Harmon.ie 3.0 Adds Social Tools, Consolidating Tasks to Email

With the platform, businesses can share documents, track document updates, connect with colleagues and check their real-time status.

Social email software provider Harmon.ie announced Harmon.ie for SharePoint 3.0, a platform that aggregates collaboration tools and social enterprise networks into a sidebar within Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. Designed to remove barriers to user adoption of Microsoft SharePoint as well as to bring a social component to document creation, harmon.ie enables users to collaborate with colleagues and external contacts without leaving the email interface where they spend their workday. Related tasks can be also be completed from the same window, eliminating the need to switch applications.

With Harmon.ie for SharePoint 3.0, business users can share documents and track document updates, connect with colleagues and check their real-time status, initiate phone/chat/video/email communications, build their enterprise social graph and more-all from within email. The company said this strategy of connecting people and documents via "social documents" eliminates the navigation that can discourage widespread use of collaboration tools.

"Enterprises recognize that the way we work today hampers efficient document authoring and editing, and therefore overall business agility. Business users working on a contract should be able to check the status of a document draft, initiate a phone call or chat with the person editing the document from one window," said Yaacov Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Harmon.ie. "harmon.ie 3.0 brings all of these processes into the email interface for improved efficiency and team interaction."

New features accessible through this view include an activity stream providing both document and people status updates, marking the first time that a multithreaded activity stream format has been incorporated into email and 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.

Other features include one-click phone, chat, video conference and/or email connectivity to colleagues from the activity stream, including support for Microsoft Lync/OCS, Lotus Sametime and Cisco UC, which eliminates the need to change windows to initiate communications, and a "suggested colleagues" feature that helps users expand their enterprise social graph by recommending additional connections based on their contact history, including email, chat and document co-editing.

One recent industry survey found that distractions waste at least one hour a day or $10,375 per person annually, costing more than $10 million per year for businesses with 1,000 employees. The same distractions were also shown to negatively affect work output, work quality and client relationships. In addition, according to Forrester Research, only 8 percent of end-users working in companies that have implemented enterprise social networks use those social software tools. These user-adoption gaps stem largely from the multiple steps and window navigation involved in completing tasks.

"With Harmon.ie bridging the gap between email and SharePoint, Continental is enabling seamless document collaboration that is critical to help us break the cycle of 'knowledge monopolies' and leverage the collective intelligence of all 80,000 information workers," said Juergen Hagg, head of the department for global applications and solutions at Continental AG, an automotive supplier that is rolling Harmon.ie out to 80,000 users.