Posts Tagged ‘Collaboration Software’

Veteran Saas Collaboration Software Suite releases biggest upgrade ever

Today marks a major milestone in our company history, as we release a modern interface built with on AJAX. This release is a culmination of more than a few years of feedback from hundreds of thousands of our customers. As of today our flagship product, HyperOffice Collaboration Suite has two versions available simultaneously, referred to as the Classic version and the Modern version.  We expect that some of our customers have become accustomed to the Classic version and may not need the additional features which the new version affords, and will continue to support the classic version for the foreseeable future.

So what’s new? Here are some highlights, or you can check out this video.

– Modern Intuitive Design and User Interface

– New Color Calendar System

– Simple Customization and Branding

– Easier Administration and Onboarding

– Robust Project Management System

– New Wiki and Site Publisher

What did we do differently this time?

Since our humble beginnings in 1998, the way teams collaborate has undergone many transformations. As our target customers, small businesses and distributed teams, began to embrace new ways to work, we added new capabilities to our core messaging and collaboration suite. For example wikis became popular, and we added group wikis, people wanted more sophisticated project management tools,  so we beefed that up, road warriors wanted calendars and emails pushed to their mobile devices, so we rolled out HyperSynch, web conferencing became the norm, in comes HyperMeeting.

As you can imagine when you make so many improvements incrementally things may not gel as well as they could. 3 years ago we took a fresh look at our product and began planning for these developments. Along the way we proactively collected feedback from our customers on improvements which needed to be made. With today’s version, you will notice a fully integrated suite of collaboration and messaging tools that fit together elegantly , while being the most comprehensive in the market and simple to use.

Once we re-architected HyperOffice from the ground up, we interviewed customers, went on a many road trips to meet our clients in person.  We also stood up a Product Development Committee which is exclusively made up of customers who we meet with on a regular basis. They help us prioritize our roadmap, get specific feedback on features, designs, etc. Lastly, we spent 6 months in beta on the new version.

So here we are. A new and improved collaboration suite from one of the first SaaS companies in the market, laser focused on collaboration software and meeting the unique needs of the small medium sized businesses.  We thank our loyal customers tremendously for believing in our product, our company, and being so innovative to embrace the cloud before the tipping point as cloud computing moves into the masses.

We are proud to make such significant improvement without having to charge our customers a dollar more for all the new features or move to the new version. I think this is one of the most incredible things about the SaaS model.  It just gets better over time – for free!

Over the summer you will see more improvements aimed at helping customers adopt our product easier with usability improvements and adding customer requested features every couple months.

HyperSynch Mobile Collaboration is a Big Hit

A couple of weeks ago, we launched the beta of HyperSynch, a mobile collaboration service built into our HyperOffice online collaboration software, which allows growing business workers to use their mobile devices to access and collaborate on business information.hypersynch-blog

Mobility is here to stay

HyperSynch was developed as we could clearly see the growing importance of mobile devices in the business context. Apart from our own interactions with our users and the market, this is clearly indicated by recent market studies – A Gartner study predicts that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide; According to a recent IDC report ““almost 40 percent of organizations plan to deploy a SaaS-based mobile solution in the next 12–18 months.”

This has been fuelled by changes converging from all directions – advancements in mobile technology; the emergence of powerful and compelling mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Nokia etc, and greater bandwidth of net access on mobile devices. But most importantly, it has been fuelled by end business users increasingly wanting to use their mobile devices as a tool to access and collaborate business information.

Market offerings and their shortcomings

Recent times have seen the launch of business mobile apps by large companies attempting to fill this space. Apple launched MobileMe, which allows users to synch personal mail, contacts, calendars etc over the air between their iPhone and desktop. RIM launched BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, a server based sister of its enterprise solution BES, which allows synchronization with MS Exchange data.

But these solutions suffer from some clear drawbacks, especially from a small business perspective: –

1)    Either they work with a single device and service (MobileMe works only with iPhone and its AT&T web telephony service),
2)    Are simply too expensive from a total cost standpoint (BES Express and MS  Exchange both assume that MS Exchange is installed at the company servers which can cost thousands of dollars in implementation and maintenance)
3)    Allow you to only manage personal information rather than share and collaborate on it with colleagues.

Why the media likes HyperSynch

HyperSynch was launched to fill this glaring gap of a solution which worked across mobile platforms (HyperSynch works with almost every major mobile device in the market including iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, Windows Mobile and more), was hosted and did not require users to install or maintain anything, was priced reasonably with growing business in mind, and allowed users to share and collaborate with colleagues right from their mobile devices.

As we hoped and expected, HyperSynch was a big hit with the media on its launch, and we got covered and received flattering comments from well known tech journals such as MSPMentor, CMSWire, PCMag, and BusinessComputingWorld.

Here is what some of them had to say:-

“And that’s the real joy of it — companies with even the beta release of HyperSynch won’t have to decide on whether to invest in Blackberry Enterprise Server or Microsoft Exchange Server or MobileMe based on the mobile device their employees are using, as HyperSynch works with them all.” David Roe, CMSWire.com.

“RIM, get ready for a fight: HyperOffice has announced that HyperSynch, an over-the-air push-messaging solution that works as well with the iPhone, the Droid, or even Windows Mobile devices as it does the BlackBerry, has entered beta testing. What’s more, it’s going to be included, gratis, with HyperOffice deployments. Interested?” Matthew Weinberger, MSPMentor.com

“Would especially appeal to growing businesses” Kevin Tea, BusinessComputingWorld.uk

In the larger context of fast evolving mobile business technology and from a capabilities standpoint, industry experts clearly recognize the relevance of HyperSynch.

Company.com launches to help small businesses collaborate online via social networking to save money and boost productivity.

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While social networking has been all the hype lately, it’s not clear/proven how small businesses will put it to work for them. New companies sprout up daily claiming to be experts to help you leverage social networking in your small businesses. Typically they focus on building a message, report, widget, video that will get passed around and people will hear about your business. Others advise you on how to protect you reputation in communities and use communities like LinkedIn to find leads and insert yourself in relevant discussions online.

How many communities can one possibly be active in? There’s no shortage of online communities; Salesforce.com has Chatter, Google just put out Buzz, LinkedIn is my favorite so far, and of course Facebook.

We come back to the question, how can businesses put social networking to work for them. I think Company.com has the answer. What they do different is structure the conversations and match up people so business owners and management can find conversations around their toughest problems. They do this by creating communities with experts they have vetted who contribute with solid advice. I’ve sifted through and have been impressed so far.

Company.com wants to be there for you from cradle to crave, by helping you find information around every step of the small business cycle i.e. how to raise finances, technology advice, how to streamline operations, advice on business strategy, and more.

They are backed by a very experienced management team – In my opinion the single biggest factor to the success of new business ventures. They also bring that human touch to helping businesses save money by vetting vendors, side-by-side comparisons, negotiating the best deal for their members- you- the small business owner. Not just another ad-based non-discriminating aggregator like business.com

They want to “help businesses make money and save money.” We’ll, we’re all for that.
At HyperOffice “ Our mission is to empower growing organizations with technology traditionally available only to large enterprises, and help them achieve business growth, competitive advantage and success.”

You can see why we decided to get behind Company.com and help small businesses compete with more effective and lower cost collaboration software. I hope you’ll check them out, and I look forward to watching them become a household name.

Wikis Part of Free Upgrade to HyperOffice Collaboration Sofware

The Wiki Phenomena

wiki-blog-11We are all familiar with Wikipedia, and have come across it often as we search the internet. It is the largest encyclopedia ever compiled by man – more than 7 times Britannica, the largest traditional encyclopedia.

The incredible thing about Wikipedia is that its content is entirely contributed collaboratively by volunteers – lay users like you and me. The reason why volunteers participate is the incredible simplicity of the underlying “wiki software” ( “wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick”). The site is comprised of web pages anyone can make changes to, as simply as typing into Text Pad. As soon changes are saved, they are available to everyone across the globe. Talk about simple collaboration!

And it is exactly this fact that has lead to its gargantuan growth to the greatest repository in just 6 years.

Wikis and Your Business

The Wikipedia success story certainly has great lessons and applications for businesses – especially small businesses. Collaboration is the heart and soul of successful business in today’s age – to be able to work together effectively in a network of employees, teams, partners, vendors and customers. Wiki software allows companies to do this with incredible ease – as simply as getting on a collaborative group wiki web page, adding content, and saving it to be instantly available to everyone else in the group.

Of course, company wikis need to have more structure and policy controls than a public wiki like Wikipedia. Only group members have access to a group wiki, and there should be tools to track the collaboration process.

HyperOffice Wikis are here – Completely Free Upgrade!

In our constant attempt to bring you cutting edge collaboration software technology, and bring you the best solutions in the market – we have added wikis to our range of collaboration features. HyperOffice wikis bring wiki software molded perfectly for your small business context. And in HyperOffice tradition, this upgrade is available to all users without any additional cost. Here are some of the things you can do: –

–    In the spirit of our theme for 2010, “no geeks required”, HyperOffice wikis are an incredibly simple way to work together. Just access your group wiki, add text, images, links to other company wiki pages, files or formatting, as simply as working with a word processor like MS Word.

–    Create highly customized group wikis with branding, html code, and collaboration modules.

–    Create unlimited group wikis sites for internal or external groups with as many interlinked wiki pages as you like.

–    Create policy controls around group wikis. Manage access permissions, and define role based access level.

–    Track collaboration by automatically recording the history of changes to your wiki pages, and who made changes.

–    Choose to get notified whenever changes are made to any wiki page.

HyperOffice wiki screenshot

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Demystifying the Software Release Process

There is an old joke in the software business that likens developers with artists that produce their work in excess purely for the love of creating. This often results in a highly developed application that falls a bit behind scheduled release.

As many of you may know, we are in the process of releasing the most significant update to our system in over ten years. Since the software release process is unique to our industry you may only know this through technical jargon like “Beta” and “Alpha”, you may ask what this really means or why is this process in place?

Currently we are using the new HyperOffice system with our staff internally, and we love it! In fact, we are eagerly awaiting the green light from development to open it up for public beta- meaning that you will soon be able to use the beta version as well.

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A view of the new calendar system in AJAX

The unique characteristic in software development is that it exists in a market that is rapidly evolving.  Being “in the cloud” we are able to quickly release updates and feature without any system downtime or installs on our client’s computers. This allows us to release the new version in phases. Many of you may already notice a few minor advancements rolling through from this release.

underconstruction1Why is the process important?

By conducting our testing in real-world environments, we are able to identify potential vulnerability, and quickly resolve it to ensure that our users never experience a compromise of data. We review all feedback and make adjustments accordingly; this creates an application that is designed by the users of the system.

Better Security and Stability
More Features and functionality
Simpler and More Intuitive User Interface

This not only makes our product feature rich and extremely stable, but it also is keeps it fast- which is very important when you are in the cloud.

What do the phases such as “Beta/Alpha” actually mean?

Simply put, these are steps in the release lifecycle. Without getting too technical, it all starts with the pre-alpha version, which contains all of the intended functionality of the final version, but precedes any extensive testing. The subsequent phases are Alpha (developed for an extensive private testing group), Private Beta (in which a limited release may be made available), Public Beta (a wider beta community) and finally full release.

Now, it is true that there are a number of other phases that are often thrown into the mix- this is a high level view.

You can help! And benefit too!

There are two ways we want you to get involved in this process. You may be involved in one of the other, or even both!

HyperOffice Product Development Committee: This is a group of HyperOffice clients that play an important part in the ongoing development and enhancement of our product. On average the commitment is about 1 hour a month, but in return, our development team hears your requests directly.

HyperOffice Beta Program: We encourage all interested clients to take part in the beta program of the new HyperOffice. This will give you full access to the new version as well as the ability to switch back to the classic version (your current version) at any time.

Click here to sign-up


Collaboration with HyperOffice Got Even Better : Full Document Search, Improved Publisher, More!

In the spirit of keeping our customers in step with the cutting edge of collaboration technology, and making our customer experience ever simpler and more powerful, we added multiple new features to HyperOffice. That’s what software-as-a-service is all about, isn’t it?

The latest up-gradations are the latest in a flurry of activity in recent months (we added HyperBase online database management features to HyperOffice, won the Skype for Business award, and partnered with Tata Communications and Etelos). Whew! Eventful year its been!

So, the new features.

1) Full Document Text Search – HyperOffice online document management features got a boost and finding corporate information just got easier. Now users can search through the entire contents of the documents they have within shared folders. Rather than having to remember the title or author, remembering any word or phrase in a document is good enough for you to find it. In addition, users can avail advanced search feature like searching by author, title, creation date etc. Although this new feature requires considerable computing power, we added it because this is something our customers have been asking for.

This new feature also gives HyperOffice the distinction of being the only online collaboration software in the market to include free full text search for documents without any additional charge.

2) HyperOffice Site Publisher got Turbo Charged! – If you thought creating intranet and extranet workspaces with the HyperOffice Site Publisher was easier before, you just gotta check out the latest version!

We have completely redesigned the Publisher to be easier and more fun to work with. You create completely freeform pages by just dragging and dropping elements wherever you want them to be on the page. All you need to do is drag and drop text boxes, collaboration modules, navigation, images, links, buttons or any other element to any area on the page you choose. No intranet software allows you to create completely customized pages for departments, teams, clients, partners with such ease. This is easier than any full fledged website publisher I have personally ever visited.

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Just start dragging and dropping and transform your blank canvas into a group workspace like the following literally within minutes:-

new-publisher

More – In addition, HyperOffice has made changes to site administration tools, which lets the administrator perform their tasks from a central console with ease – add or delete users, specify permissions and roles, create new groups or delegate responsibility. In addition, administrators can easily view site statistics and reports they might need to measure the effectiveness of their portal.

Changes to each user’s admin tools simplifies how each site user manages their personal account and settings.

Skype and HyperOffice – a winning combination in collaboration

Skype business collaboration software HyperOffice has been a big fan of Skype for many years, along with over 450 million other users who are using Skype. As of this summer Skype is delivering more international calls than any other telecom company in the world. With so many users on Skype – and its’ popularity amongst our customers, we recently changed the default IM and VOIP tool inside HyperOffice to Skype. Now clients can improve their collaboration experience inside  HyperOffice. i.e. if you are sharing documents in HyperOffice, and want to chat in real time you can click on IM (at the top right of the HyperOffice interface) and open a Skype session.  Unlike collaboration tools with private chat environments they’ve built themselves – with HyperOffice & Skype chances are the person you’re working with is on Skype too. Or lets say you’re working with shared contacts in HyperOffice, you can click on the small Skype icon next to the name to initiate a call (even free international calls if they’re Skype users) or chat with the stored contact. You can check out these two features in the video.

HyperOffice has had a lot of success using Skype internally – so when we heard Skype for Business was holding a contest, we entered, and we won first place! You can check Skype’s blog to see how HyperOffice improve sales with the help of Skype here.

I expect Skype will only get better (faster) now that Skype has broken away from eBay, and improve its’ application in the collaboration world further as more project teams and small business jump on board their well packaged Skype for Businesses offerings.

Thank you Skype for the award!

Collaboration Software is a hit with Virtual Assistants

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Last night the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce sponsored a webinar event for their members titled Leveraging Collabortive Virtual Office Technology for Virtual Assistants and Solopreneurs, where they invited HyperOffice to present our collaboration software suite. This was the second event we have done together, in response to the tremendous amount of interest we have from the Virtual Assistant community. Seems like the downturn in the economy is leading to greater demand for Virtual Assistants – since small businesses are laying off full-time staff, yet still have to keep up with the demands of trying to grow their business.

One of the common themes during the webinar was business productivity online suites  like HyperOffice help Virtual Assistants save time in trying to service their customers, allowing them to take on more clients in the same amount of time. One time saving trick  Danielle Keister, VACOC Founder and Virtual Assistant expert, shared with the group was creating a virtual drive which can be shared with between Virtual Assistants and their clients.

Danielle demonstrated how  HyperDrive can be setup in a couple minutes to create a central document repository where documents can be stored securely while giving access to clients to view and upload files and documents. As compared to other tools on the market, HyperDrive allows you to store multiple versions of a shared document without the clutter of sifting through multiple files with built in document version controls right from your windows explorer (also available on Mac). HyperOffice welcomes the Virtual Assistant community to try HyperOffice and take advantage of our deep domain expertise on setting up your virtual office to streamline your business using HyperOffice.

SaaS for SMBs – choosing the right vendor

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Choose the Right Vendor

Many small and medium sized businesses are quickly learning the benefits of buying SaaS, especially in this tough economy – but how do you go about making sure you pick the right vendor?  HyperOffice has published a white paper to help you ask the right questions, and will be offering a webinar hosted by Rusty Weston. Rusty was previously head of Research for InformationWeek for about 8 years and technologist focusing on distributed global knowledge workers.

According to a recent LinkedIn poll, http://polls.linkedin.com/p/32425/gwwxn the most popular applications which SMBs are going to SaaS for are online collaboration software followed by CRM. If you are considering SaaS the criteria for picking the right vendor is very similar (aside from meeting your feature/functional needs). To read the whitepaper and register for the webinar we are sponsoring on June 5th visit http://www.hyperoffice.com/saas-reviews-for-smbs/