Martin Banks examines Huddle's move to add iPads and file recommendation to its content collaboration and management platform.
Recent weeks have witnessed a succession of major acquisitions and announcements surrounding social/mobile, as the clamour around the social business field continues to grow. There is a huge buzz around the sector, which many acknowledge is going to be hugely important, and so there are a lot of contenders vying for top dog status in social business.
There will of course be a shake-out as the larger systems vendors try to pick the best solutions to fit their own product suites and users get past the rush of `must do social/mobile’ and start looking at the many contenders with a more jaundiced eye focused on what the alternatives actually bring of value to their businesses. In that context Huddle is already seen as both a real player in the marketplace, and a hot potential target for future acquisition.
This position is likely to be helped by its introduction of an iPad-specific app for its SaaS-delivered Enterprise 2.0 Cloud collaboration and content management platform. This adds intelligent file recommendation technology to a toolset offering mobile collaboration tools that combine content management and social interactions.
The intelligent recommendation technology delivers and syncs the most relevant files to workers’ iPads. This ensures that workers always have secure access to the latest version of their documents, online and offline.
Looked at from the perspective of the user this is an obvious route to follow. Individual users are always going to needs access to the content that is most relevant to the work they are undertaking at any time. Indeed, it can also allow people to discover previously unknown content from across the enterprise that may be relevant to their job.
It will, of course, also need to be closely managed by policy, and ideally be integrated with any existing policy management tools. The Huddle website uses phrases such as `you get to decide who can share files and content, not your organization's firewall’. For many businesses, such freedom of action may be seen as a hostage to fortune.
According to Alistair Mitchell, Huddle’s CEO, IT departments will be able to securely manage all content across the organisation while empowering workers to access and edit relevant documents when on the go.
In practice, granular permissions allow IT managers to control who has access to which files on iPad and how the files are shared among workers. Files are encrypted at 256-bit SSL when transmitted and are encrypted when at rest on iPad.
Huddle for iPad, which will be attractive to both the BYOD users and the `iPad-as-add-on’ road warriors, is now available on the iTunes App Store. It brings together content, social and mobile to unlock another potential two-edged sword, what the company calls, `the true potential of anywhere, anytime working’. While it increases the potential outlined by Raj Verma, VP of worldwide marketing at TIBCO, last April for a drastic switch in employment patterns to a far higher degree of self-employment, it also begs the question as to how quickly social media might seen as thoroughly anti-social.
The app seamlessly integrates with Google QuickOffice, Readdle and Fileboard to enable a full range of mobile operations, including file creation and interaction when on the move, while meeting the data security and management needs of IT.
The intelligent recommendation technology can discover, select and securely sync relevant files from Huddle to desktops and mobile devices. Whether online or offline, it ensures that workers have secure access and can work on the latest version of important documents with colleagues.
Other features include full-feature Microsoft Word and Excel editing using Google’s recent acquisition, QuickOffice, the ability to mark favorites for even easier access, task and approval delegation and management. robust PDF annotation using Readdle PDF Expert, and email integration.
Files either created on the iPad or sent via email can be saved directly to Huddle, and the system can be used to share live, web-based presentations. Huddle has also integrated with Fileboard to allow sales teams to better manage their contracts, attachments and files on iPad.