Harmonie to Integrate IBM Connections With Outlook Mail

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Harmonie, whose software links enterprise social applications with email clients, has struck a deal with IBM to integrate IBM Connections with Outlook.

The Harmonie product will let users monitor IBM Connections notifications and perform IBM Connections actions from a sidebar in Outlook, saving them from having to toggle between the email application and the interface of the IBM software, the company plans to announce on Tuesday.

Enterprise social software like IBM Connections provides Facebook-like and Twitter-like features and functionality but is designed for workplace use. Through features like employee profiles, status updates, activity streams, microblogging and document sharing, enterprise social software is designed to improve collaboration and communication among employees.

Letting users manage their enterprise social software accounts from within their email applications generally leads to a higher usage of enterprise social software, said David Lavenda, Harmonie's vice president of marketing and product strategy.

"Getting business users to adopt enterprise social platforms is somewhat challenging because people have to learn a new interface and check a new collaboration application," he said. "With Harmonie, we want to bring collaboration capabilities into a single place to make them easier for people to use."

The Harmonie product for IBM Connections will also aggregate within the Outlook sidebar, Microsoft SharePoint documents and Microsoft Lync functionality like IM and video conferencing. Through an OEM agreement, IBM will be in charge of selling the Harmonie product for IBM Connections to its customers.

Harmonie is also updating the free version of its product for SharePoint and Outlook, called Harmonie for SharePoint -- Outlook Edition. Enhancements include the ability to "follow" real-time notifications of changes to documents, as well as new analytics features, including automated suggestions of colleagues to connect with.

Harmonie also makes a version of this product for users of the Lotus Notes email client. Harmonie has sold about 500,000 licenses of the Harmonie for SharePoint products for Outlook and Notes. Free trial versions of the products have also been downloaded about 500,000 times.

Founded in 1993, Harmonie had revenue growth of 259 percent in 2011, when it also became a Gold ISV partner in the Microsoft Partner Network and added about 145 new enterprise customers to its roster, according to Lavenda.

Its customers include Mercedes Benz, Raytheon, Toshiba and Amway.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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