Archive for the ‘What’s New’ Category

Feb 2011 Upgrade – The HyperOffice secret!

Many of our clients have taken notice that our updates and upgrades have been coming more frequently with vigor and purpose, and now it’s time to share the secret to what’s behind HyperOffice’s steady and rapid growth. Our clients! We’ve come to the conclusion that HyperOffice is chock-full of unique clients that are not afraid to chime in with ideas and requests and it’s been helping us deliver the most versatile, complete, and customizable solution in the cloud today.

With the launch of our new feedback system ( http://feedback.hyperoffice.com ) we’ve seen clients submit over 400 votes on enhancement requests that THEY want to see in THEIR product. These clients drive HyperOffice to be the best collaboration suite available today. Our most recent release addresses 90% of submitted product bugs and implements some of our most client requested usability enhancements. Take a look at some of our most popular requests below.

1. Immediate training and webinar assistance during the trial through our new webinar button

2. Meeting rescheduling behaviors have been revamped

3. Icon consistency across all sections for a more intuitive experience

4. Enhanced user interface notifications

5. Improved user profile loading system to enhance overall speed

6. Overall speed of site publisher has been increased

7. Personal Desktop administration has been enhanced specifically the Group News and Company Announcements sections

8. Task notification emails now include specific change content

9. Global company signatures have been added for companywide announcements and confidentiality tags

These are only a handful of the implemented requests we’ve received and we are always eager to hear what our clients have to say and give them what they want.

HyperOffice: 2010 in Retrospect

2010 was a pivotal year for HyperOffice. Not only did we find ourselves right in the eye of the convergence of multiple market trends, but HyperOffice grew and matured as a product more than ever before in its history. Our efforts did not go unnoticed, as our brand is stronger than ever, and rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in the industry, backed as they are by astronomical marketing budgets.

The Market

2010 will be looked back upon as the year when cloud computing finally went main stream. It was great to see our vision of more than 10 years – the ability to access business applications over the internet without expensive infrastructure – finding not only wide acceptability, but wide adoption as well. Vendors have shifted from selling the model to arguing for the superiority of their cloud products over others.

Apart from the mega success of cloud computing, we found ourselves plonk in the middle of two sub trends in the larger growth of the cloud.

Cloud collaboration was one of the main areas of growth in cloud computing. Studies from Sandhill, Forrester, MarketResearch.com, AMI all found collaboration as one of the fastest growing SaaS segments in 2010 and beyond. This is understandable as collaboration software caters to a supra trend afoot in business today – increasingly distributed teams which need to work together and coordinate effort. As insightfully observed by the editor of CloudAve “cloud has the necessary DNA for collaboration”, since it allows people anywhere to contribute to a shared system.

Another trend in evidence was the convergence of messaging and collaboration software. HyperOffice has been offering integrated business email and collaboration tools since before 2005. Companies have found that having their messaging and collaboration solutions in separate silos is expensive and inefficient. Integrated solutions are a counterweight against the temptation to use email for everything, and great synergies arise from data of different types – documents, emails, tasks, contacts, discussions – being able to freely interact in a unified system. Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 from industry heavyweights have validated this approach. HyperOffice however offers the best solution with a laser focus towards SMBs.

The Product

Without doubt, 2010 proved to be the year when HyperOffice evolved and grew more than ever before in its more than 10 year history.

Late in 2009 we released the beta version of the biggest ever overhaul of our HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, rebuilding it ground up in AJAX. Over early 2010, we put the beta through months of rigorous testing, made hundreds of enhancements and thousands of bug fixes, before finally making it widely available. Apart from a completely redesigned modern interface and more tightly integrated features, our users get countless new features like full text search, color coded calendars, database applications and web forms, wikis, drag and drop publisher and more.

Keeping with the mobility revolution, push messaging was a natural extension to HyperOffice’s capabilities. Although HyperOffice was already optimized and available on mobile browsers, we increasingly found users wanting solutions which leveraged their mobile phone’s native mail, calendar and address book applications. Moreover, most solutions in the market work only with single devices, or require expensive server based implementations. To fill this gap, HyperSynch was born, a mobile messaging add-on to HyperOffice which allows users to push, sync and share mail, contacts, calendars and tasks across mobile platforms including iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Nokia, Android and more.

Since the mega upgrade, HyperOffice has undergone four upgrade cycles implementing more than a 100 customer requested enhancements. Most notably, we bolstered our project management features. HyperOffice is now a full blown project management solution with sophisticated project management features like task dependencies and interactive Gantt charts to handle complex projects. New features like the ability to convert email to tasks demonstrate the benefits of having integrated messaging and collaboration and tools.

The Brand

HyperOffice’s developments have caught the attention of end users and tech experts alike, and our brand is stronger than ever. HyperOffice is one of the most well recognized names in a jam packed online collaboration market. Our developments kept making it to leading publications such as NY Times, ZDNet, GigaOM, Entrepreneur.com, CMS Wire, eWeek, Information Week, MSP Mentor, PC Magazine, PC Today, Information Today, Small Biz Mag and more.

Can HyperOffice out simplify Google Apps?” asked Christopher Dawson of ZDNet. PC Magazine listed HyperOffice as one of the “Top 10 Apps that can make you productive”. “HyperOffice to Take on Google Apps, Microsoft Web Apps?” was CMSWire’s reaction to our mega upgrade. HyperOffice was compared to MS SharePoint in Entrepreneur.com’s “Collaboration or aggravation?

HyperOffice was reviewed by Edward Mendelson, an eminent software reviewer for PC Mag, known for his rigorous analysis of solutions. We were more than glad with his comments – “Overall, I was deeply impressed by HyperOffice’s depth of features, tight integration of all its elements, sleek appearance, and crack support team that was admirably responsive in both acknowledging the problems I discovered, and in many cases, fixing them almost as fast as I reported them.”, and that some of our key messaging points were echoed in his review – “Bottom Line – (HyperOffice is) A fully hosted alternative to building your own Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers.”

As one of the oldest players and thought leaders in the SaaS collaboration market, the opinions of our leaders were frequently sought by analysts and experts. Shahab Kaviani, our Executive Vice President Marketing and Product Marketing was one of the panelists in Small Business Tech Magazines nation wide SMB Tech Tour. Phil Wainwright, one of the leading minds on SaaS, interviewed Shahab for his podcast series on ebizQ. Shahab was also interviewed by Laurie McCabe of the SMB Group, as by Peter Radinski and Rich Tehrani from TMCNet.

HyperOffice was also one of the solutions covered by SMB Group’s study “Moving Beyond Email: The Era of SMB Online Collaboration Suites” along with eminent names like Google Apps, Microsoft BPOS, IBM LotusLive, VMWare’s Zimbra and more.

In Conclusion

The ultimate test of any solution are its users. The SaaS game is not only about getting new users, but keeping and satisfying current users. We believe we did a great job of that this year, by making an effort to provide them great service in addition to great technology.

2010 was a year of great satisfaction, a testimony to everyone’s effort in development, service, marketing, sales and administration. But our eyes are now firmly focused towards the future. We’ve got all the right cards – experience, technology, and brand – and when the cloud surge takes place in 2011, we want to ride it right at the crest.



October 2010 Upgrade – Project Management on Steroids and More

The latest release of HyperOffice implements more than 25 customer requested enhancements, with a major focus on delivering a more robust online project management tool including task dependencies, interactive Gantt charts, and more. Here is a list of the most popular updates. It brings users an alternative to project management tools like BaseCamp, which may bring robust project features, but lag in other collaboration areas.

Shared Tasks

Task Dependencies – Task dependencies now allow users to create project management workflows based on standard task relationships: Start-to-Start, Start-to-Finish, Finish-to-Start, and Finish-to-Finish. This allows users to reflect real life corporate projects, which are a network of interdependent tasks. Create complex relationships between tasks, such as, “task 1 cannot begin till task 2 is completed”, “task 1 cannot begin till task 2 has begun”, “task 1 cannot finish till task 2 has finished” and so on.

Interactive Gantt Charts: The new interactive Gantt Chart, offering drag, drop, and re-size features on tasks, allow users to arrange tasks and set task durations right from the Gantt Chart console.

Timesaver – Added ability to duplicate tasks to save time on common tasks

Timesaver/Feature enhancement – Users will now be notified as to which part of a shared task is changed by underlining the changed fields inside of the notification email

Timesaver/Feature enhancement – Added and improved recurring tasks and projects, which now appear as a new tab in task edit window.

Contacts

Timesaver – Contacts will now be associated with whichever category they are created from

Timesaver – Group admins are now able to purge/delete all group contacts

Timesaver – Added ability to copy contacts using the right-click copy menu.

Mail

Usability – In the business email module, we have increased the limits on To/CC/BCC fields to 100 recipients, 100 recipients, and 50 recipients respectively allowing users to send out mass emails. However the aggregate number of recipients in all fields (To, CC, and BCC) may not exceed 200 addressees.

Timesaver – Improved folder creation system by allowing creation of a folder within a parent folder based on your location inside of the folder structure.

Documents

Timesaver – You can now edit folder/file names in shared documents inline from the web interface

Settings

Ease of Use – Time zone selection is simpler with fewer choices based entirely on your GMT adjustment.

Timesaver/Automation – Added ability to set default reminders for events inside of personal settings

Feature Enhancement – Portal administrators now have the ability to unlock user accounts whose accounts have had 10 failed log-in attempts within one hour

Listen to HyperOffice at the Small Biz Tech Tour

Small Biz Technology, a premier online journal dedicated to tech issues related to small businesses, is launching the Small Biz Tech Tour, the first edition of what is going to be an annual event. Spread out over 43 days, the Tour will stop over at 5 cities including Mountain View, CA; Salt Lake City; Boston; Washington DC and Atlanta. If you are a small business owner near any of those venues, make haste to get yourself over there!

It is going to be a grand show, featuring a lineup of star studded speakers representing thought leaders in small business tech from the analyst, journalist and vendor community. You get a chance to hear and ask questions from 35 speakers including Ramon Ray (smallbiztechnology.com), Brent Leary (CRM expert), Laurie McCabe (SMB Group), Patrick Schwerdtfeger (Bloomberg TV), and, our own Shahab Kaviani!

Click here for the itinerary and further information

This series of events will give owners insights into the most pressing contemporary question for small businesses – to cut through all the chaotic talk and find how to make use of modern internet technology, which makes available to them tools formerly in the sole dominion of enterprises, to be more effective and competitive.

You also get to network with your peers. Speak with technology vendors. Participate in discussions. Eat. Win Prizes.

HyperOffice at the Tour

We are glad that HyperOffice was invited to share our experiences and insights. We’ve served small businesses for more than a decade since 1998. We were one of the first companies to offer software-as-a-service solutions to the business market, and one of the earliest players in online collaboration, the most explosive market these days.

Importantly, we have dealt with the needs of small businesses on a day-to-day basis over all these years, learnt invaluable lessons, and built our solutions and services around that knowledge. And Shahab has been in the thick of it since the early days of HyperOffice listening to customers, spearheading our marketing efforts, helping define a nascent market and educating small businesses about it. Be sure that he has some serious pointers and tips for you.

Be there!

HyperOffice featured in SMB Group Study: Moving Beyond Email – The Era of SMB Online Collaboration Suites

SMB Group, a premier consultancy group which specializes in analyzing and researching the SMB market, recently released its study “Moving Beyond Email—The Era of SMB Online Collaboration Suites”.

The SMB Group brings deep expertise in how latest technology trends impact how SMBs operate and compete. The study follows the increasing importance of distributed collaboration in SMBs, and the consequent increase in use of collaboration technology. According to Laurie McCabe, co author of the report: –

“Until recently, most small and medium businesses (SMBs) could get along just fine with a few tools such as email, calendars, document sharing, and the good old telephone. But today, many SMBs are finding that they need more effective collaboration tools to share knowledge, streamline processes, and keep everyone in the organization “on the same page”. They need to make information easier to find, share, and use as well as to connect with the right people at the right time—on any device”

As Laurie points out, email is no longer the collaboration tool of choice, and workers have moved their many of their collaboration activities to other tools. But it is not an either or situation, as email continues to be important, as most of us can testify. Keeping in mind this close relationship in mind, we had started offering integrated email and collaboration tools. In the past couple of years Google and Microsoft have also entered the arena with Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS, making the “communication and collaboration” space well defined.

An SMB Group survey found that a quarter of SMBs intend to invest in collaboration software in the coming 12 months. And the online, or “software as a service” model for collaboration solutions is ideal for SMBs because it has been designed for their specific needs and budgets.

Recently, have been numerous reports on the SaaS market by Forrester, Gartner, McKinsey, IDG and AMI on the SaaS market in general, but none deals with the online collaboration market in such detail.

The study brings more than abstract, high level information of the kind that SMBs find particularly hard to digest. The report brings a detailed assessment of the top 8 players in the online collaboration suite category. We are more than pleased that HyperOffice has been featured in a lineup that includes names like Google, Microsoft and IBM.

The intuitive “SMB Readiness Grid” compares the eight vendors in terms of their marketing strategies, solution capabilities, service offerings, and differentiation for the SMB market.

In addition, the report also brings interviews of SMB customers who have used these suites.

The purpose of the grid is not just a feature assessment of the suites, but their fit for the SMB market. We believe HyperOffice will stand out in this respect because Microsoft BPOS and Google Apps are more focused towards the more profitable enterprise segment, while our bread and butter comes from SMBs, around whom we have developed our solutions.

Journalists interested the SMB market will find bountiful insights in this research, and of course, SMBs will find it immensely useful is devising their collaboration strategy. You can download the research abstract here, and find further details on how to purchase the report.

Going Virtual using HyperOffice Collaboration Suite Prevents a Charity from Closing Doors

A cloud collaboration provider, an accounts and management consultancy, and the Schizophrenia Society of Canada may sound like an unlikely coming together. Not so.

We’ve always said that HyperOffice helps clients work and compete better, cut IT overheads, save the hardware and maintenance costs associated with traditional software, and focus towards their core areas.

In a classical illustration, HyperOffice was successfully used by a not for profit organization to navigate a financial crunch, and get back on its feet. You can also read about it in BC Penny’s press release titled “Virtual Management using HyperOffice Prevents a Charity from Closing it’s Doors”.

The Challenge

BC Penny, a well-known Canadian virtual accounting and management consultancy, was looking for a green technology to help the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, which was “struggling to balance its funding and day to day operational costs”.

The Society is run fully on donations, without any Government assistance. With a shortage of funds, the Society found itself having to dig into its reserves to even manage office lease and administrative salaries. Some critical decisions needed to be made, and BC Penny was entrusted the task of finding answers to these tough questions.

The Solution

BC Penny decided that the best way to go forward was to go virtual, and divert funds that were being spent on managing a physical office space. But to pull this off, the challenge was to find a solution that would allow Society members to work effectively as a team without being together in person, and importantly, require minimal maintenance and upkeep as the Society had no funds to hire an IT expert. It was also “fundamental that the solution be user friendly as there were no available dollar resources to provide any training”.

After extensive research, BC Penny found that HyperOffice fit the bill perfectly. It’s extensive integrated features would help members communicate, share information and coordinate activities – business email, shared document manager, project management, shared calendars, intranet workspaces, online meetings, forums, wikis etc. The availability of numerous HyperOffice free training resources like webinars, videos, white papers etc was ideal for “staff and board members who were not familiar with the internet”. Moreover, since HyperOffice is fully hosted and outsourced, hardware and maintenance costs were saved as well.

The whole project was planned and implemented carefully over 18 months as the Society was converted into a virtual operation.

The Benefits

The immediate benefit was that “thousands of dollars were saved and reinvested towards the cause instead of the cost of leasing a physical office with a long term commitment and paying for full-time administrative staff.”

Going virtual also opened new vistas, now that the organization was virtual and had access to national (or international) resources rather than having to depend on local talent.

The Charity’s auditors, who are amongst the top five in the country, were pleased with the new structure and HyperOffice.

If you want to zoom in further, the entire process was chronicled and featured in Chapter 20 of a new book “The Non Profit Guide for Going Green” published by Wiley and Sons in the USA.

This implementation has real lessons on the benefits of the cloud for the non-profit sector. The cloud revolution is sweeping the for profit sector, and non profit organizations stand to benefit even more because of tight donation dependent budgets. They now have access to user-friendly collaboration software and other technologies traditionally available to large businesses that help them work more efficiently, work in new ways and serve their cause better. We are pleased and privileged that HyperOffice helped serve the noble cause of the Society.

HyperOffice Collaboration Suite Reviewed by PC Mag

Edward Mendelson, an eminent software reviewer for PC Mag just put out a review of HyperOffice, which we were eagerly looking forward to. We are glad to get a “Good” rating from Mendelson and PC Mag, known for their rigorous and stringent review standards.

It was also encouraging to find that some of the features and capabilities we hold as the key strengths of HyperOffice found echo in Mendelson’s review.

As you may know, we recently gave HyperOffice a major interface makeover, in tune with the latest trends and technologies. Mendelson had some good things to say about it: –

“HyperOffice is a slick online collaboration service that lets you store and access files, tasks, contacts, links, documents, and almost any digital file on a HyperOffice-hosted website.”

Our positioning as a fully hosted, inexpensive and hassle free Exchange and SharePoint alternative for small businesses also found resonance in the review: –

“Bottom Line – (HyperOffice is) A fully hosted alternative to building your own Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers.”

“Designed as a cloud-based, lower-priced alternative to Microsoft Office 2010 with components of SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange that’s accessible via any browser, HyperOffice is easy to set up as both an intranet and an extranet that lets co-workers, customers, and clients see specific data.”

As a small business ourselves, we understand the importance of customer service, and responsiveness to customer feedback for our SMB customers who often lack in house IT resources. This, we hold key to our offering, and was pointed out by Mendelson in his review as well.

“Overall, I was deeply impressed by HyperOffice’s depth of features, tight integration of all its elements, sleek appearance, and crack support team that was admirably responsive in both acknowledging the problems I discovered, and in many cases, fixing them almost as fast as I reported them.”

We are thankful to Mendelson for conducting a thorough and objective review, and educating the market about HyperOffice. We hope you will take his advice when he says:-

“HyperOffice should be high on your list of collaboration services to consider thanks to its combination of relatively low price and up-to-date interface.”

August 2010 Upgrade

We’ve been busy this summer rolling out our second update since releasing the modern AJAX interface. Most product improvements and fixes have been reported by our users. You, as our clients, are a major part of the development process and the feedback guarantees the best collaboration suite on the planet. Here are some of the highlights in this upgrade.

Email

1. Convert an email to a task directly from the mail module. Simply click the task icon beside the email subject, and add it to your personal to-do task list, or move it into the project management system.

This small feature will drive big improvements in solving your overstuffed inbox problem. No more hunting for to-dos and team tasks in your inbox. No more missed tasks. Not only does this clear your in-box, but you get additional management tools your inbox doesn’t offer such as progress tracking, status updates, task priorities, assign and notify, etc.

2. Preview attachments. A “preview” button beside your attachment let’s you take a quick look at the attachment before you send it. This will help you when you need to make doubly sure that you are sending out the right file and the right version.

Project Management

1. Subscribe to a project. If you are part of a project you want to keep top of, or simply want to track a project you are interested in, simply click on “subscribe”. You will be notified of all changes to the project including the addition of new tasks and changes to tasks already contained within the project.

2. Task assignees are now notified when a task is completed. Whenever the status of a task is changed to “complete”, everyone who was assigned to the task will be automatically notified, and they can heave a sigh of relief.

Contacts

1. Copy text directly from the contacts screen using the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste.

2. The issue in contact management where all categories were not listed has been corrected.

3. When modifying the headers in the contacts module, you may now view up to 10 columns at once.

Personal Desktop

1. Improved the personal desktop settings area. The screens are more intuitive and settings easier to manage.

2. You can now filter and adjust what tasks are seen on your personal desktop. You can view all tasks assigned to you in every group for example. Simply click the “Modify Desktop” button at the top right hand corner of the personal desktop if this is permitted by your administrator. Then click the settings gear icon located near the title of the tasks component.

Site Publisher

1. System templates. You get to choose from a number of pre-built templates whenever you want to design a new homepage in Publisher. We have built templates for a number of contexts – landing page, navigation page, informational page etc. – which can just start adding your logo and content to.

Forums

1. Fixed bug that limited the number of posts

General

1. The print button is now working in all sections

The Push Battle: Comparison of Push Email & Mobile Messaging Solutions

The era of the “mobile worker” is upon us. Employees are increasingly likely to be at home, traveling, on-site with the customer, or located in distributed offices. According to an IDC study published in Dec 2009, the world’s mobile worker population will pass the one billion mark by the end of this year.

This has spurred the demand for mobile messaging solutions – solutions that enable access to business information like email, calendars, contacts, tasks etc on mobile devices. This has been added to in no small measure by the comeuppance of swanky and powerful mobile devices like iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, which users now see as business devices.

Keeping with the trend, we added HyperSynch to our HyperOffice online collaboration software earlier this year, a service that lets users push email, contacts, calendars and tasks to their mobile devices, and keep them in sync across the cloud, their mobile phone and Outlook.

Solutions already exist in the market, ranging from powerful server based enterprise mobility solutions to personal information managers. With HyperSync, we sought to overcome three shortcomings we felt existed in the market, keeping our target small to medium sized company segment in mind.

Many solutions work only with a single device, forcing companies to purchase business mobile devices based on their mobile messaging software. Ideally a solution should enable any mobile phone employees already have.

The most well known solutions in the market are server based enterprise solutions, simply out of the reach of SMBs cost wise.

Other solutions are personal information managers, not ideal for team scenarios, where users also want to share information.

Based on the above, we have created a matrix comparing HyperSynch with well-known mobile messaging solutions in the market for users to see which one best fits their needs.

HyperOffice Up in the Air (Waves)

Apart from reflecting the buoyant mood here at HyperOffice, the blog title also literally reflects the coverage HyperOffice has received from tech media in the past couple of weeks. Since we launched the new version of HyperOffice, we have continued to attract the interest of well known bloggers, journalists and analysts following the collaboration software market. Shahab Kaviani, our Vice President, Marketing had the fortune of being interviewed by the very best in the market over the last few weeks.

Our positioning of bringing integrated online messaging and collaboration software with a laser focus on small to medium sized businesses seems to have found resonance in this fast evolving and growing market. Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS have popularized the “integrated” approach, but their focus remains towards the juicier enterprise segment.

Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC, interviewed Shahab for TMCNet.


Laurie McCabe of SMB Group, consulting firm focusing on the specific tech needs of small to medium sized businesses, interviewed Shahab for their “SMB Spotlight” podcast series.

Phil Wainewright, writer of the influential “software as a services” blog at ZDNet, and Managing editor at eBizQ, interviewed Shahab for eBizQ’s podcast series.