Zoho Creator Simplifies Data Management for Providence Community Action – A Case Study

Posted by Posted on by
0

Providence Community Action is a private, non profit organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for low income Providence residents. Their services include heating and weatherization assistance, consumer credit and debt counseling, clinical services (counseling), case management, an affordable housing program, Interim Middle School for youth excluded from regular public school and


much more
We spoke to Damian Costantino, the organization’s IT director who’s responsible for networking communications, system administration and database creation.







Damian had implemented an application using Zoho Creator, and they had about five users using it extensively. These five users in turn would deal with 100’s of clients. Damian, being the database administrator, was very well-versed in programming languages like Python and SQL, and had previously experimented

with 


Google Forms, Filemaker, Microsoft SharePoint and 


Microsoft


 Access.

 Complexity was not a concern, but the cost certainly was. They wanted something affordable, yet robust, especially because they were operating from four different locations, but not on the same VPN. No client should be serviced at more than one location, and details of the services provided had to be reported to their funders and agencies which refer clients. 

“What I like most about Zoho Creator is that you can make it as
complicated as you want or drill down as you want. The limit is what you
put on it.” – Damian Constantino, IT Director 


The integration between Zoho Creator and Zoho Reports is what they use extensively, second to sharing forms. Damian has made union queries a big part of the reports they generate, so that the graphical representation of data is self-explanatory; people don’t have to filter data. He says this application has improved their data collection and reporting efficiency 100%. They also appreciated not having to configure a connection to a back-end database and constantly ensure the connection is sound. Eliminating usage complexities for those who collect and report on data is an advantage with Zoho Creator, he said.


Zoho Creator turned out to be all that they were looking for in a database application,
efficiently refining the way they collected and reported on data. We’re also proud of the fact that Damian, a system administrator and a
network engineer who holds data security as a primary responsibility trusts Zoho Creator with their organization’s sensitive
data. 

Watch out for some more myth-busting stories about Zoho Creator. Coming soon.

95% customers recommend Zoho Creator – Survey Report

Posted by Posted on by
0





A while ago, we conducted a survey of Zoho Creator users. Customer-profiling was the prime motive of this survey. We needed to know what type of clientele we have, what category of applications were built most and how pleasant an experience app-building has been to our users. We initially aimed this survey at premium users only. This profiling enabled us to focus more on aspects which needed immediate attention. The response was warm. So were the answers, and I thought I’d share the findings with you all.

  






Were they tech-savvy?



The
ability to add complex business rules to applications is what makes
Zoho Creator stand out from the mob of mere form builders. To testify
how easy it is to add intelligence to your apps, 61% of those who
responded have had no prior experience in any programming language
.


Who helped them?



Some had hired an IT professional to
help in building the apps. Few others had taken the help of our Zoho
Creator developers. But close to 90% had built their apps all by themselves.








Would they recommend Zoho Creator to others?


We believe that if you are happy with a deal, you would naturally
influence your community into getting the most out of it. In that
context, we had 95% of the respondents saying they would happily recommend Zoho Creator as
a solution to others with similar needs. As for the remaining 5%, we
understand that it is highly impossible to satisfy everyone :) 


The Bottom Line:

The
mission of Zoho Creator is to empower end-users in building custom
applications all by themselves. We gained some valuable insights from
this survey and our findings have been in line with our efforts and
expectations. The results look very promising and suggest that we are
moving in the right direction. We thank all the participants who took
the time to respond. Do take a look at the survey form which served our purpose.

We would also love
to hear what you think about Zoho Creator and how we can do better. If
you’d like to share your thoughts with us, you can connect with us on
facebook and twitter.

Zoho Creator Walkthrough Videos – 6 and counting

Posted by Posted on by
0

At Zoho creator support, we’re always happy to cater to our ever inquisitive user community, newbie users and the demo requests. So, in addition to our existing support channels for Zoho Creator (the support team, the help center and the forums) we’re now adding a third channel: Videos 

To start with, here’s the first set of Zoho Creator tutorial and walkthrough videos. There are 6 videos that you can watch here. From a basic video Overview of Zoho Creator to a Video about creating Schedulers, we have tried to explain some of the features that we thought would be important for the first set of videos.

Do take a look at each one of them and tell us what you think. You can also tell us what other videos you would like to see. Leave us a comment here or connect with us on twitter and facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

We also have plans to expand this video gallery so, you can expect periodic additions to this set of videos. Watch this space!


Zoho@Zoho: Tracking revenue with a Zoho Creator application

Posted by Posted on by
0

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
0
Zoho services are used widely across countries. That means people of different languages and cultures rely on

Zoho
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
0




Zoho@Zoho

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
0
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