Mainsoft Integrator Links Lotus Notes, SharePoint

Mainsoft creates a SharePoint integration tool that lets users access Microsoft documents through IBM's Lotus Notes.

Through its vast business partner network, it's not hard for IBM's Lotus Software Group to gain some allies in its war versus Microsoft's formidable SharePoint Services collaboration software.

Mainsoft is one such. The company May 7 introduced SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes, a software add-on for IBM Lotus Notes 8 that creates a bridge between rival Lotus Notes and SharePoint platforms.

The tool, which users can download here for a free 30-day evaluation, lets users pull SharePoint content, including Word documents, Excel worksheets and PowerPoint presentations, from within Notes. Businesses that decide they can't live without it may purchase it for $12,500 per 100 users.

The SharePoint Integrator comes at a time when knowledge workers have created silos of information that are sealed off from one another. Businesses under contract for Lotus Notes are unlikely to rip and replace their existing Notes infrastructures to access SharePoint, and in some cases they would be prohibited by contract from doing so.

However, some large enterprises are using both Lotus Notes and SharePoint software, making it hard for different workgroups to share information created and stored in the different repositories. In other cases, employees use only SharePoint or Notes, but need to share content created in either platform with other enterprises.

Mainsoft is essentially cozying up to Notes users by letting Notes and SharePoint content coexist, Mainsoft CEO Yaacov Cohen told eWEEK.

"Customers are sick of all these migrations," Cohen said. "Customers are saying, 'Show me how I can leverage what I've already purchased.'"

Some features of the SharePoint Integrator, which Cohen demoed for eWEEK May 6, include the ability to drag and drop Word documents, Excel worksheets and PowerPoint presentations from a Notes sidebar into Lotus Notes e-mails, calendar appointments and task lists. This is extremely useful for Notes users who need to make SharePoint files actionable through Notes.

Because Integrator maintains connectivity with the SharePoint server, workers can open Microsoft Office documents stored on SharePoint without leaving the Notes user interface. Users can then check documents in or out and access version history and document workflows.

For users requiring a little more application creativity, Mainsoft's services professionals can help users add SharePoint content into workflow mashups with Java and .Net business applications.

For example, Cohen said business users will be able to access a customer list stored on a Windows SharePoint Services site, sort and filter this list by sales territory, plot the contacts on a Google map, and communicate the results to the enterprise CRM (customer relationship management) system from within Lotus Notes.

SharePoint Integrator comes on the heels of IBM's release May 2 of its own integration tool. While Mainsoft is preaching coexistence, IBM is looking to get data out of SharePoint for good with Lotus Quickr Content Integrator, which helps migrate data from SharePoint repositories and Exchange folders into Quickr team work spaces.