Posts Tagged ‘Online Collaboration’

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.

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 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/

Email Overload solved by Online Collaboration

Email overload is starting to become recognized as the biggest culprit of lost productivity. I began researching this topic a couple weeks ago and found that just in the last 3 months alone there have been articles written by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, segments on TV news stations, and dozens of blog entries trying to wrestle with this problem. A very recent Basex Research study has found that information overload, including email interruptions, cost businesses $900 billion annually in terms of productivity. I found that there are a few distinct approaches to this problem.

The first group of solutions involves best practices. For example, filing emails into folders, signing a truce with your co-workers to not always reply to all and use subject lines more effectively, don’t read email in the morning, and the list goes on. The second, is managing spam. Buying the latest spam filter, or going with a business email service that will do this for you…well, and how to avoid getting on these lists. The third approach assumes that if you are getting too many emails you have some broken internal business process that needs to be streamlined and email should not be used in ways it was not intended. For example, using email to collaborate on documents, scheduling meetings, getting updates on projects, etc.  Moving to online workspaces is where I think the biggest improvements can be made. I speak with so many businesses each day who have to collaborate but are using email to share information with their team.

To better understand the causes of email overload and how to improve productivity while cutting back on email is what we discuss in a white paper published today at http://www.hyperoffice.com/business-email-overload Please review this study and join us for a live webinar where our special guest speaker, James Gaskin, a well respected columnist who writes on technology topics for SMBs at NetworkWorld and IT World will discuss this topic in detail. This online seminar is open to the public and we expect a lively discussion about how to solve email overload at your organization. Read more and register for the May 28th webinar here