Colligo 4.0: Making SharePoint Experience More Enjoyable

With SharePoint 2010 quickly approaching, it is probably safe to say that interest in this Microsoft product-zilla is not likely to go away.

Companies like Colligo (news, site) take full advantage of market conditions and keep churning out products that (hopefully) make SharePoint experiences more enjoyable and productive. Please meet Colligo 4.0.

We spoke with Barry Jinks, founder and CEO of Colligo, to get more information on the new release of Colligo 4.0, as well as on the overall MOSS marketplace.

Introducing Colligo 4.0

Colligo version 4.0 offers two new interfaces that work on the same infrastructure setup, where the infrastructure mirrors SharePoint, yet the application sits on the client machine and can sync it up with SharePoint.

New functionalities in 4.0 include:

  • Manage Attachments in SharePoint: Included in Contributor Add-In and Contributor Pro, this feature allows users to upload email attachments to SharePoint and replace them with links.
  • Folder Drag-and-Drop: Included in all our Contributor products, this feature allows complete folder structures to be copied from a user’s desktop or between SharePoint document libraries with drag-and-drop ease.

New Products in Colligo 4.0

Colligo Contributor File Manager

In most SharePoint implementations and use cases, getting content in and out always seems to be the problem. However, most all of us know how to navigate My Documents and the C drive. The File Manager is what Jenkins calls the “SharePoint alternative to network file share.”

Contributor File Manager in a Windows Explorer extension that can warm up the hearts of many to SharePoint, as it allows to link folders on a user’s file system or network share with SharePoint document libraries.

Local folders become “SharePoint aware” -- online or offline -- so users can access advanced features such as metadata, content types and document templates, while adding and editing files using familiar desktop operations. Drag-and-drop is also part of the deal.

SharePoint folders can also be accessed from any application that uses the standard Windows File Open/Save dialog. The search function is greatly approved over the network share experience that doesn’t allow for content tagging.

Tagging can be automatic based on documents’ properties or auto-extracted e-mail properties.
Default metadata can be set on a folder level with inheritance of those properties.

In this scenario, SharePoint still remains to be the federated server, or central repository. It is just the user interface that is different and more network-share-like.

Colligo Contributor Uploader for Outlook

This tool continues the theme of a more intuitive and cost-effective way to upload content to SharePoint and browse document libraries and lists from the Microsoft Outlook interface. Users can drag-and-drop e-mails and attachments into document libraries and folders, while also capturing metadata.

Reflections on the SharePoint/Colligo Marketplace

According to Jinks, while customers now take longer to make purchasing decisions, they still turn to SharePoint (and Colligo) as a fairly mature product in the space. Colligo is a broad platform with over 1000 organizations using it, so Jinks doesn’t see this changing much going forward.

Being in this niche allows Colligo to be very much involved with MSFT on the technology and product side. It is quite clear that Microsoft cannot fill this niche on its own, and is more than happy to refer customers to Colligo.

While we didn’t discuss the impact of the imminent SharePoint 2010, it sounds like the market is not going to change much when this new version comes out, given the amount of investment already poured by organizations into the Microsoft product-zilla.

With SharePoint, there’s “a ton of support,” notes Jinks. MSFT is spending its engineering money on product development, and Colligo uses that platform to develop their own applications on top of it.

Given that Colligo is fairly successful, there’s clearly a need in the market that still needs to be addressed, when it comes to SharePoint usability, customization and satisfying business requirements that fall outside of out-of-the-box scenarios.

Companies may like MOSS as a backend, but there are persistent problems on the UI and user experience fronts. “SharePoint usability issues that companies have help us to build the market,” admitted Jinks.

The .NET premise also helps in MOSS adoption, as organizations can use this familiar to them technology to build on top of it.

The fight is over. Everybody needs to figure out how to cooperate with SharePoint. It is not going away,” concluded Jinks.