For those of you unfamiliar with popular forum lingo, FTW stands for ‘for teh win’, essentially meaning victory, greatness or any other form of celebration.
This post is celebrating the wonder that is Zoho. Zoho is an “office productivity suite” from AdventNet that let’s you do word processing, fill out spreadsheets, track customers, write invoices and more, all from the comfort of your own browser.
The best part about Zoho, and many other similar products available on the web, is that they are all available for free or very little money. For the college student that is strapped for cash or the struggling business owner that can’t afford the latest version of Microsoft Office, Zoho is a solution that can work.
My first interaction with Zoho began several months ago when I was introduced to their CRM product. I found Zoho in a roundabout way while Googling for “free CRM solution”. I looked at and tried a few different products, but an ad for Zoho finally drew me away from my search results.
After reading through the details on Zoho CRM and realizing that I (plus two other users) could use the full functionality of the program for free, I was intrigued and ready to get started. From an application standpoint, Zoho CRM mirrors Salesforce very closely. I use Salesforce at work so the Zoho controls and settings were fairly intuitive.
I began loading contacts and accounts for the automotive community that I manage and was publishing invoices for community merchandise with a few hours. It was that easy.
Recently, after growing so fond of Zoho CRM, I decided it was time to branch out to another one of their offerings that would solve another problem I was having: project management. In comes Zoho Projects to save the day!
Zoho Projects let’s you manage one project for free, so I loaded up my first Dosovo client project and started working through the project details. I could create task lists and milestones, upload and create documents (via Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheet), track my time via timesheets and give clients access to the process to see things moving along.
Things worked so smoothly for the first project, I ponied up $8 and upgraded to the next subscription level (allowing me to track more projects at once) and added two other projects with similar tasks, goals and timesheets.
After I had all of my projects loaded and hours locked and loaded, then it was time for billing. That’s where Zoho succeeds again, because Zoho Projects ties right into Zoho Invoice. Invoice let’s you drive invoicing efforts directly from your project files or you can input items manually.
Last night I set up options for automated billing messages, filled in my company details, added PayPal payment option information and generated my first invoice. I shipped it off via email in an instant and never had to leave my office chair.
The few applications I’ve described above represent only a fraction of the tools available. If you’re looking for a cost effective, efficient, access-from-anywhere online office suite, be sure to give Zoho a try and tell them I sent you. ;)