In a few weeks, I will be part of a panel discussion at Info360 on the subject of SharePoint adoption. The panel has been organized by the good people at Harmon.ie, and the topic is one that is close to my heart, and Harmon.ie has been critical to end-user adoption in our company. Harmon.ie for Outlook is just about the only add-on for SharePoint that I would label as being essential. If you’re using SharePoint in support of Enterprise Content Management, you simply have to have an email integration solution – you can’t do better than Harmon.ie.
About a month ago, we were notified that the Harmon.ie iPad app existed, but had not yet launched. My Systems Administrator and I both downloaded it immediately. The app comes with the ability to connect to a demonstration server, but we sidestepped that in favor of the real deal. We pointed Harmon.ie to our production SharePoint server. The app didn’t just work, it worked like Harmon.ie and that is something special. Rather than just help break the news about the app, I decided to include the reactions of one of our end-users – let’s call him Andy. To understand who we are dealing with, Andy is an attorney, he works with tons of documents and 95% of them are in SharePoint. At some point in the process, most of those documents were also in an email. Andy’s sound bite regarding Harmon.ie is “I can’t imagine Outlook without Harmon.ie” he goes on: “it lets me make Outlook my work platform. Between Outlook and Harmon.ie, I read, review and manage the content I have to work with” Andy has also been known to say “I almost never go to SharePoint!” I have seen him work, and that last bit is true; he navigates his world of content from Outlook and the Harmon.ie sidebar.
Andy is also one of our employees who is carrying an iPad and trying to figure out how not to be carrying it next to a laptop. When I told him about the Harmon.ie app, he was excited. Andy was aware of our previous solutions for the iPad, and while they worked, he thought they were “a little clunky” and he pointed out that he was glad to have options, but he knew he wasn’t going to use them on a regular basis. I think that statement points to one of the big things Harmon.ie got right – the Harmon.ie app works the way you would expect an iOS app to work. The first thing we reviewed was handing an attachment in email, which goes like this:
- Select the attachment in email
- Open in Harmon.ie
- Store in SharePoint
That’s the way we use Harmon.ie in the office with Outlook, that’s what we usually need to do and that’s what we expected. An added bonus is the fact that this works with all email clients. Previously, if I got an attachment in my gMail account, I would forward it to my ANI account to get it into SharePoint; now, there’s one less step involved.
Andy and I both work with MySites; so does Harmon.ie. Of course, in order to work with my MySite, I had to add that location to the Sites Harmon.ie is aware of. I also had to add our Technology site, and Andy had to add the Legal site, since these are all in separate site collections. One very nice feature that Andy discovered is that the app lets you tap a little star next to each library or document, which adds them to your favorites. I’ve studied how to write iOS apps, and I’ve written a few; this is how they are supposed to work. The app should be intuitive, it should feel like it anticipated your needs, and Harmon.ie does just that. We can find what we need, read or edit the content, update the properties, send a link to the document, send the document or just put it back in SharePoint.
One bit of disappointment came when we tried to add our SSL secured Internet-facing server. Harmon.ie couldn’t connect to the server. We contacted Harmon.ie support, we worked with them, gave them a test login on our server and I am thrilled to report that the app has been updated and the problem has been solved. One feature that is missing today is the ability to delete documents from SharePoint. We have been told that this will be added in the near future. These two responses illustrate what we already knew about the Harmon.ie team – they are responsive. We were an early adopter of Harmon.ie and their track record for fixing problems and adding the features we want is excellent so I have no worries.
I’ve written about other SharePoint solutions for the iPad, in fact, my second most popular blog entry is on that subject. My most popular blog entry is one in which I groused that I didn’t want an iPad, yeah well, what did I know? SharePoint is huge, and the market for add-on is equally large. The Harmon.ie app is a most welcome addition to my iPad, and this time, I know my coworkers are going to agree.