Posts Tagged ‘partner news’

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.

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.”

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.

Make way for the all-new HyperOffice Collaboration Suite!

As you know, we announced the general availability of the all-new HyperOffice on the 20th of May. This announcement official ended a 6-month beta involving rigorous testing by thousands of our users, resulting in hundreds of bug fixes and enhancements.

The beta was steered by a “Product Development Committee” comprised of in-house experts and HyperOffice users. We made frequent trips to customer sites and conducted detailed customer interviews to get the new version just right.

As you know, the online collaboration market keeps growing like there is no stopping. New participants are entering the fray every passing day, Microsoft just launched its new collaborative range of products – SharePoint and Office 2010, even as Google and Microsoft fiercely wage the collaboration battle.

Being a pioneer in the online collaboration domain, we plan to ride this wave at its crest. The all-new HyperOffice has generated a lot of excitement in the market, and the whos-who in tech media had great things to say about the product. With our experience and depth of understanding of the market, our laser focus on small businesses, and a supercharged HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, we are hoping this will be a critical point in our company’s growth.

Here’s what the media had to say:-

Christopher Dawson from ZDnet, one of the world’s top authorities on Google Apps and online collaboration wrote in Can HyperOffice out-simplify Google Apps?

HyperOffice takes the relative simplicity of Google Apps and provides a turnkey SaaS solution”

David Roe from CMSWire wrote in his article HyperOffice to Take on Google Apps, Microsoft Web Apps?

While the release will give small companies the ability to collaborate with inexpensive and accessible tools, the release should also stir up the already turbulent and cloud app invested waters which Google and Microsoft (news, site) (with its upcoming Web Apps release) have been fighting in for months.

Matthew Weinberger of mspmentor.com wrote in his article HyperOffice Launches New Version of Cloud Collaboration Suite

I had the chance to take the new version of HyperOffice for a spin and came away intrigued – it feels almost like a desktop operating system in the browser window, and for the most part it had the responsiveness to match.

HyperOffice Nudges Google, IBM Aside with Cloud Apps for SMBs wrote Clint Boulton from eWeek in Dec when we had launched our beta.

HyperOffice launches new beta to take on Google Apps wrote Chris Kanaracus of IDG back in Dec.

It is great to see our vision resonate with the market. As Christopher Dawson said “there are many ways to skin the cat” (meaning many ways to serve the online collaboration market) and we hope to continue bringing a very distinct and compelling approach to this “skinning”.

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.

SharePoint 2010 and Growing Businesses

ms2010It is usual for all Microsoft launches to be associated with a lot of hoopla and fanfare. A similar scene precedes the soon to come Microsoft launch of its 2010 series – SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010 and Office 2010. A recent report on SharePoint 2010 by Forrester cut through the talk and came out with a rather strong conclusion – SharePoint 2010 may be overkill for some.

The exact phrasing of that conclusion evoked a kind of sense of deja vu here at HyperOffice. Isn’t it what we have been saying for SharePoint for years?

First, the report.

The new version of SharePoint has greatly bolstered its cloud capabilities and web 2.0 features, areas in which SharePoint was traditionally lagging.

According to Rob Koplowitz, a principal analyst at Forrester and author of the report, SharePoint 2010 is “evolving  SharePoint beyond its server application role to become a full-fledged platform reaching from the intranet to the cloud and out onto developers’ palettes.”

Sounds great?

Well, not if you are not looking for an application development platform, but looking for a set of tools, which will allow distributed teams to collaborate and work better.

Rob advices that new users should evaluate the software’s feature set and make sure it is not overkill. He says that SharePoint 2010 “can be a hammer, but not everything is nail.” He concludes that SharePoint 2010 is likely not a fit for those with basic needs.

This applies especially to growing businesses, which don’t have a complex technological landscape, have a small or no IT department, and need to enable their teams without going to through long and winding learning curves. They need a plug and play toolkit which helps them work together better (file storage and collaboration, wikis, intranet workspaces, task management, online meetings etc), as well as tools to help improve productivity (shared calendars, address books, email, to-do lists, email, mobile access to corporate data etc). At the same time, these companies need a certain degree of customization, which they can easily accomplish without much expertise.

HyperOffice’s web based total collaboration software approach suits this segment perfectly, which is why we have been positioning ourselves for this segment for years as a “Sharepoint Alternative” for growing businesses.

Although SharePoint 2010 is a lot more web savvy than its predecessor, its target audience seems to remain the same – large enterprises with a complex technological context and highly customized needs.  Some other basics of the solution remain the same that make it unsuitable for growing businesses – it’s server based, complex, and more an IT department tool than an end user tool.

HyperOffice Makes Deeper Inroads into Global Collaboration Software Markets

vncNext week we will announce a new partnership with VNC – a European distributor with resellers in Europe, Middle-East and Africa. This partnership represents another important step in gradually building a carefully selected and qualified distribution channel. There has never been any doubt about the importance of a channel to the long term success of HyperOffice. The challenge has been timing and finding the right partners.

Timing

For a partnership to be successful there has to be a viable and sustainable business relationship. In other words our partners have to be successful in generating revenues and profits in order for our partnership to grow and thrive. One way partnerships don’t last long and don’t make economic sense. A few years back when we were exploring different channel models and partnerships we quickly realized that the market was not yet ready for a broad scale push to cloud based collaboration and messaging.

As a result we felt our partners would likely run into undue friction in their sales and marketing efforts. Today, the market has changed dramatically. Cloud based collaboration has moved from a niche technology to mainstream. Businesses of any size and representing any industry are comfortable with this new technology and in most cases interested to learn more. Businesses are looking to their trusted advisors (resellers, consultants, vars…etc) to guide them through their options and to help them benefit from the cloud. Resellers and partners are now in a position where they can choose to embrace this new shift in how technology is sold, delivered and consumed and profit from it.

Right partner

In the traditional software/hardware sales cycle, a reseller’s economic incentive is aligned with the vendor and not the customer’s ROI. In other words the majority of the effort on the reseller’s part is focused on making the initial sale. Once the sale is made the end customer will have to spend time, more money or both to get the technology they just purchased, deployed. Even more troubling is the fact that they are fully invested in that technology and stuck with it.

This model does not work well for most organizations and in particular for smb’s who lack the resources and the time for needs analysis, contract negotiation, large capital expenditure, long term IT planning and deployment. In the cloud model on the other hand the economic incentives for resellers, customers and vendors are all aligned with maximizing customer’s roi and with maintaining it through the life of the relationship. In this new model the customer’s investment in technology is spread over the life of their contract and is not concentrated all upfront. As a result the customer is in control and can cancel a service with minimum downside if they are not happy.  Therefore, the successful reseller will have to adjust their business processes from sales and marketing to support to accommodate customers in this new world. The right partner for us therefore is an organization with:-

1.      An understanding and appreciation for cloud based collaboration

2.      The infrastructure, processes and mindset that can help customers drive value from HyperOffice long after the initial sale has been made

3.   The required credibility to serve as a trusted adviser to their customers and partners

An established distributor in the SaaS and cloud marketplace, VNC offers a deep understanding of the cloud based collaboration market, along with a mature sales and support infrastructure. The executives at VNC have managed to build and operate a thriving distribution business while keeping ahead of the market and identifying the next important trend.

VNC is an ideal partner to take the next step with as we work to continue to build global marketing channels for the new generation of HyperOffice services and technologies.