Seems like it was only yesterday we were talking about IBM introducing a Quickr Content Integrator that will help move organizations away from SharePoint. Oh, right it was yesterday...
Today, we see that IBM may actually be wise enough to tackle the SharePoint challenge from both ends. Another IBM partner is helping to bridge the integration gap with SharePoint. The partner -- Mainsoft. The solution -- SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes. If you are one those organizations that has a mixed technology environment -- and you are not alone -- this solution will go a long way to help.
We've covered Mainsoft's product suite Mainsoft for WebSphere Portal in depth. The suite included Mainsoft SharePoint Federator for WebSphere Portal, a Visual Studio SDK that allows developers to easily incorporate SharePoint lists and document libraries into WebSphere Portal.
While they were solving the SharePoint-WebSphere integration issue, they also saw another business challenge. Organizations were struggling to easily share content from their SharePoint sites in Lotus Notes. Basically users had to open SharePoint, download a local copy of a document and then go through the traditional attachment process in their Lotus email client.
This was obviously not a seamless process and resulted in the continuing issue of email attachments and multiple versions of documents floating around. Mainsoft's SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes helps to eliminate these issues by expanding their SharePoint integration technologies in the Notes email client.
SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes
The SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes is an add-on tool for Lotus Notes 8. They have been able to extend this technology partly because Lotus Notes 8 is based on Eclipse and the Java platform.
Integrator Features include:
* The availability of a new sidebar in Notes that displays the contents of your SharePoint libraries and lists. You can then drag and drop any item from the sidebar into a Lotus Notes email, calendar entry or task. You can choose to drop a copy of the actual document or create a link to it instead.
View Office document library stored on SharePoint from the Notes sidebar; drag-and-drop a document into a Notes email
* The ability to open MS Office Documents stored in SharePoint, directly in Lotus Notes. This capability enables full SharePoint functionality such as check-in, check-out, access to version history and workflows without leaving the Notes interface.
* Users can also drag and drop documents to the sidebar and have them automatically added to SharePoint. This can also include adding emails to SharePoint (with or without attachments). Composite Applications in Notes Along with the functionality of the SharePoint sidebar, the Integrator also enables you to develop composite applications and workflow mashups that can include SharePoint data within the Lotus Notes environment. Composite applications allows users to use Notes as their entire desktop.
Integrate SharePoint data into workflow mash-ups
Integrated Security You may be wondering, like we were, about the whole security concern. Mainsoft has indicated that SharePoint security is maintained through the use of logon credentials and single sign-on capabilities.
Getting Out of the Inbox
CMSWire had an opportunity to speak with Yaacov Cohen, President and CEO of Mainsoft on this newest edition to the Mainsoft family of products. We asked Mr Cohen about the growth of SharePoint. He told that us SharePoint's popularity is driven by MS Office. He indicated that people want to "get out of the inbox" and that SharePoint is the way to do this. He did not feel that SharePoint was a sophisticated collaboration environment, but simply a means of storing documents and other types of content.
This is how Mainsoft looks at SharePoint. They are also seeing a resurgence in the use of Lotus Notes. With the changes in it's underlying technology, Notes is becoming a more aggressive and consistent product line. Bringing SharePoint data to Lotus Notes makes a user's life easier. Additional Updates Coming Mr Cohen told us about additional functionality coming with Lotus Notes 8.5. With the next version of Notes, the Integrator will also provide contacts integration. At this time, the Contacts Apps are not included in the Java applications for Notes. With the next version they will be on the Java platform and Mainsoft's SharePoint Integrator will be able to integrate contacts between the two products.
Picking up the SharePoint Integrator
You can download the SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes starting today from Mainsoft's website. It has out-of-box support for Notes 8. If you are interested in having this integration for older versions of Notes (5,6,7), you can contact Mainsoft and they strike a professional services agreement to have it built.