The iPad has, quite quickly, become the tablet of choice for enterprises, with some 97 percent of all tablet activations in Q1 of 2012 attributable to Apple’s tablet, according to Good Technology. So it comes as no surprise that apps are rushing into the wake of those purchases to make the iPad more work-friendly.
The latest in that story is a release of some social software from harmon.ie that will make SharePoint, the collaboration software from Microsoft, usable on the iPad, as well as the iPhone. Harmon.ie’s CEO, Yakov Cohen, says this marks the first time that business users can access SharePoint from both the iPad and desktop with the same user experience.
“Until now, you had solutions for business users only for the iPad or only for the desktop but not for both,” he says.
Harmon.ie has carved out a niche for itself as an integrator for enterprises that want to incorporate more “social” collaboration tools into their workflow on Windows but have held off for problems of security on consumer-grade social networks or for the fact that workers are not necessarily going on the internet as much as they are nosing around their own networks working on email.
The company says it already has 1 million people using its existing edition for Outlook, which which adds social features and collaboration to a user’s Outlook mail and calendar applications.
Putting SharePoint accessbility on the iPad gives harmon.ie a lot of potential in tapping a big market that has yet to be served: some 78 percent of corporate America already uses SharePoint, according to Forrester, with half of their workday (yes — half!) spent in email. Microsoft, perhaps understandably, has not created iPad and iPhone support for SharePoint itself.
The new service lets users create a presentation, drop it into SharePoint, send a link to colleagues via harmon.ie in Outlook or IBM’s Lotus Notes. Then users in that worker’s circle can subsequently access those documents on their PCs or their iPads (or iPhones). The system allows for both offline and online collaboration.
The product is available as a free, read-only version, and a full version for $19.99 that lets users edit and collaborate on documents on the SharePoint platform. An MDM version, allowing for more secure connections, will be available in Q2, the company says.
Similarly, support for Android and Windows 8 coming “in future,” says Cohen. (harmon.ie for iPad is HTML5-based, he says, which makes it relatively painless to provision it for all HTML5-based platforms.)