Zoho gives us full editorial independence and the only requirement they had was that the blog be hosted on the Zoho blog platform (which didn’t even exist a few weeks before we started) – I thought I’d write a post detailing my experience helping design and build this platform.
I’ve got to say first and foremost that I’m no geek – my perspective is very much that of a user, and the input I had and have towards the development of the service is very much couched in those terms. I’ve also never been involved in the build out of a technology offering (actually I’m concurrently involved in another technology build out but that’s another story) and so the experience was fantastic for me – both experientially and also as a skills/portfolio building exercise.
I have to say there have been some frustrations – we’re trying to build a product here that will be better (for a particular use case) than anything else out there – that meant starting from scratch which I’ll admit was frustration – there were times I despaired, thinking how easy it would be to just use an existing blogging engine.
It was also an interesting logistical exercise. We had input from the editorial team in the USA and New Zealand, and development itself was done out of Zoho’s Indian centre – lots of late night Skype sessions and broken threads were the order of the day!
I’ve just been in India for a week working on some products with Zoho, one of which is the blogging platform – we’ve created a high level roadmap for the future features we’re looking to build into it – both for CloudAve itself, but more generally as a valuable offering for existing and future Zoho customers.
So what’s to come? Well without giving too much away we have a vision that a blog engine is more than just about blogging – rather it’s just one vehicle in the arsenal of tools that a business uses to connect, communicate and collaborate with it’s stakeholders – to this end expect to see a lot more integration with other tools helping these aims, as well as the enablement of a more holistic view of conversational activity.
All in all it’s been a really fun experience – stressful at times but a real insight into the way software development in general works, and in particular software development utilising geographically diverse teams and with a very knife edge, iterative build out pattern.
Keep watching for more!