Enterprise workflow integration specialist harmon.ie is releasing Connect for SharePoint, a collaboration tool designed to create a single, unified user experience that crosses not only multiple devices but also the Microsoft and Apple platforms.
A Window on the Virtual and Mobile World
Connect for SharePoint allows document and social information from disparate sources and operating systems to appear in one window with a consistent user experience on both mobile and fixed devices. Changes immediately become visible across all connected platforms and devices, without any special setup or configuration.
For mobile users, harmon.ie says Connect for SharePoint makes the iPad “enterprise ready” to enable secure document creation and sharing directly from the iPad platform. The solution also supports mobile device management (MDM) for mobile distribution and provisioning.
Harmon.ie Follows Gartner’s Advice, Targets BYOD Users
In May 2012, harmon.ie made the list of “Cool Vendors in Social Software and Collaboration” compiled by Gartner. Harmon.ie received kudos for addressing the "hurdle" of collaborating without having to leave email, but Gartner warned that the company must expand beyond the narrow range of email and document collaboration tools it currently integrates.
Right around the time that report was released, harmon.ie was already starting to heed Gartner’s recommendation by debuting a new mobile SharePoint iPad app which provides iPad users with the social interaction and document collaboration power of SharePoint, but also adds the ability to share items via links instead of email attachments.
Harmon.ie is continuing to follow Gartner’s advice with Connect for SharePoint, which greatly increases the ability for employees to collaborate without worrying about device or OS specifications. The solution seems especially aimed at the constantly growing number of BYOD users who leverage an array of disparate personal devices from numerous vendors — running on both Microsoft and Apple operating systems — in their jobs. Allowing BYOD users to easily collaborate and share documents and information solves one key problem of BYOD, though others — such as security — remain.
‘SharePointWendy’ Gives Thumbs Up
SharePoint blogger Wendy Neal (“SharePointWendy”) gives Connect for SharePoint a positive review. “(W)hen users are out of the office or away from their desks, they can still enjoy the same consistent user experience, and any changes they make to documents or interactions with colleagues are automatically synchronized across all devices and platforms,” states Neal. She also verifies that changes made on one platform or device will immediately be visible on the others and says the “iPad and iPhone versions look very similar to, and provide the same functionality, as the harmon.ie sidebar in Outlook, thus promoting consistency and familiarity across platforms and devices.”
Neal does mention one downside. Users of iOS devices “need to have some kind of app installed that allows you to modify Office documents.” She says harmon.ie expects to natively support Windows and Android platforms in 2013.
Harmon.ie Connect is available from the App Store or as an MDM package download. Stand-alone versions of harmon.ie are available for free via a mobile app available on iTunes and a desktop app from harmon.ie.