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


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


    time period

  • create calendar views of resource


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

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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


Google Forms, Filemaker, Microsoft SharePoint and 



 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

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

95% customers recommend Zoho Creator – Survey Report

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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?

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:

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

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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

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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

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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