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5/7/2008
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MainSoft Integrates Microsoft SharePoint With IBM Lotus Notes

The software allows for drag and drop of documents, spreadsheets and presentations hosted on a SharePoint site from a sidebar into e-mails, calendar appointments and task lists.

Microsoft's popular SharePoint collaboration and content management software is largely a Microsoft-only affair. It typically leverages SQL Server, Windows, Office, Active Directory, and Internet Information Services to run; integration with other third-party products is often tough. But IBM partner MainSoft is hoping to change that, announcing a product Wednesday to integrate SharePoint with Lotus Notes.

"As people are trying to get out of the in-box jail where you use e-mail to do collaboration, people understand that you need to use a separate technology to collaborate on documents," Yaacov Cohen, CEO of MainSoft, said in an interview. "For a Notes user, having easy access to these documents and doing things like attaching a document in SharePoint to an e-mail or navigating to a SharePoint document directly from Notes is key."

The SharePoint Integrator allows employees to drag and drop documents, spreadsheets and presentations hosted on a SharePoint site from a sidebar in Lotus Notes into e-mails, calendar appointments and task lists. Since the sidebar is connected to the SharePoint Server, employees can also update content and view document workflows. Additionally, Notes users can open SharePoint-stored Office documents directly from within the Notes interface.

MainSoft also offers custom integration. Since the latest version of Notes is based on IBM's Eclipse platform, it supports composite applications. That means that, for example, MainSoft could develop an application that plugs the addresses of a list of customers stored in SharePoint onto a Google Map and display the result inside of a sidebar in Lotus Notes.

The SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes is a counterpart to a few products by Microsoft partners and features from Microsoft itself that integrate SharePoint with Outlook, but previously, integration with Lotus Notes required following complicated guidance from IBM. Notes continues to bleed customers to Exchange, but something as simple as SharePoint integration could provide a tiny band-aid on Notes' much larger problems. IBM resells MainSoft products, giving the company a huge potential channel.

"Enterprises previously had no choice if they wanted to do this," Cohen said. "They could only migrate from Notes to a fully Microsoft strategy. It's very easy to enable choice, rather than pushing an expensive migration strategy."

According to Cohen, future versions of the SharePoint Integrator will allow Notes Users to save important e-mails to SharePoint repositories, archiving them in an easy-to-find location and potentially sharing them with a larger group without having to CC a long slate of co-workers.

MainSoft earlier created products, including a cross-compiler, to bridge the developer gap between Microsoft .NET and Java, as well as a tool to integrate IBM WebSphere Portal with SharePoint.

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