.