harmon.ie provides a cross-platform suite of enterprise collaboration products designed to boost user adoption of dominant enterprise collaboration tools. These include bringing central components of SharePoint into Outlook so people can collaborate on documents within their main flow of work. I covered hamon.ie earlier this year (see: harmon.ie Provides Social Email to Help Drive Enterprise Collaboration Adoption). Their new Notes edition now enables Lotus customers, many of whom have deployed SharePoint, to bring SharePoint functionality into the email environment for Notes users, without a costly migration to an all-Microsoft platform. For example, this cross-platform strategy enabled utility company American Water to integrate SharePoint and Notes rather than budget an additional $3 million to change its 7,000-user Notes implementation. Here is sample Notes screen that shows the harmon.ie documents pane, with presence for the latest SharePoint document modifier and document ratings visible within Lotus Notes.
I recently spoke with David Lavenda of harmon.ie to learn more about their latest moves. In addition to the Notes capability, harmon.ie has also integrated several instant messaging tools including: Lotus Sametime, Microsoft Link or OCS, and Cisco UC. These expanded capabilities allow harmon.ie to become an aggregation platform operating within the email environment, whether it is Outlook or Notes. You can now see an activity stream within the email client.
I think this both adds substantial efficiency and draws many more uses into the social software usage. This has been their experience. For example, the multi-national firm ABB more than doubled their SharePoint usage after implementing hamon.ie to further engagement. Prior to this, their employees had to log into 6 to 9 separate communication and social apps on their desktop. Now they can do much of the same work within the email client, where people spend most of their workday.
David showed me how it works, including some of the new functionality since we last talked. They have now added a people tab to go with their document tab in the right side bar that sits along with the email interface. This people tab allows you to see colleagues and what they are doing. It also suggests potential new colleagues based on several factors: who you email, who you connect with through other channels, and who you share documents with. You can add these new colleagues to existing groups or start new ones. Temporary groups is the main way work gets done now and harmon.ie makes it is easy to start and stop groups. Here is a sample screen showing the people tab.
Here are some of the other new capabilities in their latest version beyond suggesting colleagues, harmon.ie 3.0.
- An activity stream providing both document and people status updates, marking the first time that this information is available in a multi-threaded activity stream format.
- The ability to open documents as well as view detailed user profiles from the activity stream, allowing users to perform these tasks without leaving the email interface. This reduces context-switching distractions that decrease productivity and collaboration, as well as inhibiting SharePoint usage.
- One-click phone, chat, videoconference and/or email connectivity to colleagues from the activity stream, including support for Microsoft Lync/OCS, Lotus Sametime and Cisco UC, eliminating the need to change windows to initiate communications.
harmon.ie will be soon announcing plans to provide the ability to integrate Connections into Outlook and Notes. Like their SharePoint capability, this will allow a tighter integration of social business capabilities with email. I think that this approach of bringing new social capabilities to email, where people do most of their work, will greatly speed to adoption of social business. I know that I still sometimes use email with attachments as a collaboration platform, but if the social tools are inside email,then there will little need to resort to using old school attachments. harmon.ie has also seen this play out with numerous clients. They plan to continue to enhance this offering and I look forward to seeing what is next.