Archive for the ‘Collaboration Software’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

2013 state of collaboration – Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



5 Reasons Why ‘Cloud’ Should Be Part Of An Effective Business Continuity Plan

Self-preservation is the primary law of nature… and may I add – business. Business continuity plans are therefore an essential part of business.

To create a business continuity plan, we have to identify internal and external threats to both hard and soft assets of the company – but who can really prepare for an earthquake, violent storms, tsunamis or tornadoes? Who can be ready when such calamities strike? These may not have been immediate concerns before, but we’ve seen Mother Nature strike one too many times to ignore a contingency plan.

Nowadays, business continuity has become an unpredictable variable. Timely enough, we now have the technology to protect our precious data – cloud computing. Because of cloud computing services, we can safely tuck away our data in remote data centres. If you have not yet adapted ‘cloud’ services as part of your business continuity plan, here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider it:

Safety of “Soft” Business Assets = Business Continuity

Cloud computing has 3 service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS). Businesses can use these 3 services to host all of their “soft” assets such as: data, CRM, servers, tools, software etc. This ensures that, come what weather, virus or other contingency, the company’s data is secure.

Though you may ask, what if it was the data centres who experience the “unexpected contingencies”? Great question. They’ve thought of that as well, that’s why data centres have backups of your data, and backups of backups. Unlike the usual in-house IT servers, data centres are all about hardware muscle.

Stability = Business Continuity

Because your entire system is hosted on a remote server with much more muscle (hardware), you can count on its stability compared to an in-house IT. The reason why most systems crash or fail is because their in-house IT doesn’t have the hardware to churn the processes of several users. As your business gets larger, it’ll be hard to keep things on track unless you buy/increase your hardware. So, by leveraging on the hardware muscle of cloud services, your system becomes ‘more’ stable.

Faster = Customer Satisfaction = Business Continuity

When we need speed, we need better hardware. Cloud computing services have stacks and columns of servers with ‘super’ capacities. When we avail of, say SaaS, we are letting the servers of the cloud computing company do all the heavy lifting re: processes, software, storage. Compared to their hardware our computers, even if it has an i7 processor, are still mice. When we leverage the capacities and capabilities of these “heavy duty” computers, we can do our work faster because there is no processing happening on our end.

Reduced Operating Costs = Business Continuity

Cloud computing services help you reduce operating costs significantly! For example, you have a graphic design company that functions on 30 computers. For your employees to work, you need a graphic design software – let’s say Photoshop. Imagine the cost of having to purchase 30 licenses for Photoshop in order to install it on every employee’s computer. That’s quite an expense.

When you adapt the ‘cloud’, you can install just a single licensed software on the server and then it can be accessed by all of your employees. But you only need one license because technically the software is installed on just one computer (the server).

Global Workforce = Business Continuity

Wherever you are in the world, you can access the cloud. So whether your office is in the U.S., having global branches/reaches is possible – and it’s cheaper. And you won’t have to worry about latency problems – your data travelling from the US to Asia – because they are in the internet, so you just need the right bandwidth. The beauty of cloud computing services, such as that of Netsuite’s CRM or HyperOffice’s collaboration solutions, is that you see data real-time!

I’m sure that it is every entrepreneur’s dream to expand and launch their business internationally, as well as to keep their business alive long-term – with cloud computing software that dream ain’t too far to reach.

About the author

Vanessa Parks is a Freelance Systems Analyst and Cloud Storage Consultant. She has been an advocate of Desktop virtualisation and unified computing for improved work efficiency and performance. She also has a passion in dancing, cooking and playing golf.

What is your collaboration style? French Garden or English Garden? (Infographic)

Two top managers disagree profoundly. Abel, CEO of a happening young startup, believes that if he gives his team room to be creative, everything will fall in place for the company. Abraham, President at a large real estate agency, won’t hear a word of it. According to him, you need to give people context – in terms of clearly defined responsibilities, processes and roles –  so that they can channel their creativity to improve the organization.

Neither of them is completely right. They are right in their own situations. Through a gardening metaphor, the following infographic studies these two broad approaches to collaborating in organizations. Which one are you?

(click to enlarge)

Infographic – Cloud Collaboration in Healthcare

Collaboration, or the act of working together, is universal across business types and industries – education, healthcare, real estate, government or any other. However, each industry has its own specific language for referring to things, and puts different emphasis on different collaborative processes.  The purpose of this series is to use a simple visual format to describe how cloud collaboration technology could be useful in your industry.

The first infograph is about cloud collaboration software in the healthcare and wellness industry – hospitals, doctors offices, laboratories, health related back-office firms, pharma companies and hundreds of other organizations.  You may check the following page for HyperOffice cloud collaboration offerings for healthcare.

Click to enlarge



What is social task management? How is it an improvement over traditional project management?

HyperOffice had the privilege of being featured in a recent report on “getting work done with social task management” by expert analyst Alan Lepofsky.

As the “team work” market evolves at a dizzying pace, and throws up new memes left, right and center – social collaboration, social business, social intranet, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social networking – end users are understandably lost. The natural question to ask is – what “social” solution meets my needs?

Social task management is suitable for companies which are mainly looking to coordinate the activities and effort of a team spread across locations and company boundaries. The emphasis is on “projects”, where everyone contributes a specific part, at a specific time in a chain of activities.

The “project approach” is important in modern businesses, so project management software has been popular and around for a while. These software let you create the structure of a project, lay out the exact sequence of activities, set milestones, specify complex relationships between activities, assign tasks to the right people, set priorities, attach resources and so on – a massive improvement on managing projects doing this through Excel spreadsheets and email.

However, traditional project management software suffers from the some major drawbacks, which social task management improves upon:

What about the conversations? Projects don’t operate in a vacuum. Often, intense conversations between managers and the team happen before the project, and even during the project, as the project often evolves to a form quite different from how it started out.  While project management software is good for getting organized once the project is underway, it completely ignores the conversations.  Conversations end up taking place disjointedly on email, IM, or through verbal conversations and are forever lost once finished.

Social task management begins with conversations. It’s open, conversational environment, allows everyone to get together, discusses issues, and then, at the appropriate times, tasks and projects are set up and assigned  on the fly. And the conversations don’t end there, they continue right up to the end as new issues arise, specifications change and deadlines are altered. These conversations are forever captured for anyone else who might want to look at the project.

Emails are inefficient for updates. Even traditional project management software needs to keep the team informed about changes in the project. Say, if someone completed their task, people further up the chain and the manager need to be notified. Traditional systems use email for these notifications. This however, has disadvantages, where these notifications might get lost in a sea of other email, and the recipient still has to log into the PM system to get more details. With frequent updates coming in, and so much else to work on, these extra few clicks make all the different where people never log in and end up missing deadlines.

Social task management systems have a feedback loop built in, where everyone can have conversations, get change notifications, and access and update their tasks all from a single place – their project walls. Not only that, this is a single place they can access everything across projects, not just a single project.

Project management systems are not share-friendly. Traditional project management systems mostly confine every participant to their specific part of the project. There is no easy way to show your task to other people, get their advice, or even get clear visibility to what others are working on. In a real business situation however, activities are never demarcated in neat packages, and everyone helps everyone else in a joint effort to drive the effort to completion.

Social task management solutions bring with them the openness and free sharing of social tools. Inviting others to look, advice and contribute to your task often means just a click.

As Alan Lepofsky lays out in his report, social task management systems come as pure social task management systems, or broader social business suites with task management as a component part. HyperOffice represents the latter approach, because we feel that task management, even with a social layer, is not independent of other collaborative effort – meeting coordination, document collaboration, workflows. Companies, as they grow in size, and take a strategic view of their collaboration software might prefer this approach. You make want to take a look at our social collaboration tools.

Why Social is an improvement over Email – Our take

Albeit a little belatedly, I got wind of a very interesting debate spurred by Alan Lepofsky of Constellation Research, where he compares email to social messaging as a notifications and communication system. We’ve spoken to Alan before, and were privileged to be featured in his recent report – Getting Work Done With Social Task Management (a must read for forward thinking managers). Alan is one of the thought leaders in collaboration and social business and we have high regard for his depth of knowledge.

Alan brings up 3 important points, which we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ourselves. He feels that some of the touted benefits of social tools over email are, well, BS. They replace one kind of chaos with another. Our responses:

Alan 1. Email feels mandatory where social networks are voluntary. BS! As companies adopt internal social networks the pressure to “check your stream” is going to be just the same as “check your inbox”.
Agreed. Moving from email to social tools at work is simply a question of moving your digital “home”. Email is our default home because today, it happens to be the hub where all important work related activity is taking place. In the past decade, there have been efforts to make other tools the workers’ digital home – the intranet for example. That didn’t go over so well. However, we believe that making your social wall your digital home brings some marked benefits, and warrants this move:

1. You keep track of only internal activity on your work related social walls. Email on the other hand attracts every imaginable communication and notification from the outside world. Important internal communications get lost in this sea all the time. Although modern business social networks do let users monitor some external information, this information still comes through filters. Email, in contrast is the playground of every scammer and marketer in the world.

2. Email is siloed. Every email exchange exists in a block, available to only the sender and receiver, which gets buried soon after it was created. The business knowledge captured in an email is forever locked away and can almost never be used to benefit the business in the long term. On the other hand, social tools are open and encourage even people not in the original conversation to participate, and transform that information into new unexpected forms that will benefit the organization.

3. Email is inefficient, in that every exchange creates a new block of information. Information is therefore duplicated exponentially, as it is sent back and forth time and again. Social tools on the other hand pull people to central copies of information.

4. Social tools have a superior structure. The overall information design of social tools with activity streams, comment threads, profiles, seems to be vastly more user friendly than email, as amply proved by the success of services like tools like Facebook. Social tools bring further benefits like linking you right back to the object notifications relate to – for example in HyperOffice, you can access a task right from the task notification.

Alan 2. You can check social networks when it’s convenient as opposed to feeling like your inbox is waiting for you 24*7. BS! As companies adopt social networking people’s expectations will be that you’re always monitoring the stream.
Agreed. But monitoring a social stream is easier since it mostly relates to internal activity or highly filtered information.

Alan 3. Any reduction in the number of emails is a good thing. OMG I hate this one. Now instead of checking my inbox I have to check Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Yammer, LinkedIn, etc. Uggghhhh.
Adoption definitely suffers when people are expected to manage work through multiple software. However, when we refer to social business tools, we are talking about a single internal social network. Keeping on top of multiple networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin is indeed becoming important for modern businesses, but that is more in the domain of social media marketing and social CRM. Social business software relates to working together with colleagues and partners. So even if you mainly use email, you still have to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. for the above purposes.

My arguments relate to the superiority of using a private social network over email for internal communications and monitoring system. However, to interact with the outer world, email still seems to be the best tool, simply because different email systems can interact with each other through standard protocols. Social software is not yet at that level of maturity. We fully recognize this reality, for which reason email remains an important cornerstone of our HyperOffice suite.



Guest Post – The Cloud in the Public Sector: Is it real or is it myth?

Blogger Bio

Jim Sweeney has more than 35 years of experience in the development and integration of a broad range of enterprise IT applications and technologies. He has held several roles including technical, sales and marketing positions over his career. For the last four years, Jim has served as the Manager of the Virtualization and Cloud Computing Consulting Practice at GTSI, working with different federal, state and local agencies on a variety of technical solutions primarily focused in the areas of server, desktop, application virtualization as well as storage virtualization and consolidation. He just finished a book titled “Get your head in the clouds” discussing the relevance of the cloud for the public sector in detail, with scores of real life implementaions.


There has been a lot of hype over the last year about Cloud Computing (not to mention Big Data, and a whole host of other topics, but that’s another blog post). But has there been more than talk? Vendors are jumping on the bandwagon left and right and now even Oracle has announced that they are in the public and private IaaS Cloud business.(see my latest blog post for GTSI). But what about customers? Are they just listening at the moment or is there real movement to implement real Cloud solutions in the public sector?

Well I am happy to report that the answer is a resounding “Yes”. There are real customers at real agencies that have already adopted the Cloud for one or more services. AWS announced this morning at their annual Federal Conference that there are over 300 agencies already using them. They spent a lot of the day trying to clear up the misconceptions surrounding Cloud. In fact, this is the purpose of my new book on Cloud, entitled: “Get Your Head in the Cloud: Unraveling the Mystery for Public Sector”. Actually the purpose is two fold:

1. Clear up all the FUD that is out there as to the types of Cloud and the various deployment models of Cloud. I make it simple for even the non-technical folks out there to understand.

2. Give real examples of customers at all levels of the public sector, federal, state and local, that have already made use of this exciting new technology. Here are just a couple of examples:

a. Many people are afraid of the Cloud. But the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab jumped right in. You see, they figured they were going to get blamed anyway if their customers went around them to the Cloud and had it blow up in their faces, so they took a proactive approach. You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story but suffice it to say that there are 180,000 images of Mars now sitting in the Amazon public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Cloud.

b. Lot of people throw “Security” as a reason for not going to the public Cloud. But that is exactly one of the challenges that the Department of Labor overcame when they outsourced their entire Financial Management system to a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, GCE. Not only did they immediately see returns but all of the auditing problems they had before the transition were gone!

c. Finally, let me say a word about the agencies that have announced their intention to move to a SaaS email provider, some to Microsoft and their Office 365 Cloud and some to Google and their Gmail offering. This is a great move by the various agencies. While we have to wait for some of the final numbers the case study in the book, State of Minnesota, has already seen tremendous savings in both dollars and headaches by moving to the new system.

Finally, let me say a word about HyperOffice. Over 200,000 customers now use their SaaS product as a replacement for Microsoft Office. Can you imagine not having to handle the installation, configuration and patching of all of your various versions of Office Suites out there today? Their technology really does make it easy for you. And by moving to a SaaS provider like HyperOffice you are one step closer to that other technology that is getting a lot of press recently, BYOD (Bring Your own Device).

The Cloud is here. The Cloud is now. It is not right for every service that IT provides to its customers, but with budget cuts looming and staffs that are already overworked, Cloud can provide monetary savings as well as relief for your current IT staff.

As always, thanks for reading.

Hierarchical (Group) vs. Social Collaboration

Collaboration software, starting with Lotus Notes, have mostly been structured into “groups”. A “group” is a gated pocket of information and tools, accessible only to members of that group. This structure is a reflection of how organizations are structured – into “divisions”, or “departments”, or “teams” or “offices”.

Designing collaboration software this way is a massive improvement over the previous (and still persistent) generation of collaboration software – email.

The email approach to information sharing is by its nature unstructured – every time you need to share something with someone, you simply create a new email and sent it out. It in no way distinguishes between people within a group, outside that group, or even outside the organization.

However, in a company, a “group” is a coherent unit, with a defined purpose, with people who need to work together closely, often on repeat activities, sharing the same information much of the time (a Sales team accessing a standard contract form for example). It is massively inefficient to create a new email everytime you need to share information with a colleague.

A “group” in the collaboration software provides a dedicated online environment to this closely knit unit of people to accomplish joint tasks – a team calendar to coordinate team schedules, project management functionality to schedule team activities, document folders to allow access to documents and so on. In addition, it also includes tools which are not purely task related, like motivational tools (displaying an exceptional performer for example) or tools relating to employee development (gathering employee feedback).

Social collaboration – an alternative?

But this approach is not without demerits. In a real business environment, although people within a group need to work together closely, they are not self-sustained or disconnected from the rest of the organization. These groups often need to work together with and access information from other groups – cross departmental teams for example, or have ad-doc collaboration needs (Sales needing a collateral document from Marketing, for example). The “group” structure can sometimes be restrictive and siloed when it comes to these inter-group information flows.

Social collaboration is a new approach, which combines elements of both email and group collaboration. On the one hand it spurs ad-hoc connections across the organization, but is also geared for groups of people – you can browse other people’s profiles, post messages, invite others to the conversation, attach documents etc. It seems to be suitable for modern organizations, where information freely flows across the organization, and temporary cross department teams often come together to complete projects.

The best approach then, is not social collaboration OR group collaboration, but a combination of the two. Group collaboration tools allow closely knit teams to work together. Social tools layered over these collaboration tools allow team members to access information within their group, and share it with other groups, insofar as they have rights to that information.

5 Benefits of an Intranet – Revisited Graphically

As I was writing the blog entry about 5 intranet benefits a couple of weeks ago, I realized people simply prefer to consume this kind of information in an intuitive, graphical format. Without further ado, please see the 5 benefits of an intranet in graphic form. Please feel free to share it. If you want to start creating your own intranet, get started here.


To embed this image on your page, please use the following code

<div><a href=” http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/intranet-benefits.png ” mce_href=”http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/intranet-benefits.png ” target=”_blank”><img src=” http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/intranet-benefits.png ” mce_src=”http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/intranet-benefits.png ” alt=”5 benefits of an intranet” /></a><br /><a href=”http://www.hyperoffice.com/intranet-software-solution/” mce_href=”http://www.hyperoffice.com/intranet-software-solution/” target=”_blank”>from HyperOffice</a></div>