Loraine Lawson spoke with David Lavenda, vice president of marketing at Mainsoft, about the business case for integrating corporate e-mail with SharePoint.
Facebook's Mark Zucherman may think corporate e-mail is an old "too formal" fuddy duddy, but in enterprises today, it remains one of the most popular tools for collaboration-but that's not always a good thing, particularly when companies have investments in tools such as SharePoint. David Lavenda, vice president of marketing at Mainsoft, explains to IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson the business case for integrating corporate e-mail with SharePoint.
Lawson: In November, Mainsoft will release a new enterprise product called Harmon.ie, and it's aimed at people who use e-mail as a collaborative work space, is that correct?
Lavenda: Well, it's not targeted for people who specifically use e-mail as a collaborative space; it's targeted for people who use e-mail period. The idea is that when companies try to adopt SharePoint, one of the challenges they have is getting people to change their user behavior, because now you have to learn a new application, a new interface and do different things in order to be able to use that product.
"... one of the challenges ... is getting people to change their user behavior, because now you have to learn a new application, a new interface and do different things in order to be able to use that product."
The concept of Harmon.ie is that you continue to use e-mail like you always did-you send attachments like you always did, but we intercept the attachments and upload those to SharePoint, thereby getting people to use SharePoint transparently without having to learn something new.
Lawson: So what would be the point of that? I mean, they're still working through the e-mail, right?
Lavenda: The business side of this is many fold. For the individual user, when you send an e-mail to 10 people with a document, you're going to get 10 copies back with different comments that you then have to fix and reconcile. If you use this approach, you send out that same document, what people get is actually a link to a document in SharePoint. They all make their comments on the same copy of the document and you get back basically one copy of the document.
Once you use the product, there's other elements that obviously can enhance the collaboration idea, but in terms of the basic use of the product, people continue to work in e-mail and send documents like they always did, but the documents do not reside on the e-mail server. They get uploaded to SharePoint and become part of the shared workspace that the company is trying to achieve.