I mentioned how we found, well more stumbled upon ZOHO CRM in this post.  At the time it seemed too cheap to be considered.  How can anything that costs so much less than the competition be considered a quality product?

I was wrong.  Speaking as a professional with 10 + years direct experience in the software industry I can honestly say that ZOHO CRM is some of the best Web 2.0/Cloud Based/SaaS/AJAX/whatever you want to call it software that I have ever used.

I am somewhat of a student of software development as it is preached by my personal software guru, Joel Spolsky.  I think I have read every word he has written at least twice.  I tell anyone who is considering the software business to read Joel and always ask the question “what would Joel do?” before making any important development decisions.

One of his most clever ways of finding out how well a software company can function is the Joel Test, 12 Steps to Better Code.  When D-Tools first started we were about 0 for 12.  Over the years we improved our score to about 2 for 12 and in the last four years I have everything in my power to get us to 11 out of 12.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that most companies large and small run about the 5 out of 12.

My point is that the ZOHO development team must have started at 12 for 12 and then proceed to blow the Joel Test out of the water.  The entire app is so clean and well thought out that it looks like it came from the mind of a single developer (impossible) or from an extremely talented and well coordinated team that work in perfect synchronization.  Have you ever seen how bees construct their hive on the Discovery Channel?  I think that is how these guys build software.  It must be (bee) in their DNA.

I have been working with CRM systems in one form or another since the mid 80’s, read this for some background and have implemented ACT, NetSuite, Oasis and ZOHO for D-Tools as well as SalesForce for a non-profit.  I am kind of jaded about CRM in general and I am happy when things just work as promised, not always the case, see related post on Oasis CRM and anything I have to say about NetSuite.

When I implemented ZOHO CRM a few months ago for D-Tools I was actually shocked at the functionality I found as I was going through the process.  More than one time I would invite a co-worker into my office to show them a function I implemented in half an hour that was either impossible in any of the previous systems or so hard to use that it may as well have been.

The following posts over the next few weeks will be some the things that impressed me and work well in ZOHO CRM.