“Changing technology is easy—changing behavior is hard,” says David Lavenda of harmon.ie. “As the market evolves, we see collaboration as an evolutionary process—people adding on things as opposed to ripping out and replacing something wholesale.”
Lavenda spoke with us about creating harmony between various platforms—specifically between SharePoint and Outlook (with harmon.ie for SharePoint, Outlook edition), and SharePoint and Lotus Notes (harmon.ie for Notes). The company, harmon.ie, formerly known as Mainsoft, aims to address a problem that’s a pain point in the SharePoint industry: user resistance.
A lot of companies buy into the concept of SharePoint, do everything by the book, run focus groups, create business cases, promote their deployment of SharePoint, Lavenda says, only to find that after all the work has been done, users don’t want to use SharePoint.
It’s not stubbornness, nor is it stupidity—it’s that using SharePoint adds steps to their work processes, rather than streamlining them. For some users, he says, it’s been documented that just handling a document in SharePoint and sending it to someone can take up to nine steps. And the clicking between multiple windows of multiple applications takes time and focus away from the user.
Security is another reason customers use when implementing harmon.ie. With some companies, Lavenda says, the primary business driver is data leakage—the financial, legal, and PR costs of sending the wrong document to the wrong person. Employees can inadvertently compromise the security of data by sending attachments via email. By switching to harmon.ie, they no longer send attachments but rather links to data within SharePoint, which require the proper permissions and access to be able to click and read.
Taming “document chaos” is another reason customers list for adoption of harmon.ie. The product’s email management enhances integration of email with SharePoint, from automatically mapping email headers to SharePoint columns to storing email by projects.
Then there’s that argument for user productivity. The addition of multiple steps to a user’s duties not only takes more time but also adds distraction, as multiple opportunities for stopping the flow of work are added. Lavenda cites a New York Times article that said workers are in “digital detox” and that the average business user working on a computer changes windows 37 times an hour. “The whole topic of distraction in business is about reducing context switches,” Lavenda says, by bringing everything into one window.
The company puts on a “SharePoint user challenge” at various conferences as a way to highlight the differences between using SharePoint alone and using it with harmon.ie. The company videos volunteers doing various tasks and publishes the times and results. To view the videos, and the results, visit weareallonthesamepage.com. To learn more about harmon.ie for SharePoint Outlook Edition and harmon.ie for SharePoint Notes Edition, visit the harmon.ie website.
To check out what the New York Times said about worker distraction and digital detox, read its continuing discussion blog.