The Zoho Office Suite is an online office suite that includes tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, wikis, customer relationship management, project management, invoicing, and other applications. Being web-native, all Zoho applications are independent of an operating system.25
Zoho has the ability to manipulate files created in other widely distributed office suites. Zoho can also read and edit Microsoft Office and OpenOffice files, amongst others. The programs in the suite can be used individually but offer additional integration benefits when used together. The data, or document files, can be saved on Zoho's servers as well as those of several integration partners. Some of the partners include Box.net or Omnidrive, which allows synchronization back to local PC.25
Zoho is used by individuals at home, as well as in a business and education setting. What makes Zoho a useful tool is that the individual at home can access their data in Zoho at their business or school! This is possible because Zoho is based on the internet. Individuals around the world use Zoho in connection with other individuals around the world.25
">I.1 How Does Zoho Work?
Zoho is essentially a free Microsoft Office at your fingertips. Like Microsoft Office, which has PowerPoint and Word, Zoho has many applications. Although some applications, (Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects) have Pro features available for a fee, Zoho has stated a commitment to maintaining a free tier of entry-level applications. A single registration grants access to all the Zoho products. Zoho is also available to users with Google or Yahoo accounts.25, 33, 34
However, in regards to those applications that are only available for a fee the fees are quite reasonable and the applications themselves are definitely worth it. Some examples of these fees are:
Professional Edition- $12/user/month
Enterprise Edition- $25/user/month
3 user pack- $15/month
5 user pack- $25/month
10 user pack- $45/month
25 user pack- $100/month
50 user pack- $175/month
$50/user/year OR $5/user/month
250,000 rows and 2 users- $15/month
500,000 rows and 5 users- $35/month
1 million rows and 10 users- $60/month
2 million rows and 20 users- $95/month
monthly subscription and $12/ additional recruitor
Business Edition- $8/user/month and 1 GB storage/user
Professional Edition- $3/month for 5 GB storage
Business Edition- $9/month for 15 GB storage
Zoho Office for Microsoft SharePoint:
Monthly Subscription- $3/user
Annual Subscription- $24/user
Starts at $19 / Month
Goes up to $850 / Month for 1000 employees
See http://www.zoho.com/pricing.html for more information and pricing
I.2 Getting More Out of Zoho
Zoho has opened the application programming interface (API) for six of its products: Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, Zoho Creator, Zoho Meeting, and Zoho Planner. This has enabled third parties to create programs that use the Zoho services. Zoho itself has created a plugin to integrate Zoho into Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as a browser plugin that can open text documents or spreadsheets without having word processing or spreadsheet applications installed. It has also created a desktop widget that allows users to run Zoho products on their desktops in similar ways to traditional office programs. In connection with the introduction of the iPhone, Zoho released a mobile version of Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho Show called iZoho. This is available at iZoho.com. Zoho also made its applications available on Facebook after the social networking website opened its application processing interface.25
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I.3 Applications of Zoho
Zoho Business is an email hosting and document management system that can be utilized from the internet. Unlike most of the Zoho applications, this one is not free.22
With Zoho Creator, one could make business applications, such as data reports and management.1
Zoho Customer Relationship Management
With Zoho Customer Relationship Management (CRM), companies can organize their customer databases to track patterns and improve sales.2
This application is essentially an online discussion community that businesses can create and privately or publicly use. With Zoho Discussions, topics of interes can be discussed or problems within the business can be solved. Unlike most of the Zoho applications that are free, this one is not.21
This application of Zoho allows people to upload databases or create databases to share with others.3
Zoho Invoice makes it simple and easy to send invoices and bills to anyone in the world.4
This application is an online database of applications that ca be used for businesses, education, or personal uses. It is essentially an online store of applications with descriptions and examples of how to use them.23
Zoho Meeting allows for sharing one's desktop online to all participants in the meeting.5
With Zoho People, one can manage and organize a business. For example, compiling an employee database with information and details about employees is one task available with Zoho People. With the employee's contact information in the database, one could send notifications automatically to the various employees.6
Zoho Projects is an easy way to organize a team's project and all of the aspects of it. For example, there are sections such as task assignments, document sharing, a calendar for events, and time tracking. Unlike many Zoho applications, this one is not free.7
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ii. Productivity and Collaboration
Zoho Chat is basically Facebook chat and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) combined. One can chat in groups or have many individual chats, simliar to chatting on AIM.8
Zoho documents is relatively similar to Microsoft Office Word, but is easier to access because it is available through the internet. You can also share documents with others without having to use email.9
Zoho mail is a basic e-mail program that is comparative to Google Mail or Office Outlook.10
Zoho Notebook is an application that is similar to Notepad, but is offered through the internet.11
With Zoho Planner one can organize their day electronically rather than in a traditional paper planner.12
One could upload any file created through Microsoft Office to the internet using Zoho Share. You can chose to keep your file private or public, and when made public, others have the ability to view and make comments on all they see.13
Zoho Sheet is very similar to Microsoft Excel, but it allows anyone to make and share interactive spreadsheets without installing software.14
Zoho Show is a media rich presention tool that allows users to create presentations online. One could share their presentations with others, view public presentations, use chat to create and talk about the presentation, or import presentations from other presentation platforms.15
This application can be used to build and create a website. Some of its features include adding pictures and multi-media, and administrator controls.24
Zoho Writer is a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word, but with some additions. Multiple users can work on a single document at the same time and collaborate easily. They can also import any type of file into their document and publish it for public view.16
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Zoho 24x7 is an easy and fast way to keep up with the capabilities and performance of one's web sites. One can check these from anywhere in the world and can also keep track of multiple step web sites as well as online business transactions. One will also be instantly alerted for any time the website is down or not working properly. There are also reports that can be viewed as well as trends that occur within the website.17
Zoho Challenge is an application within Zoho in which assessments can be created. This application is perfect for an education setting in order to test students. It could also be used in a business setting for an employer to evaluate employees.18
Zoho Polls is a place where users can create polls or answer any polls already created. When one goes into a poll question, the results will be posted on the right side of the screen so one can see how the results of the poll are moving. When creating a poll, one can choose a rating poll or a voting poll. A rating poll is rating with stars and a voting poll is clicking on an available answer.19
Zoho Viewer allows the user to browse their personal files and post them online for others to view. One can also set an expiration date on the post for a specific amount of time.20
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II. How Does Zoho Relate to Other Applications?
II.1 Comparison to Competitors
Zoho and its applications are most comparable to the Microsoft Office program. What sets Zoho ahead of this program is that the majority of its applications are free and easily accessible through the internet. Although some of its applications do cost money, overall, Zoho costs less. It also has some features that Microsoft Office doesn't have, such as sharing through the internet.
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II.2 Unique Uses
One of Zoho's unique uses is that it can be used with other technologies that act as plugins.
This plugin allows users to sync the work done on a smaller version of zoho (including mail, calender, and writer) to their iPhone.27,32
Like the iPhone plugin, it allows users to sync the work done on zoho to sync to their mobile data device (mail, calender, and writer).31
Microsoft Office Plugin
This plugin allows users to work offline on word documents and spreadsheets with Zoho using Microsoft Word/Excel. These documents can be opened and saved in both Zoho Writer/Sheet/Share and Microsoft Word/Excel.29
This plugin allows users to customize thier browsing experience by downloading Firefox or IE.25
Microsoft Outlook CRM Plugin
This plugin allows users to sync their calenders, tasks, and business contacts to and from Zoho CRM and Microsoft Outlook.30
This plugin allows the user to upload zoho documents onto their facebook profiles. This is a great way to monitor those who have access to their work.26
III. Real World Application
III.1 Educational Lesson Plans
Zoho has many applications for the classroom. One of the main reasons to use Zoho for educational use is because it is free. Zoho is based from the internet, so you just need a computer, PC or Mac, that has internet access. Zoho is very compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint because it allows you to create in one program and edit in another.
i. Elementary Lesson Plans
(1) Creative Storybooks
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Writer to write a fictional short story. They will then print these stories and paste them into a blank book, in which they will illustrate and make into a storybook.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Writer by creating a fictional short story, and make a storybook with the short story and creative illustrations
Creative Storybooks (PDF)
Creative Storybooks (DOC)
(2) Body Systems (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Show to create a slideshow about a specific human body system. They will then use Zoho Projects to compile every student's project.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Show and Zoho Projects to create and compile their presentations.
Body Systems (PDF)
Body Systems (DOC)
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ii. Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) Invention Show (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Show to create a presentation about an invention that they believe has made a difference in our world, and they will also present the project to peers.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Show and create a presentation about an invention, and present the project to the peers in their class for evaluation
Invention Show (PDF)
Invention Show (DOC)
(2) Chat Pals
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Chat to communicate with students from a country outside of the United States of America.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Chat and then write about their conversations in a writing log.
Chat Pals (PDF)
Chat Pals (DOC)
(3) Science Presentations with Zoho Show
This lesson plan is designed to teach the students how to work on and with the Web 2.0 tool known as Zoho Show from the Zoho Office Suite collection. It also will help the students learn about major scientists and their contributions to and/or discoveries in the scientific world.
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iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) Marshmallows (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Share to communicate with other groups in the class to compare measurements of marshmallows and how many will fit in a bag for manufacturing.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Share and then write a lab report about their measurement findings.
(2) Author Wiki
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Wiki to create an online presentation of an American author that they have researched.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Wiki and then will compile their research findings to complete the website. Each student will then write a summary about their project and experience.
Author Wiki (PDF)
Author Wiki (DOC)
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(1) Building a Contact Information Database
In this lesson plan, employees of a company will use Zoho People to record their contact information in a company database. They will also send a mass email to the other employees in the company.
The employees will have to learn how to use Zoho People, learn their co-workers's names, and send a mass email to all of the employees using Zoho People.
Building a Contact Information Database (PDF)
Building a Contact Information Database (DOC)
IV. Demonstration of Educational Value
The applications within Zoho can be utilized by teachers and students alike to enhance working and learning. Zoho provides the ability for students to access word processing and slideshow programs for free, thus making writing papers and creating presentations easy for any student. The ability to access Zoho at any computer with an internet connection makes Zoho extremely reliable for students without Microsoft Word or other word processing programs. Educators can incorporate programs from Zoho into their lesson plans. To help with learning and communication, Zoho has the ability to make polls and view and share various documents. This is a very helpful and reliable tool for the classroom. The following are some specific examples of how Zoho can be used in the classroom.
Teachers can use Zoho to make review tests and the students can complete them online. These online tests offer easy grading to cut down on wasted time.
Zoho Challenge allows teachers to post exams, quizzes, and tests online. It allows for multiple choice questions that can go into great detail on a subject. The teacher can also put a time limit on the test, so that the student would be doing the test as if in a classroom setting. Difficulty levels are found automatically as well as answers being given immediately upon answering a question. The teacher can then check the student's details about the test that they just took as well as send an email to the student. Results from each exam, quiz, or test can be viewed in a graph for the teacher to compare students' progress with the course material. Wasting time in the classroom always seems to be an issue in schools, and using Zoho Challenge allows the teacher to cut down on wasted time with grading exams.18
Zoho Writer, Zoho Show, Zoho Sheet
Zoho Writer, Show, and Sheet allow teachers to leave documents online for students to review, print, or study. This can be very helpful when a teacher is absent or school is cancelled because it allows for contact with students. In addition, these documents are available to students 24 hours a day 7 days a week. These applications also allow multiple teachers to have their students collaborate on projects. The students can save their documents online and can be accessed by anyone in the group through the internet. These applications also enable students to work simultaneously on a project.14,15,16
V. How is Zoho Used Internationally?
Zoho web applications can be used in six different languages: Japanese, German, Chinese, Norwegian, and Swedish. There are several applications that can translate into 30 different languages, and soon all of the applications of Zoho will be available in more languages. The site can also be accessed by different users in different countries simultaneously. This makes it much easier for international communication and cooperation between users.28
The following are references that were used while compiling information about Zoho.
Zoho Office Suite Review Overview
Online Office Suite Zoho Gows Offline With Google Gears
Zoho's Facebook Integration Brings Office Apps To Social Networking...Sort Of
Understanding Zoho, The Company Taking On Google, MS
Zoho - Office 2.0
Google vs Zoho: Can Either Replace Microsoft
Zoho Receives a 2008 "Webware 100" Award for Productivity
Zoho Welcomes Prestige Home Automation as One Millionth User
Happily Bootstrapping: Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu (Part 1)
Zoho's Last Stand