• United States

ePeople adds Outlook support

Jan 20, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

Recognizing the importance of e-mail and the popularity of Microsoft Outlook, ePeople this week will pull the two together as part of a new client for their server-based collaboration software.

With Version 5.1 of ePeople Teamwork, the company is adding support for Outlook as a client, letting users have a collaboration environment that will capture and integrate e-mail-based conversions from within the Outlook interface.

The idea is to let companies integrate all the information gathered from applications and collaborative software, including e-mail, into a central location without having to train users on new client software.

“It makes great sense since you know people will spend a lot of time in your application, but you don’t want to fight for supremacy on the desktop,” says Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research. “ePeople has the ability to bring people together, harvest data and turn it into information.”

The ePeople software competes with products from Kubi, which also adds collaboration features into Outlook. Platform vendors such as Microsoft and IBM/Lotus are using Outlook as front-end options for their collaborative environments.

The ePeople client hooks into its companion server, which is targeted at sales, support and service workers. The server creates an archive of information built around e-mail discussions and information stored in line-of-business applications such as CRM.

“We are trying to put a layer of context between applications,” says Andrew Lye, ePeople’s CEO. “E-mail is a significant data store, but there is no visibility into individual mailboxes. All of the e-mail collaboration outside the line-of-business applications is invisible to the rest of the organization.”

To heighten visibility, ePeople adds a set of buttons to the Outlook interface and a folder where a user can access their Teamwork spaces on the ePeople server, which integrates with software from PeopleSoft, SAP and Siebel.

E-mail sent to workspaces on the ePeople server also appears in users’ Outlook mailboxes with an indicator that it is part of ePeople. Users then can read, respond and file the e-mail directly from Outlook or access the server through Outlook and see their entire ePeople Teamwork space.

Users also can take existing e-mail threads and import them into the ePeople server and tag them to a particular Teamwork space, creating a trail of information that can be audited and archived for future reference.

The archived information can be used to track experts on certain topics or find information related to a specific task.

Within Outlook, users also can review specific issues related to a collaborative workspace, assign tasks to other team members or work on assigned tasks.

The server is priced at $20,000 and the per-user licensing is $1,200 per year. A hosted version also is available starting at 10 users for $480 each per year.