I had heard much about Zoho, but hadn't had much more than a rather unsatisfying dabble with Show, so now was a chance for a bit of a deep dive.
1) Zoho CRM
First up was engineer Takumi Yasuda, presenting on Zoho CRM. This module is part of Zoho's business play, and seems very well featured, with a lot of the bells and whistles you'd expect to track sales and marketing activities with customers. The first three users are free, them 1800yen per month per user after that.
2) Zoho Project
Next was Akiyoshi Matsumoto showing off Zoho Projects. Again part of Zoho's business push, this seems to be again a well featured online tool for tracking project status and artifacts. First hit's for free ... here is the pricing schedule at time or writing:
3) Zoho Case Studies
Paul Kiyoshito NakaGome is an IT consultant who was spurred into Web2.0 and cloud based services when a hard drive on a notebook of his failed, costing him valuable files. He gave his own experience of Zoho as case studies.
He showed how he used it to coordinate activities and bookkeeping for a church he is involved with, as well as plan and market events - using Show to create the floor-plan for a bazaar, and integrating with Microsoft Office to do mailouts. He also uses it in his consulting to generate BI reports, and embed them in iGoogle.
4) Zoho Create
Mami Shimizu gave the last demo with Zoho Create - a drag and drop application builder for semi-technical people to create simple applications. She whipped up a form to collect post-event feedback in no time at all. Nice demo, but I wonder how far you can take an app built though such tools. The APIs should allow some interesting extensions though...
5) Zoho APIs
There was also mention of the Zoho APIs, and some implementations of them such as StartForce - a webtop that leverages the Remote API to deliver an explorer from where you can launch Zoho apps.
= Remote API : Use Zoho's features, but store the data elsewhere.
= Storage API : Manipulate data stored on Zoho servers
While still a wee way from the menu maze of Microsoft, Zoho keeps deepening their feature set and adding cool stuff such as Skype integration for Meeting, iZoho - Zoho for iPhone, Firefox plug-ins, steak knives, and more... Show 2.0 has been released, and it looks a lot better than what I originally used.
After the programme finished drinks and food were provided and there was question time and a slide show of images from Chenai where Zoho is developed.
It was an informative and enjoyable evening ... thank you AdventNet, and keep up the great work!