What is Outlook Centric Collaboration?
Outlook centric collaboration is a normal mode of operation for many professional IT users, Microsoft® Outlook® is where people go to work, and is where collaboration happens.
You can argue how effective Outlook is as a collaborative tool but what you can’t argue with is that it is used as such in the vast majority of organizations and has been for a very long time.
Why is this?
The simple fact is that like the office applications such as Word® and Excel® the email client is the common ubiquitous tool in the communications area across large swathes of the IT landscape. Outlook with 100’s of millions of users is dominant.
Communication is a key component in collaboration, and for many professional users it is the lifeblood of their work. So while Outlook is not typically described as a collaborative tool or environment that is what it provides for users. Indeed, with some help to bring other essential collaborative elements into Outlook, it can become an extremely effective tool/environment for collaboration.
This is what Repstor’s products do. They extend Outlook to provide access to collaborative content held in Microsoft SharePoint® and other content stores so that users can work collaboratively in the environment with which they are extremely familiar. This is often the application that is open on their desktop all the time and makes it easy to get the job done. Not only that, but email itself is such a key content source in collaboration that having email available alongside other collaborative content is a key productivity improvement.
Gaining Broader Adoption of Collaboration tools
Product adoption of collaboration tools in larger organizations is greatest when users are highly motivated and relatively skilled (or have had appropriate training) and are engaged constantly in collaborative working. Users who are less motivated, or have only occasional needs for collaboration tend to either use the tools badly or not at all, and often revert to using email as the collaborative tool possibly along with File Shares or file sharing services to share documents resulting in issues around duplication of content. By building collaborative content management into Outlook, Repstor affinity™ brings broad enterprise adoption into play for large enterprises.
Benefits of Outlook Centric Collaboration with affinity™
By adding incremental collaborative capability to Outlook with Repstor affinity™ rather than introducing new and unfamiliar collaborative UI’s organizations can gain the benefits of collaboration without the need for large scale change management and all of the cost, time and risk that this entails.
- Gaining Broad Adoption If organizations want all users to participate, making collaboration available in Outlook means users can use already familiar ways of working to improve collaboration.
- Performance and Offline Working Caching of content means users never have to wait to view/edit their content whatever their network state, supporting both fixed and mobile workers.
- Native Email Support Virtually all collaboration has an email element, with correspondence from suppliers/customers/partners or reference material, therefore having email built in is a huge advantage.
Outlook and Exploiting Social
Outlook already supports social collaboration with plug in’s and the Social Pane. Microsoft have also recently announced that there will be more social collaboration built in to Outlook to leverage core Microsoft social technologies, so again using Outlook makes huge sense to very quickly gain broad adoption.