Zoho Discussions

You may not have heard of Zoho, but they are one of the leading providers of cloud-based applications on the web. If you are looking for an alternative to the likes of Google Docs, you might not go too far wrong with Zoho.

They have just released a new service, called Discussions which allows you to run internal or external discussion forums, and includes loads of functionality like rating posts, creating idea style forums – a bit like UserVoice or IdeaScale – and a bunch of other stuff.

Well worth looking into, and this video explains more:

Zoho’s CRM

Zoho CRM

I have been looking for a cheap, quick to implement and eay to use CRM (customer relationship management) system to use while a long term solution is identified. This led me to have a play with Zoho’s offering, which is a real gem. Not only is it pretty fully featured, but there is also the ability to customise fields, and add your own. This is invaluable as the service is pretty heavily sales-focused.

Add to this that the system is free for the first 3 users, and only $12 (about £6) a month for any additional users, it’s a real bargain.

Another option within this space is 37 Signals’ Highrise, which isn’t as fully featured as the Zoho effort.

There are downsides of course – I’m not sure, for example, what the data protection issues are for holding large amounts of other people’s personal data online are, especially for a public body. But in terms of features, ease of use, customisability and price, this is a real winner.