What is Zoho?

Nice video explaining what cloud computing is in general and what Zoho is in particular.

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Work. Online

Great video from Zoho: Work. Online. Music, Cast and most of the crew members are Zoho employees. Pre-production and Post-production was done by the employees of Zoho.

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Zoho Launches Zoho Gadgets

This is interesting. It seems these guys never tire of building new things into their platform. Zoho launched recently its Zoho Gadgets, which allows users to embed Zoho apps to be embedded in any OpenSocial compatible site or social network. This includes Orkut, iGoogle, Gmail, Friendster, Ning and Yahoo. Although not OpenSocial compatible, Zoho Gadgets also support embedding on Facebook.

Zoho Gadgets connects you to iGoogle, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail etc | Zoho Blogs

Zoho Gadgets launches today with the aim to connect Zoho applications with external applications. Zoho Gadgets, available at http://gadgets.zoho.com, can be integrated/embedded with online applications like iGoogle, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail & more. To start with, we are offering six Zoho gadgets.

* Zoho Docs (Including Writer, Sheet & Show)
* Zoho Mail
* Zoho Calendar
* Zoho Tasks
* Zoho Contacts and
* Zoho Planner

The Yankee Group Business Collaboration Tournament

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Here is another showdown–this time between collaboration software vendors. Interesting in that it has a tournament style presentation format (ala Streetfighter or K1) and pits large on-premise software vendors such as IBM and Microsoft, with small, up and coming vendors such as pure-SaaS provider Zoho.

This was developed by Yankee Group. Read more below:

The Yankee Group Business Collaboration Tournament

Although the buzzer-beaters and Cinderella surprises of the NCAA college basketball tournament have been put to rest for 2008, Yankee Group revisited March Madness in the business collaboration vendor landscape.This season marks the inaugural Yankee Group Business Collaboration Tournament. Based on the framework we’ve developed, the tournament will crown the technology vendor with the most comprehensive business collaboration solution the champion of 2008.

In addition, in this Report we also announce the Yankee Group All-Tournament Team and Collaboration Coach of the Year. These awards are given to the vendors that are most successful within the categories we evaluated:

* Community-centric collaboration solutions
* Real-time and messaging collaboration solutions
* Mobile collaboration solutions

We also evaluate the 16 selected vendors (see Exhibit 1) on IT friendliness (e.g., their ability to integrate with existing solutions); the level of service and support they provide; and, at a strategic level, their product road map, their commitment to business collaboration relative to their entire portfolio and their long-term viability.

However, the purpose of the tournament is not to predict the ultimate market champion, but to evaluate vendors on functionality and alignment with Yankee Group’s vision of the Anywhere EnterpriseTM, which essentially is a business that—technologically speaking—allows corporate users to work anywhere using any device. The goal of the Report is to help businesses make the right purchasing and licensing decisions for their collaboration infrastructure and strategy.

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Zoho SaaS Perfect Solution for Bringing IT to Emerging Market SMBs

Yesterday I gave a talk on how companies, specifically SMBs (Small to Medium Businesses) can now take advantage of IT quickly and easily with SaaS and cloud computing.

IT, specially business systems or enterprise software, have traditionally been out of reach for SMBs of its complexity and high cost. With SaaS,
systems like collaboration software, databases, and transactional applications such as ERP and CRM are now made easily available in ways that are easily understood. For one thing, SaaS applications do not require complex IT infrastructure such as routers, firewalls and servers. To use SaaS apps, users require nothing more than an Internet-connected PC or even a mobile device to start using the applications. Another is that they are usually billed on a fixed monthly amount, according to what customers need or consume–similar to utility services such as power and water. SaaS apps are also usually designed from the get-go as tools for multi-user collaboration. This allows for improved efficiency and smoother coordination among company workgroups, departments and teams.

Now when people talk about SaaS the first thing people often ask is security, and the event where I spoke was no different. People are usually apprehensive about putting their company data into the intangible, amorphous Internet “cloud” so to speak. I made a point about how people have been comfortably uploading private data online with apps such as Google mail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail for years. Many have found it to be even better and more reliable than their corporate mail servers (I know of several companies who use Gmail as a backup for their mail systems on their own domain). Over the past few months, even become comfortable uploading with uploading sensitive personal data on the Internet with social networking sites such as Facebook and Friendster.

Now despite this, some key issues remain. Of course one is Internet access. To use SaaS, companies should have an “always on” Inernet connection. Integration with legacy apps can also be a challenge, as well as using SaaS for high volume, fast throughput, quick response type applications such as Point-of-Sale systems in a fast-paced retail environment. Another challenge is just simply navigating the abundant, sometimes confusing array of choices available in the SaaS market.

Good thing there is Zoho. Zoho is a SaaS company launched in 2005 that offers a wide range of online software. They offer everything from personal productivity apps such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet, wiki software; to business systems such as customer relationship management. All in all, Zoho has over 20 productivity and collaboration apps, all for prices that, by US and traditional software standards, are dirt cheap–but for emerging markets such as India (where Zoho came from) and the Philippines are just right.

For the whole lot of Zoho’s business applications, it costs a mere $50 per user per year or roughly the same amount one would spend for prepaid cellphone load locally in a year. By contrast, the Professional Version of Microsoft Office, sells for as much as a months to two months’ salary for most Filipinos.

Now cheap doesnt mean poor quality. So far have been very happy with using Zoho as an end-user. The breadth of applications is simply unmatched by any SaaS vendor, including Microsoft, Google or Salesforce. Its simple and easy enough to use for SMBs and priced just right. I also traveled to India and have seen their operations and have met their management (full disclosure: their parent company Adventnet is a partner of the company where I work). While there, I was impressed by their culture and their strategy, which gave me the impression that they really are into this business for the long haul–which as a partner and reseller gives peace of mind. They also have a 200 strong software engineering talent bench (with an additional 800 more from their sister company)–a number that easily beats many pure play SaaS vendors (including Salesforce.com?) in terms of technical resources.

Find out more about SaaS and Zoho today. Contact me via my LinkedIn page if you want to find out more or follow me on Twitter (webwonker).

A new way to work with Zoho | FastCompany.TV

Interview with Raju Vegesna, evangelist for Zoho–a suite of online services for collaboration, productivity and workflow software. Interesting points: Zoho’s breadth of services make them a good starting point for anyone who wants to start with cloud computing. Regarding their market positioning–they like to see themselves as “an IKEA and not a Walmart” where you have access to quality products for a good price. They also have an online market place for community contributed applications developed using the Zoho platform. Interesting as well is their Cloud SQL which provides the ability to work with data in Zoho using SQL. Check it out! Interview done by Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV.

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