Collaboration can’t be clunky if it’s going to succeed, according to Harmon.ie chief executive Yaacov Cohen. That’s why their latest release focuses on providing the simplicity users expect with compliance businesses need.
Harmon.ie is a service that integrates with Outlook on the desktop and offers standalone apps on mobile devices that integrate Microsofts various offerings with SharePoint functionality, offering a more intuitive, consistent way for teams to collaborate.
Key to its simplicity is what Harmon.ie touts as its single screen experience across devices: Whether you’re on desktop, tablet, or mobile (including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone), Harmon.ie pulls together all the data and documents available in a SharePoint group and makes them easily accessible, allowing quick previews, comments, and collaboration.
In addition to the usual line up of .DOCX and .XLSX files is email, which Harmon.ie treats as a first-class citizen.
“We think emails need to be treated as documents,” said Cohen. He said Harmon.ie allows you to easily add a key email to SharePoint so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, and even lets you import draft emails from Outlook for collaborative editing before they get sent. The hope is that by integrating email seamlessly into SharePoint, you can actually reduce the number of emails you have to send — as well as avoid the miscommunications that occur when various copies of a draft are passed around.
That kind of integration is part of the goal Harmon.ie has of adapting the needs of IT to the way workers actually work (which, for better or worse, is often largely out of their inbox and with little patience for systems that slow them down).
“Over at Harmon.ie, we’ve been humanizing SharePoint,” he said. “There’s a huge tension between IT and the business side. That’s what Harmon.ie is working on, how do we get them to align.”
Cohen said that Harmon.ie’s latest work was building off Microsoft’s embrace of the cloud, particularly with Office 365, which helped bridge the gap between on-premise and off-premise workers.
“If you use the cloud, you don’t need these complex containers that are killing productivity and usage. You go back to the usability versus compliance,” he said, dismissing other approaches that silo data in multiple places. “How do you expect a business user to switch around a dozen applications? No business has been successful by being distracted.”