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Mainsoft To Help Lotus Notes Users Get Social With SharePoint

Forthcoming software from Mainsoft aims to turn Lotus Notes inboxes into a collaboration dashboard that will leverage social networking features in SharePoint 2010. Users will be able to move attachments and documents between Notes and SharePoint and access SharePoint sites from the Notes user interface. Mainsoft's product, SharePoint Integration for Lotus Notes 2.5, will be available as a beta at the end of March. SharePoint 2010 is expected to be generally available this summer.

SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes 2.5 creates a sidebar window in the Notes UI. This sidebar shows all the user's SharePoint sites. Users can drag attachments from Notes into a SharePoint folder, and that attachment becomes available within SharePoint for other users who have access to that site and directory. Users can also drag files from SharePoint to attach in a Notes e-mail. E-mails themselves can also be dragged into the sidebar, where they are saved in SharePoint as a .eml file. Because it's a .eml file, users can also drag the message from SharePoint back into the inbox, where they can reply to it, forward it, and so on.

The product will also integrate the social networking features of SharePoint 2010 into Notes. For example, by hovering over a user's e-mail address in Notes, a small window pops up with that user's basic contact information as well as a link to the user's SharePoint profile and My Site page. My Site pages are Facebook-like pages that users can create in SharePoint. They include information such areas of expertise, project teams, photos and microblogging. Users can also search for employees from the Notes UI that will return results from SharePoint.

The software will also be able to aggregate SharePoint calendars with a user's Notes calendar, providing a single view of events, meetings and other information. This can be particularly useful for employees who belong to multiple work teams that each have a separate calendar in SharePoint. "Today's worker has a bunch of browser windows open, there's no context or integration among them," says Yaacov Cohen, Mainsoft CEO. "By integrating document sharing and shared calendars in Lotus Notes, we are transforming the e-mail client into a collaboration console."

Cohen says other social networking features, such as the ability to rate content and tag documents and sites, will also be available. SharePoint Integration for Lotus Notes 2.5 is $85 for 1,000 users, including a year of maintenance. Volume discounts are available as the number of users goes up. Mainsoft also offers software to create a SharePoint sidebar in Microsoft Outlook.