Zoho_logo_2009.jpgThis post comes straight to you from collaboration corner, where Zoho (news, site) and Microsoft SharePoint are sitting together like two peas in pod. 

Aiming to bridge the gap between popular productivity applications and traditional, in-house office solutions, the pair recently announced a new plug-in that lets Zoho Office users work with Zoho online collaborative productivity applications to create, view, and edit files stored in Microsoft SharePoint.

Everybody’s All Together Now

Zoho is popular, SharePoint is popular; it makes sense for the two to work hand in hand.

Minus all the skipping through the flowery fields of friendship, what it means for the enterprise is that users can temporarily drop Microsoft SharePoint-stored documents into Zoho. The idea behind that is, of course, being able to take full advantage of Zoho’s collaboration capabilities, even if the documents being worked with originated in SharePoint.

If you’re familiar with all that Zoho has to offer, this is exciting news.

“Zoho Office for Microsoft SharePoint brings the collaborative advantages of Zoho productivity applications to Microsoft SharePoint users,” said Raju Vegesna, Zoho evangelist. “We noticed that some businesses like the collaboration capabilities of online productivity applications, but they prefer to keep their data behind their firewall. With Zoho Office for Microsoft SharePoint, we are offering the best of both worlds — collaborative productivity apps integrated with Microsoft SharePoint behind the corporate firewall.”


Work It

The process is pretty simple. After installing the application, when a user clicks on a file in Microsoft SharePoint, the options presented will include “Edit” and “View” in Zoho Editor. The Edit option opens the file for editing in a Zoho editor within Microsoft SharePoint — either Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, or Zoho Show, depending on the file selected. The View option opens the file for viewing in appropriate Zoho applications within Microsoft SharePoint.

Zoho fans? We trust you know how to take it from there.

Secure It

Even though documents are obviously taken out the safe and sound environment that is the corporate firewall, Zoho claims it doesn’t permanently store user data. Supposedly, when a document is opened in SharePoint, a copy of it is transferred with 256-bit encryption to Zoho servers for viewing and editing. Zoho says the data is completely deleted from the servers when the document closes.

Zoho insists that Microsoft SharePoint permissions are also given the star treatment in order to prevent users from sharing a document from the Zoho Web interface with users who don't have access to the document in Microsoft SharePoint.

Additionally, if you still want to tinker with the document after it’s been run through the Zoho system, worry not. All documents get saved in the original format they were created.

Get It

Craving another steaming bowl full of delicious Web collaboration ? We don’t blame you, and neither does Vegesna:

"Collaboration is one of the key aspects for online productivity applications, so we don't just call ours ‘Productivity Applications.’ We call them ‘Collaborative Productivity Applications,’” he said.

The Collaborative Productivity Application is available now for Microsoft SharePoint 2007 and 2003. Annual subscriptions are $24, and monthly subscriptions a measly $3. OR, if you just want a short dip in the pool, a 30-day free trial is available here