5 Reasons We DON’T Recommend Storing Attachments in Zoho CRM

Storing Attachments on the cloud

As a long standing Zoho Guru and Certified Consultant I have started receiving calls from companies who have been on Zoho for a few years who have hit their file storage limit on Zoho CRM. Zoho allows 1Gb per organisation and additionally between 512Kb or 1 Gb per user depending upon the version you are subscribed to. Additional storage can be purchased at $4per month per 5Gb which is very pricey by industry storage standards.

I never recommend using the Zoho CRM Document library module or Attachments area of any given record type within CRM for a multitude of reasons – none of which are cost orientated – the cost to me is a secondary factor.

So why don’t I encourage Zoho CRM users to use it?

A summary of my thought process is below – feel free to put across your view and if you want more information or a deeper level conversation do get in touch.

1. Duplication:

Saving an attachment to a CRM record creates a copy of the document in the CRM – if you edit the original that means you have to re-upload the new version. This means extra manual effort plus remembering to update the copy in the CRM. I discourage ALL duplication of effort as a CRM consultant so this is a no no in my book.

2. The only way you can get at your Attachments / Document Library is via CRM.

A double edge sword this one. In practice this means security is great – no unauthorised access. In practice it means you can’t simply attach a document from the library to an email – you have to use the CRM mail client, nor can you share the document to a non CRM user, you have to email a copy.

3. You can’t turn off the download option.

Downloads of copies of documents are not audit trailed – so you can’t tell if a user who is intending on leaving your organisation is making copies of potentially sensitive information. This behaviour can be prevented using IP address locking – but that is painful to manage and a nuisance in a BYOD world where the whole point of cloud is you can access your information from anywhere.

4. There is no way of easily archiving or deleting obsolete documents.

At some point most documents will have a date or period of time beyond which they are unlikely to be of relevance – for example there is no reason to keep invoices over 6 years old. Do you really need to keep that letter you sent to the client or an old version of a contract that expired two years ago ? If you want to delete obsolete documents held as attachments in Zoho CRM you need to visit every record and do it manually – enough said!

5. It is not possible to save an attachment from an email directly to either the CRM Documents module or as an attachment to a record.

It’s a two step process – save it to your local hard disk and then upload.

So the question becomes what are the alternatives?

These are myriad and will depend on your organisational IT environment and preferences…

1. Dropbox Extension:

If you are a Dropbox user there is a fantastic free of charge extension developed by Zoho that allows you to see all the documents from a given dropbox folder under a lead/contact/account/potential.

2. Onedrive:

A2ZCloud are in the throes of developing the above functionality for Onedrive – ETA end of August 2016 contact us for details and beta versions.

3. ZohoDOCS:

You can create a URL field in the CRM to link to a shared folder or you could use the quick links function from the left hand pane of CRM. It is not as slick as we would like but it does work.

4. Googledrive/iCloud drive etc:

Any of these could be used using the same approach as 3 above. And I am confident that a Google extension will be forthcoming shortly.

5. Use webhooks or the API:

To link to your organisation document library tool such as Sharepoint.

All of these approaches will address the issues I have raised. If you would like to discuss your specific requirements please do get in touch using the form below:

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