So what really is HyperOffice?

While collaboration is something everyone in a business undertakes everyday, the word “collaboration”, due to its inherent abstractness sometimes doesn’t convey much to the listener. As a developer of collaboration software, this is a challenge we have faced at HyperOffice, and gotten better at overcoming over the years. In that ongoing effort, the following graphic is a quick, crisp summation of what benefit HyperOffice can bring to your business.

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Service Provider Leverage in Emerging Collaboration Markets

The Collaboration Market

The rapidly growing cloud market and the significant shifts in the voice and data services marketplace have created unprecedented challenges and opportunities for service providers. While the challenges presented to service providers are numerous and of strategic significance, in the interest of brevity, I will focus on opportunities specific to cloud collaboration.

Business OTT services like UC, UCC, and social collaboration are experiencing a surge in demand (Gartner predicts the collaboration market with grow to $21 B by 2018), and offer much greater margins than consumer OTT services, which are harder to monetize. As PWC observed in its recent report, service providers are especially well positioned to serve the business market given their preexisting relationship in business IT departments, and ownership of networks and infrastructure which allows them to offer best-in-market SLAs.

Three key drivers determine the success of cloud solutions and in particular cloud collaboration solutions  – 1) rapid adoption, 2) ease of use and 3) value, determined by a ratio of feature and functionality to price.

Point collaboration solutions (single application solutions) may offer ease of use and rapid adoption for a specific application, but they certainly lack value as compared to unified applications that offer multiple applications and capabilities. In addition point collaboration solutions challenge the notion of ease of use and adoption in the context of using technology in support of specific business processes. Improving any workflow through collaboration and communication requires the use of multiple applications – email, calendaring, document management, project management, social collaboration, im and presence, click to call and conferencing applications. Ease of use and rapid adoption are negatively impacted when users have to deal with multiple applications with different user interfaces, different login requirements and information silos while collaborating and communicating.

Collaboration and communication systems with tightly integrated applications, a unified user interface and consistent behavior across all applications, channels and devices without compromising ease of use and rapid adoption deliver the best value for businesses.  A typical business customer can deploy a single unified collaboration and communication system (UCC) and support a wide range of business processes critical to their operations and team members.  Users of these systems will need to learn only one user interface and adopt one system as they seamlessly navigate across applications, information sources and devices. There is no need to deal with a new user interface and a new information silo every time the user needs to work with a different application.
Service providers benefit from offering unified collaboration and communication systems that deliver a tightly integrated and unified user interface across applications, channels and devices because:

1.      A well Unified Collaboration and Communication system satisfies the 3 key drivers to the success of any cloud collaboration solution – 1) rapid adoption, 2) ease of use, and 3) value
2.      Service providers can consolidate a number of point collaboration and communication solutions into one
3.      UCC systems with the right architecture can serve as a platform for offering additional services

So how can service providers participate in the booming cloud collaboration and communication market?

The initial reaction has been to forge partnerships with prominent OTT services like Google and Microsoft and benefit from the demand built by them. This approach is shortsighted. It is tantamount to seeding the market for a potential competitor and accepting a greatly reduced role in the future. It gives service providers little more than short-term profits in the form of minimal “reseller” margins.  A more strategically sound approach is for service providers to launch their own OTT services, to take control of their customers’ data and to offer them branded OTT services aligned with their strategic and financial goals. By leveraging their own brand and their sales and marketing strength, service providers will get a much larger share of the revenue pie while protecting their customer base.

While service providers have network expertise, operational experience and sales and marketing prowess, they are understandably anxious about developing their own OTT applications. The risks of building a cloud based, scalable, simple to use and successful software product, under budget and in time to take advantage of a rapidly moving market are significant. To mitigate these risks, service providers should partner with innovative technology companies focused on specific OTT applications, with proven products and without any competitive threat. A number of service providers around the world have successfully adopted this strategy and are working with companies like HyperOffice. A provider of cloud based UCC, Social Collaboration, Federated Collaboration and Mobility, HyperOffice enables service providers to roll out high margin, private labeled cloud services deployed in the service provider infrastructure, HyperOffice infrastructure or any third party.

Finding the best metaphor for social business software

We are all suckers for memes and metaphors. A great metaphor helps us instantly grasp a difficult concept, rolls easily off the tongue, and encourages us to share the idea with others. Metaphors are invaluable in our world of software, where we need to convey technical concepts to an audience which is not tech savvy. Here are some efforts to find the best metaphor for social collaboration, the big thing in information technology today.

Structured vs. Unstructured Collaboration

One metaphor we often use, is “structured vs. unstructured collaboration”, which leaves various prospective customers, partners and analysts with the enlightened ”I get it” smile. Traditional collaboration tools, with their structure of workspaces, folders, and project hierarchies are a reflection of the traditional mechanistic organizational structure with pyramidal management levels, business divisions, departments and offices. Social tools on the other hand, will have none of this keeping people apart. They encourage anyone across the organization to connect with anyone else, and talk and share away to glory. The underlying belief – this “unstructured” and informal environment will not result in recipes being exchanged, but real value for the organization where people will spontaneously share their skills and experience.

However, this conceptualization is not without detractors. First, even amongst the early enthusiasts of social business, there is an increasing consensus that this free exchange of knowledge needs to be conducted on a template of processes. How else would a company be able to track and measure the value created? How else would managers nudge effort towards business goals?

It might even be a stretch to say that social tools introduce “unstructured” collaboration. Email achieved exactly the same, where anyone could in-fact bypass organizational structures and processes, and reach out to anyone else in the organization to ask a question (Hey Joe…), share a document (please find attached..), or seek help (help!). In fact, email could achieve most of what social tools can do – cross organizational communication, and the ability to monitor activity (you could always subscribe to documents and projects and get email notifications). However, social tools by virtue of their design, are vastly more efficient, and importantly, they encourage transparency. By default, people can see what others are talking about, unless conversations are explicitly set as “private”. Social tools are therefore more enablers of unstructured collaboration than inventing it.

Conversations before Content

My personal favorite metaphor of what social tools really do to collaboration is to put “conversations before content”. It’s now not so much about the content stored in the collaboration environment (documents, projects, contacts) but the conversations that happen around this content (I changed the structure of the document because.., I don’t agree with the second para because..). So two people in different divisions can easily start a discussion via social messages, and pull content into the conversation when appropriate (say a document). Although content might be the end product of a collaborative effort, the real meat of collaboration is in these discussions which social tools so effectively capture.

Again, it’s not as if people didn’t talk before the advent of social tools. These conversations still happened, through email, IM, phone calls, or in person. But only the end product of these conversations, content, was captured in the collaboration environment, while the conversations around it were either scattered or forever lost. Or in other words, context was lost. Social tools capture content AND context. Which makes me think, even “from content to context” is a good metaphor.

What is your favorite metaphor for social collaboration?



Your “What intranet software…” questions answered

This post answers common questions people have about the capabilities of an intranet software, and explains how HyperOffice can serve many of these needs. This is part 3 of the “What..” series. You can find parts 1 and 2 here and here.

What are the benefits of an intranet software?

You might want to look at my infographic to get an answer to that question. In short, the benefits you derive are – improve productivity by providing all your employee tools in one place, spur collaboration between team members, and improve knowledge management by capturing all important information in one place.

Do I need an intranet, or an enterprise social network?

The distinctions between enterprise social networks and intranets and fast disappearing with the advent of “social intranets“. However, if you still want to make a choice between one or the other, it would depend on your objectives. An intranet software lets you deeply customize your collaboration environment for specific audiences, and present each piece of information in context. An enterprise social network on the other hand, is a very efficient way to encourage team members to communicate and share information with each other.

What is an alternative to Sharepoint for building an intranet?

HyperOffice has been positioned as a “Sharepoint alternative” for years. It is completely web based, a lot simpler than Sharepoint, brings the same collaboration features, and lets you publish highly customized intranet pages to present your productivity tools and information.

What is a good intranet software for a mid sized company?

HyperOffice is one of the most robust intranet software for a mid sized company. It isn’t as complicated and expensive as Sharepoint, and doesn’t require specialized staff to implement and maintain. A company with a small or no IT department can implement it within days. At the same time, it brings the depth of functionality and customization that one expects from mature enterprise solutions.

What is a good cloud based intranet software?

HyperOffice is completely cloud based. Just get online, and you can build a completely customized company intranet with more than 10 social and collaboration tools.



Your “What online document sharing software….” questions answered

Continuing from my last post (about the common questions about project management HyperOffice features answer), this post is about common document sharing questions that our document management capabilities answer. Do you have any of the following questions?

What is a cloud based document management software like Sharepoint, but cheaper and simpler?

HyperOffice has been called a “Sharepoint Antidote” at Huffington Post for a reason. You get the same document management capabilities – online document storage/sharing/collaboration, version control, permissions, comments, notifications. Plus you get other features you associate with SharePoint – intranets, calendars, projects, forums, social. But HyperOffice is completely online, offers an exceptionally simple and pleasing experience, and is designed for your SMB pocket! See how HyperOffice compares with Sharepoint in detail.

What is a good web app to share documents like Word, PDF, Powerpoint?

HyperOffice lets you share documents online irrespective of file type – Word, PDF, Powerpoint or any other. Just upload your documents, and your teams anywhere in the world have instant access. You can even work together on these files.

What is a good document management solution for teams?

HyperOffice was designed for teams. You can upload files in shared online document folders, and everyone in the team has instant access. HyperOffice also has collaboration features like version control, web folders, comments and notifications to enable teams to work together on documents. Permissions at the level of folder, sub folder, and down to the file ensure that you can finely manage access rights.

What online document storage system supports WebDAV?

HyperOffice does. You can easily connect to your documents stored online on our servers directly from from your desktop. It is a great way to access, edit and work together on files without having to use the web browser.

What is a web based document management system for a large amount of files?

HyperOffice has large clients who store and manage tens of thousands of files online through our system.



Your “What online project management software…” questions answered

I was going through Quora today, and I came across multiple questions related to online project management software, the answer for which was quite simply, HyperOffice. That gave me the idea of doing a post where I explain how HyperOffice features answer common questions people ask about an online project management tool. So here goes..

What is an online project project management software for remote teams?

HyperOffice is ideal for remote teams looking to coordinate effort. It is a central online location where managers can assign tasks to people anywhere in the world, set timelines, attach documents and other resources and track progress. It is also a place where team members can communicate with each other around the project.

What is an online project management software for multiple projects?

HyperOffice allows you to create workspaces for each project. Within the project, teams and managers can use features like task assignments, timelines, shared files, shared calendars and so on. Everyone who is involved in multiple projects can also get a central view across projects in terms to the tasks they assigned, or were assigned to them.

What is an online project management software for a startup?

HyperOffice is completely online, super simple and has scores of features which are ideal for a startup looking to get up and running real quick. You focus on your big idea, while HyperOffice lets you get your developers, marketers, founders and partners organized.

What is a super simple online project management software?

Know how to click the mouse? You can use HyperOffice!

What is an online project management software with hierarchies?

HyperOffice allows you to create tasks within projects within projects within projects and so on. You can also create complex dependencies between tasks if your projects have interrelations. This is ideal for projects which are sophisticated and have a hierarchical structure like construction, design etc.



Email and Knowledge Management: It’s like keeping a fish in a kennel

At its heart, knowledge management is all about the ability to capture the knowledge created in an organization, and making it available to everyone in the company today, and in the future.  Every document, presentation, contact, or even message created in a company represents this knowledge, which might be of use to someone else in the company.

Unfortunately, lots of companies, even those with specialized knowledge management software, simply use email to manage this information. As a result, this information simply gets lost in someone’s inbox, from where it is nearly impossible to recover, and certainly not available to others in the company.

We call this the “Death of information”. We have created the following video to give you an idea of the damage email may be doing to the company’s collective knowledge. Please leave your comments!



Service Providers vs. OTT Vendors: Who will win the battle of cloud data? (Infographic)

Communications Service Providers are reaching the tail end of an era of unprecedented profits driven by mobile voice and messaging revenues. Those days are over.

The strategic dynamics of the market are in the middle of a paradigm shift where communications are increasingly data centric – VOIP, M2M messaging, social messaging, file sharing etc. There is a power struggle between telecom companies, carriers, and service providers on one side and OTT (over the top) vendors (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Skype, WhatsApp) on the other side for control of these new forms of communication.

The question for service providers is straightforward – do they keep watching OTT vendors take over the market, be content with providing access services, and continue seeing a downtrend in APRUs; or do they proactively leverage their strategic strength and claim their stake in the OTT market?

We have created the most comprehensive infographic on the subject compiling all important researches in the market (Chetan Sharma, Gartner, Erricson, IBM, Cisco, Informa, Ovum) which study this question. Please click on the image to see the complete infographic.

Mathematical Collaboration with MathType and HyperOffice

If Newton were still alive, he would have trouble communicating his ideas online. Sure, he could have described his laws, but at soon as he tried typing out the equations, they would have looked like this:

F = G[m1*m2/r(2)]

As you can see, communicating online is not amenable to mathematical equations. That’s where MathType comes in. MathType is a powerful interactive equation editor that lets you create mathematical notation for word processing, web pages, desktop publishing, presentations etc. With MathType, typing equations is simple.

And now MathType supports HyperOffice. With MathType, HyperOffice users can type out mathematical equations in email, notes and forum discussions.

So, scientists, mathematicians, finance folks and general lovers of equations – collaborate away!



2013 state of collaboration – Report

Collaborative Strategies, a leading consultancy which closely follows the collaboration software market, just released its annual report on the “state of collaboration” in 2013. Companies looking to implement collaboration software, or already using it, will take a lot away from this study in terms of experiences of other companies.  The main findings of the study are as follows (with my comments):

1) Users said they mainly used a collaboration solution to coordinate work with others, keep on top of project status, and keep track of colleagues.

2) 82% felt “cutting cycle time” and “improving teamwork” were the greatest benefits of using collaboration software.

3) Surprisingly, in terms of satisfaction almost 50% were somewhat happy with the collaboration/social tools they were currently using, but 35% were not very happy. This is a strong message to vendors that there is room to improve user experience.

4) The industries where collaboration tools were used the most were Sales and Marketing, IT, Operations, Customer Support, and R&D.

5) There is a concerted movement from using collaboration software for internal use to using it for collaboration with partners, clients, sub-contractors, etc. outside the corporate firewall. This makes sense because people are frustrated with using email for external collaboration, and finally it is easier to do via collaboration software.

6) 60% of the members of management said they understand the functions/benefits of collaboration software compared to just 10% in 2009.

7) 65% of users felt ease-of-use was more important compared to 24% who wanted more features. At HyperOffice we try hard to arrive at a balance. We call it “keeping it simple without losing value.

8 ) Many of collaboration tools in the market are now best categorized as collaborative or social “suite” tools, i.e. many functions integrated, rather than a tool that focuses on one function and tries to be “best-of-breed.” HyperOffice has always taken this approach. We were one of the first “integrated” solutions in the market and believe that teams work most efficiently when business information and tools are unified in a single interface (read our whitepaper about the benefits of integrated collaboration software)

9) Most solutions in the market average $15-25, but a number of companies do “disruptive” pricing including Podio ($9/u/m), Teambox ($5/u/m), MangoSpring ($6/u/mo), Apptivo ($10/user/mo) and HyperOffice whose pricing starts at $7/u/m. Interestingly, 57% of users surveyed felt that collaboration/social tools should cost less than$10/user/month.