Groove Networks Inc. this fall will make available a new tool set to connect its peer-to-peer collaboration platform with Microsoft Corp.s SharePoint Team Services collaboration software.
The SharePoint Team Services/Groove Workspace integration kit will enable team members in different companies to share files and discussion threads and manage projects while pulling data from a SharePoint Team Services knowledge repository.
This, in effect, extends the Microsoft product beyond the firewall so that companies can work with customers and partners in a secure, data-encrypted environment. It will also allow workers using information on a SharePoint Team Services Web site to continue using the data offline.
Once they reconnect, the Groove software will synchronize the changed data with the Team Services Web site, according to officials at Groove, in Beverly, Mass., and Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.
HP Services, of Palo Alto, Calif., saw the need to link a distributed, P2P collaboration application with one that provides centralized collaboration behind the firewall, such as SharePoint Team Services, said HP Services Chief Knowledge Officer Craig Samuel.
"We have the last-mile problem on the telco front, where we have lots of broadband but ... have to get it to the desktop; for me, on the collaboration side of things, Groove can solve the last-mile problem in terms of knowledge workers collaborating," Samuel said. "It lets me [connect] customers, suppliers ... and people not associated with our internal networks."
HP Services is already working to design an architecture in which teams come together in Groove Workspace and generate new knowledge, which could then be synced to SharePoint Team Services.
"Groove is not suited for thousands of people looking for something, but it is good for a couple dozen. It is the place where new knowledge is generated," Samuel said.
Officials at Groove and Microsoft said they will explore extending the tool kit to other Microsoft software. A likely candidate is Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server, which is a data repository with more sophisticated document management capabilities than Team Services.