By Ron Miller
HyperOffice released a new version of its online collaboration platform, which attempts to bring all the tools you need to communicate and share information in a single tool. Think of it as Outlook meets Yammer in a single package.
Like Outlook, it provides an email tool where you can communicate in a conventional fashion, but as you get relevant emails–such as a new project–you can define a project, build a team, assign tasks, schedule meetings and save files to cloud storage, all without leaving your email.
Once you have those tasks complete, you can communicate in a social stream on the team wall–not unlike Yammer. You can work with individuals or groups, and team members can be inside or outside the organization, allowing you to bring in freelancers, suppliers or other interested parties who need to be in the loop about the project.
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The product brings together all the tasks you would need to manage a project in the cloud in a single, unified interface.
Not surprisingly, Farzin Arsanjani, president of HyperOffice, believes his product is filling a gap in the market. “We believe social collaboration and structured collaboration belong together. The benefits cut both ways–socialization becomes subordinate to productivity, while the silos of collaborative structures are broken,” he said.
The idea is to use the team wall with the social communication stream to get news out faster than email would allow. It also has instant messaging capability for those who prefer to use that.
Jenna Balegno, Executive Brand Manager at Canter Companies, an investment company and HyperOffice customer, sees this ability to communicate directly across the team as a huge benefit of the tool. “Our business involves so much back and forth communication between a number of people who might be in various locations. Using email to accomplish these conversations was unproductive and resulted in overloaded inboxes. I am sure everyone can relate to this,” she said.
While HyperOffice would have you believe that it’s the first to do this. They’re not. There are plenty of enterprise social players, many of which work with Outlook, rather than building their own email client, to produce the same result . But that said, if you’re looking for a single, cloud-based solution that frees you from using Office products, this is worth looking at.