With rumors around the web multiplying that Office 365 may be released officially sometime at the beginning of June, the number of applications in beta with Office 365 is growing. A number of them were on display at the AIIM/Info360 conference, including one from Colligo (news, site), which is testing its integration with Office 365 in a private beta version.
Colligo provides client-based email and document management and has spent a lot of time making itself useful around SharePoint and SharePoint environments, so it is logical that they should have announced this, given that one of the major elements of Office 365 will be SharePoint Online.
To be more precise, it is Colligo Contributor that will be integrated with Office 365, which probably won’t create too many problems for it, as it has already spent a lot of time developing integrations for some of the components that make up Office 365.
Colligo, Email Management
To recap, Office 365 consists of Microsoft’s web-based Office services, including SharePoint, Exchange and Lync (formerly Communications Server), as well as a subscription version of Office that it hopes will bolster Office Web Apps.
But it is really the SharePoint element where Colligo has been busy. When it released Colligo 4.1 last year, it added a number of capabilities that would extend SharePoint as an ECM, including capabilities related to viewing and updating SharePoint lists and libraries, document checking/checkout and editing of metadata.
More recently it partnered with GimmalSoft, which was looking for email management as part of its push for DoD 5015.2 certification. In this case, Colligo was offering email management for GimmalSoft’s Compliance Suite.
And there are other Colligo appearances in other partnerships. In all cases, though, its forte has been email management.
To Office365 it is offering the Colligo Contributor suite, which drives SharePoint adoption by enabling users to more easily gain access to, capture, and tag SharePoint content from desktop applications, including Microsoft Outlook and Windows Explorer.
Its functionality will be much the same as it is with SharePoint already, except that this time it will be SharePoint in the cloud.
With it, employees will be able to create, view, modify SharePoint documents, forms, lists and metadata -- online and offline -- as well as use Colligo’s drag-and-drop functionality for email and email attachments that will enable them to drag-and-drop files into the cloud.
In fact, so seamless is the integration between Office 365 and Contributor that Colligo says users won’t know they’ve pulled a file into the cloud as both the on-premise and cloud versions perform the same.
It is hardly surprising, then, that it was the drag-and-drop abilities that featured prominently at their public demonstration at Info360.
Contributor provides a seamless experience, so you won't have to retrain your users when you migrate to SharePoint Online. With Contributor, they can drag-and-drop content to the cloud, without knowing that it's in the cloud,” Nishan DeSilva, Director of Information Management & Compliance, Microsoft said.
In short, Contributor allows content to be retrieved from Outlook or Windows Explorer the same way, whether the content resides on-premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment.
The SMB Market?
Of course there is also another small, but nonetheless important consideration here. One of the targets of Office 365 is the underexploited SMB space.
When Office 365 was unveiled, the pricing that was listed suggested Microsoft was going after this space and was doing so by putting applications such as SharePoint 2010 in the hands of small business users.
For Colligo, this can’t be a bad thing, given that where Office 365 goes, it is likely that it will go as well, thus opening itself up to a clientele that has not been open to it in the past.
Colligo Contributor with support for Microsoft Office 365 is currently in private beta release, with general availability scheduled for early Q2 2011.