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December 15, 2011
Zoho, the enterprise cloud productivity provider, had some downtime recently across its Zoho Mail, Books and Support SaaS products. But according to Zoho it’s all fixed, and — guess what — Zoho CRM has received a major update, bringing a new UI, a new “Pulse” module, integration with both LinkedIn and Zoho Creator, and WebHook, designed to make it easier to integrate the solution with external services.
First, a quick overview of the Zoho service disruption, which lasted approximately three hours. The official blog entries tell the tale: At around 9 a.m. Pacific on Dec. 14, 2011, Zoho users started experiencing problems with Mail, Books and Support, as well as intermittent issues with the rest of the suite. By noon Pacific, services were back up and running; a second blog entry from Zoho revealed its internal investigation found a DNS error that spiraled out of control.
“We know this is not what our customers and users expect from Zoho. We let you down today. Please accept our humble apologies,” read Zoho’s explanatory blog entry, in part.
Regardless, that was then and this is now, and Zoho CRM’s sweeping update brings the following new features, as per the official release:
A new user interface, with the goal of improving productivity by making common tasks easier to access.
The brand new “Pulse” module, which enables users to “follow” a particular deal, account or contract just as you might a user on Twitter — spoonfeeding you updates on its progress as it goes.
LinkedIn integration to connect a user’s Zoho CRM entry with their LinkedIn profile, including the ability to send InMail through Zoho CRM.
Zoho Creator integration, to enable users to roll custom applications that appear within Zoho CRM. Just use Zoho Creator’s drag-and-drop interface and users have an app that’s guaranteed to work.
WebHook, a system for notifying external systems about a change in Zoho CRM by way of GET/POST requests.
And as a final added bonus, Zoho CRM now supports bi-directional sync with Google Calendar.
Clearly, Zoho is hoping revamping its CRM offering so thoroughly will give it an extra edge against competitor Salesforce.com. But the cloud CRM market is heating up, with even Oracle getting in the game. We’ll be watching this market closely, so stay tuned.
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