How To Clean Up Your Business – With Zoho

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Entrepreneur.com recently featured an article titled ‘How To Clean Up Your Business‘. The article talks about Spring Cleaning, a time to ‘get rid of the tasks, people and situations that drain time, money and energy from your Business’. Every Business encounters its share of such tasks, people and situations that it must successfully overcome in order to increase and optimize productivity.

I’d like to share some ‘Productivity Pitfalls’ quoted from the original articleAt Zoho, we offer several applications which can help eliminate 7 out of these 8 Pitfalls. These Zoho Apps can be used together, in conjunction with one another, to achieve the purpose of maximizing productivity while saving you time, money and energy.

Productivity Pitfall #1 Scattered day plans

 ”Failure to plan their days is the No. 1 reason business owners waste time, energy and money, says New York City-based time-management expert Julie Morgenstern By not planning their days, they tend to become reactive and distracted, diminishing their productivity and the revenue they can generate.”

Our SolutionZoho Mail for Business comes with Calendar, Tasks and Notes apps integrated for improved productivity and efficiency. With Zoho Mail, Business-Owners can plan and organize their days better. The Calendar app within Zoho Mail helps easily schedule, manage and track important events and meetings from within the email interface. The Tasks app lets you assign, plan and track important tasks, ensuring that you never miss any task-related deadlines. The Notes app lets you add quick, color-coded notes to gather all useful information in one place, so you can later refer to it, edit or import it. Zoho Mail also supports multi-level folders that make it easier for Business-Owners to track, organize and prioritize incoming email thereby saving time and energy. Read the complete list of powerful features offered by Zoho Mail for Business.

Productivity Pitfall #2 DIY syndrome 

Morgenstern estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the small and midsize businesses she consults with waste employee salaries, including their own, by not focusing each person’s time on the optimal task for that person.”

Our SolutionZoho Creator helps many Business-Owners build custom apps for their Busi
ness requirements. Instead of hiring a developer who may or may not understand their exact requirements, Business-Owners can easily build their own custom app all by themselves, using the Zoho Creator platform. Building their own apps saves these Businesses considerable time and money that may have otherwise been wasted hiring unnecesary developer resources Also, using Zoho Creator ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of the applications built.

One such Zoho Creator customer, Wayne “Kila” Watts, Chief Pilot at  PilotSpeak.net reports:

“It was a godsend for the applications I needed for my website, saving me thousands of dollars to have someone else make the databases and design the pages.”

Read experiences of other Business-Owners who have saved time and money by building their own apps with Zoho Creator.

Productivity Pitfall #3 Disorganized direction  

To make the delegation process more effective and less time-consuming, Bakersfield, Calif.-based business growth consultant Russell S. Allred, co-author of Best Practices of High Performance Entrepreneurs, recommends creating task-related systems and processes. Write a list of steps for each task you perform regularly in your workplace and the best practices for completing those steps.

Our SolutionZoho Wiki helps create a secure, collaborative environment for Businesses to document and share such task-related systems and processes online over their Intranet. Wikis serve as a knowledge-base where employees can maintain and update information and steps related to these tasks.

Stu Press, CEO of Grand Assistance, is the owner of one such Business and has successfully achieved this purpose using Zoho Wiki. Here’s what he had to say about our Wiki solution:

“Zoho Wiki has been a valuable communication tool that we were able to integrate into our business. We have been able to eliminate printed procedure manuals and employee handbooks resulting in a more nimble and environmentally friendly process for keeping our all of organization’s people in alignment with our goals. We enjoy being able to quickly implement modifications and updates to our Wiki.”

Learn more about Zoho Wiki features that can help you create process-oriented knowledge-bases for your Business.

Productivity Pitfall #4Untamed distractions

“Many people have no idea how to manage the overwhelming amount of communication that comes their way on paper and electronically, says productivity consultant Kimberly Medlock, founder of Productive Matters in Olive Branch, Miss. To cut down on distractions and time-sucks, clean up your act, she says. Develop hard-copy and electronic filing systems to help locate important papers and information more quickly.”

Our SolutionZoho Docs can serve as the electronic filing system helping your Business store, manage and collaboratively work on documents online. Not only does Zoho Docs allow secure file sharing via an online workspace, it also includes an admin console so that user rights and access to files can easily be controlled. Read more about these features available on Zoho Docs.

Productivity Pitfall #5Leaky expenditures 

>By checking his monthly expenses closely, Eli Mechlovitz, co-founder of GlassTileStore.com, an online glass tile retailer, found a variety of unwanted subscriptions, warranty programs, fee-based website analytics programs, utility bill errors and other incorrect or unwanted charges. Eliminating these budgetary leaks has saved his Brooklyn, N.Y., company approximately $4,000 per month.  Every quarter, be sure to review where the money is going, he advises, and discontinue or fight unnecessary or incorrect charges.

Our SolutionZoho Books is a comprehensive accounting solution that helps Business-Owners manage their finances and stay on top of their Business. With Zoho Books, you can keep your Business expenses in check and manage the money flowing in and out of your Business. Learn more about how Zoho Books can help your business stay financially healthy.

Productivity Pitfall #6:  Collecting (all) customers

Maria Marsala, a business coach in Poulsbo, Wash., finds that many of her clients waste time and energy serving the wrong customers. She encourages them to define their “ideal” customer–the person or entity that will pay a fair price for their product or service, value their business, return and buy from them again and generate referrals. The greatest marketing investment and effort should be devoted to finding and courting those ideals, she says.

Our Solution: Zoho CRM can help your Business build, maintain and strengthen customer relationships. With Zoho CRM, you can organize your customer database so that you can identify and tag the right customers, prioritize and track business opportunities and plan focused marketing activity. Read about some of the Business-Owners who have benefited from adopting Zoho CRM for their Business.

Productivity Piftall #7: Energy-sucking employees

 When Mechlovitz has trouble with unproductive or negative employees, he tries to move them into positions that better suit their skills. But if an employee isn’t a good fit or is miserable, he says, you have to end the relationship–quickly. 

Productivity Pitfall #8: Persistent procrastination

 If you constantly avoid tasks or put off work until the last minute, you need to figure out why, Morgenstern says. Burnout could be from being overworked, but she often finds that procrastination is rooted in uncertainty or intimidation. If a project seems too big, procrastination can be a coping mechanism. She suggests breaking the task down into manageable steps you can do in shorter chunks of time.

Our Solution Zoho Projects is helping many Businesses effectively manage their Business Projects online. With features such as task-management, time-tracking, project calendar, chat and meetings, Zoho Projects can help you plan and optimize the time spent on tasks. 

Business-Owners can use Zoho Projects with their teams ensuring that team members collaboratively manage their tasks within optimal time. Tasks can be easily broken down into manageable chunks and completed over a defined, measurable period of time. Not only that, Business-Owners can also save and plan their own time that they would otherwise spend micro-managing different tasks across multiple projects within their Business. Read about some of these Businesses and how they have benefited from Zoho Projects.

So, that’s the complete list of Productivity Pitfalls and how they can be avoided by using the right Zoho Apps. Thanks to Gwen Moran of Entrepreneur.com for the original article that inspired this post. Besides this list, are there any other Productivity Pitfalls that affect your Business? Tell us about them, and we can help you figure out the best ways to tackle them.

If you liked this post, drop us a comment here or give us a shout on twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Announcing: Zoho Wiki for Google Apps

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Last week we introduced

Zoho Reports for Google Apps marketplace
and it got an encouraging response. Thank you all for the installs, comments and the emails. Continuing our unveiling of 5 Zoho apps for Google Apps marketplace, we’re very pleased to present to you our app for this week -

Zoho Wiki for Google Apps
.

                 

With

Zoho Wiki
, you can easily create online workspaces for content sharing within a group. Create personal / public / private team wikis and start collaborating with your project teams, clients & partners across the globe. No special technical knowledge is required to set up the wiki and you can get started within minutes.

          


Zoho Wiki – Google Apps Integration:


           

Zoho Wiki has several

integration points with Google products. Here are some highlights:


  • Single Sign On (SSO):



    Domain admins for Google Apps can add Zoho Wiki to their domain through
    the


    Shop the marketplace
     link in Google Apps. Once Zoho Wiki app is
    added to the domain, all the users in that domain will have access to
    the service through Google’s Universal Navigation bar.

    Click on the app from the universal navigation bar to open Zoho Wiki in
    a new browser tab. The single sign on lets the users directly login


    to Zoho Wiki, thereby streamlining the workflow for both Google Apps and Zoho Wiki.


  • Attach Google Docs in Zoho Wiki:



    Zoho Wiki integrates with Google Docs as well. You can add more value
    to the wiki page by attaching the relevant Google Document(s) to the page.


  • Share the wiki to your Google Apps users:



    Sharing your Zoho Wiki with other Google Apps users is a breeze, thanks
    to the tighter integration between Zoho Wiki and Google Apps. You can create targeted workspaces for knowledge sharing, e.g., organizations can create
    different workspaces for each team or project.  Each workspace acts as
    an independent and fully customizable portal. Once you have created
    your workspace, you can invite all the stakeholders too. It doesn’t
    stop with sharing, you can assign permissions for users as to who can
    edit the document, who can just view and who can comment.


  • Google Gadgets integration:


    Zoho Wiki also allows you to personalize the dashboard page with Google
    gadgets. You can make your content a lot more interesting by adding
    widgets like,

    • Google Translate
    • Google Photos
    • Your favorite iGoogle gadgets
    • Google Analytics code to track website statistics
    • Google Custom Search option

and

much more

Take a look at this Zoho Show slideshow to know more about the integration.

Do give


Zoho Wiki for Google Apps
 a spin and let us know your feedback. We’ll meet you next Tuesday with yet another app for the Google Apps Marketplace. Till then, adios :)

Dynamic Team Collaboration within Zoho – Credit goes to Zoho Wiki

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Well,
I’m back with another interesting but important avatar of Zoho
Wiki – Online Team Collaboration Tool. [Catch the earlier post on
Zoho Wiki as the Help Authoring tool within Zoho ]

You might be wondering how we guys manage our teams considering the many
products across varied domains,
? “Keeping it
small & nimble” is the open secret ;-)   And what about the tools? Well, no prize for guessing it; the popular collaboration
tool that most teams use is

Zoho Wiki
.


Zoho Wiki @ Zoho Corp



There are multiple
product team-Workspaces under the parent Zoho organization wiki. So,
right away, each team maintains their own independent space that allows
collaboration within the product team members as well as with other
product teams.

Zoho Wiki is so flexible that there are teams that use wiki for
simple collaboration needs like discussing the development of the product features, sharing market
knowledge, uploading usability designs etc. Also, teams like

ManageEngine Applications Manager
with different
sub-teams like developers, QAs, marketing, support, tech writing use
Zoho Wiki for managing the entire team.

Instead of relying on the complex Email chains for communication, Zoho Wiki makes collaboration simple & effective.

Ok, Let me elaborate on how ManageEngine Applications Manager team members go about their daily chores.

  • New features that are to be rolled out for an upcoming release are
    explained by the feature-owners in a wiki document. Discussions & comments
    follow and the feature is enhanced. QA & tech writing members are made
    aware of the new features that are in the pipeline. The marketing folks also chip in with their inputs.

  • QA then gets ready with the test plans and they are stored in Zoho Wiki, after which they are shared with the team members.

  • Next, the Tech writer comes up with the help content for the new feature and the
    help documentation, which is shared with the team for feedback

  • Once,
    validation kick starts, the validation reports are stored in Zoho Wiki.
    Test plans can be corrected and updated then & there. Help
    documentation also undergoes multiple revisions. This ensures that the test plans & help
    documents are always the latest and they are not locked up in any
    server. 

  • Team members opt to ‘watch’ the wiki and get notified on the changes happening to the project.

  • Another
    advantage of using wiki is, that all departments of the team function
    cohesively. For eg, the support team that interacts with the customer is
    able to voice its concern and get the customer’s point of view while testing.
    Also, the support team maintains an extensive troubleshooting guide online using
    Zoho Wiki.

  • Release coordination is also primarily routed through Zoho Wiki.

  • All
    process documents like QA process, Support process, etc are maintained
    in the team wiki. Best coding practices doc is updated and shared with
    the team.

  • Zoho Wiki is used to maintain the software resources licensing and lab PC details for quick team reference.

  • Training material also finds it’s way into the wiki. It is easy to keep it updated & share it with partners & customers.

“Our

product is over seven
years
old and plays in the Enterprise Application Performance Management
space. ZOHO Wiki helps good ideas to bubble up from all streams within
our team, be it QA, development, marketing, product management etc. Wiki
also helps us to streamline the development processes we use
in-house”, says Gibu Kurien Mathew, Product Manager, ManageEngine
Applications Manager.

 ”The end result is great. We are able to make
better
Engineering and Product Management decisions.”





Your
team size may be Five or Five hundred. But at the end of the day, you
need a simple but effective collaboration tool to deliver quality
product & service to your customers.



Try Zoho Wiki for your Team’s Collaboration Needs. Create Online Group Workspaces & Securely Share Knowledge.




Susan

Zoho Wiki Goes Social

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In our latest update,
social sharing gets a crackling integration with Zoho Wiki. Our
customers, after quickly setting up their wikis wanted to share the
information with like minded people.

Sharing the wiki pages on social
networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc was a fantastic opportunity
they were looking at. Well, that’s exactly what you can do now.

Social Tool Widget:

You
can insert the Social Tool Widget in your wiki page and share your
content with your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter.

See below, a wiki page with the social sharing options. Click on the Share button and choose the medium you want to share your page with.

.

Enabling Share Option in Public Wiki Pages

The
social toolbar is already built in for Public Wikis. Instead of taking
the widget route, the owner of the wiki has the flexibility to turn on
/off social sharing toolbar in public pages. The social toolbar is found
at the top of the page or near the footer of the page.

Go to Wiki Settings (on the top menu) -> General -> select ‘Share Page‘ option.

Go
ahead and popularize your classroom projects, volunteer wikis, etc among your social contacts.

Publish Content Quickly.. Securely Collaborate.. Make your wikis more social.

Like it?
Thanks n Regards,
Susan
http://twitter.com/zohowiki

Zoho Wiki – The Affordable Enterprise Wiki for Team Collaboration Within an Organization

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Zoho Wiki scores heavily by being the de facto team collaboration tool within Zoho. Various groups like usability engineers, developers, QA across different teams in Zoho have implemented Zoho Wiki for sharing the design docs, reviewing the feature sets, storing the release plans and even documenting best coding practices. Technical writers use Zoho Wiki for writing our help manuals. Marketing team tracks the marketing efforts in a Wiki. Our resellers and partners across the globe, collaborate with us via wiki. In fact, Zoho’s intranet runs on Zoho Wiki.

It is quite surprising to note how varied the implementations are. All this is possible, mainly because

  • Zoho Wiki is flexible enough to mold itself and cater to the diverse needs within an organization.
  • Each team gets its own space within the company with separate admin controls. Team Workspaces within the organization wiki allows collaboration with internal groups as well as third parties like resellers and partners.
  • Enterprise level security – You can set different permissions for different groups of users.
  • Easy implementation – it takes just a few minutes to set up a wiki and start working.
  • Very Intuitive – Right from HR to Finance to Sales, all employees can easily adapt to this business wiki.

We have launched a new Product Video that will help you see if Zoho Wiki can be the answer to your company’s quest for an Affordable Enterprise Wiki. Have a look and let us know your thoughts. Also, keep us posted on how you use Zoho Wiki within your organization.

Thanks n Regards,

Susan

Making Your Enterprise Wikis Secure – Zoho Wiki offers Three Tier Permissions

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Wikis have come a long way from being just another tool for information aggregation. They are now widely used for online content sharing and collaboration at multiple levels. One of the biggest concern for people who opt for Wikis inside their organization is Security. Companies strictly adhere to privacy policies and would like their data to be highly confidential.

SMBs who look out for quality wiki software had to settle between free wiki sites that didn’t have enterprise level security or choose expensive alternatives in the market. Zoho Wiki would be the ideal bet in such a scenario. If you want to use an easily affordable enterprise wiki for your company, look no further.

Fine grained Access Controls with Zoho Wiki

Zoho
Wiki has a three tiered architecture: Wiki -> Workspaces ->
Pages. Within your wiki, you can categorize your content into
independent and fully customizable Workspaces. So, in a business
organization, it is easy to create independent workspaces for each team
and more importantly, each team has its own security controls.

Zoho Wiki Permissions

Zoho Wiki enables you to
have certain confidential project plans as private, share few product design pages alone with a
particular team (Group Sharing)
or publish common company documents to everyone in the organization (organization wide sharing). Being
online, Zoho Wiki removes the firewall constraints and makes it easier
to share and collaborate securely with third parties like clients,
partners and vendors. You can easily build a secure Company Extranet.

Let’s
see how we can go about making a wiki secure in just a few steps

A. Adding Users to a Wiki:

While
adding users, you have the option to categorize them as
individual users, group users, organization users, domain users (wiki
content will be shared by users of a particular domain) or Zoho
Registered users (instead of allowing
anonymous guest viewers, this will facilitate valid users to access
the pages) .

B. Setting Granular
Permissions

The users can then be assigned separate
permissions for viewing, editing, commenting, deleting and creating
pages. This gives more control to the administrator to decide on who can
edit content,
who can view pages, who can post comments etc.

User Permissions


C. Secure Access

By enabling ‘only HTTPS‘ option,
secure access can be guaranteed.

D. Permission Inheritance

  • You can allow default
    permission inheritance, i.e the pages and workspaces
    can inherit the wiki permission itself or
  • you have the
    flexibility to define permissions for wiki, workspaces and the pages
    separately. For example, the wiki by itself can be shared with the
    entire company but finance workspace alone can be private.

So, go
ahead and try & see how helpful Zoho Wiki can be for your business

Cheers,
Susan

Online Collaboration between Teachers, Parents & Students – Zoho Wiki replaces Microsoft SharePoint

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Showcasing Niskayuna School District Parent-Teacher Organizations Website

Let me present to you, a classic case of how a school district used Zoho Wiki to make Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs), a truly collaborative online effort between teachers and parents, primarily for student enrichment activities.

Niskayuna School District Parent-Teacher Organization wanted a centralized location where parents and teachers could come together. Creating an interactive PTO Website was a straight forward answer.

http://www.niskypto.org/ would give you a sense of how dynamic and effective the portal is. In their own words, they wanted all parents to get involved, to know what’s happening across all schools, and form a network to discuss issues, share ideas and build rapport with other parents and teachers.

PTO Website

Earlier, the authorities were using Microsoft SharePoint, but issues started cropping up. They were on the look out for other options to replace SharePoint. Completely satisfied with the offering, they finally zeroed in on Zoho Wiki.

Key points that tilted their decision in favor of Zoho Wiki :


  • Customization was simple and Zoho Wiki was flexible enough to incorporate their ideas.

  • They could easily create and manage groups, users across various schools, classes, teachers and parents.

  • Advanced Permission settings helped in defining who should view the page, who should edit the page, etc.

  • No complex software knowledge was needed to create the webpages. Inbuilt WYSIWYG Editor in Zoho Wiki made the job easier.


    Could completely do away with training.

  • Bouquet of other Zoho Services like Zoho Creator could be seamlessly integrated and a wholesome useful application could be presented to parents & teachers. Using Zoho Creator, they were able to make a dynamic PTO bulletin board and Neighbor-to-Neighbor help service.

Customer Corner:

 

webmaster


“Before switching to Zoho Wiki, Niskayuna PTO used SharePoint for four years. Training and back-end customization became a nettlesome issue that got in the way of the PTO’s overall goals.






Now with Zoho Wiki, training is not required to customize the website and the use of Zoho Creator is much simpler than using a desktop application like SharePoint Designer


.


I would recommend Zoho Wiki to all educators who want to put up their own websites, share and collaborate online.










-


John M. Whitney, Webmaster for NiskyPTO.org




  



http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnwhitney

To all educators out there, try our free version of Zoho Wiki. Set up interactive school websites and collaborate with teachers & parents; build online classrooms and creatively engage your students.

Cheers,

Susan

www.zoho.com/wiki