Have you ever wanted to publish an MS Project summary task to a SharePoint task list? What about pulling your SharePoint tasks onto your local machine and unplugging from the network? Our next version of TeamDirection Project will bring these and other very useful features to a marketplace waiting to see what Office 2007 has to offer.
As I've written before, there is a new type of application emerging to handle the current dichotomy of desktop and online environments. It has to be socially adept so as to gain acceptance on the desktop, it has to be able to enhance communication in order to be effective and it has to integrate with current business systems in order to pass the muster with IT. I've taken to calling these kinds of applications 'Social Business Applications.'
What exactly is a social application? As Ebrahim Ezzy observes, one that allows groups of people to coordinate certain kinds of interaction. Like EMail, for example.
And a business application? Microsoft states: business applications are any application important to running your business. Like EMail, for example.
Wait a second. Could EMail be the first social business application?
Yes it could. And it also happens to be the most successful application of all time. The reason is simple: because it shares aspects of both social and business computing, it can be everywhere. Desktops or webtops, phones or blackberries. And because it shares aspects of both, it can be used by corporate CEOs or PTA moms-- anyone who requires coordinating group interaction.
That sounds like the definition for social business applications: software that coordinates group interaction important to running your business.
We at TeamDirection think one of the segments to benefit from the convergence of social and business application development is Project Management. Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb agrees with this assessment as well.
What does this mean for you?
How about integrating Instant Messaging right into the project so that you can see when the people you've assigned tasks to are online. What would you rather do, send an email regarding a late task and wait for a response, or see their real-time presence and talk to them immediately?.
How about pulling a summary task and its children from MS Project and publishing it to a SharePoint or Groove task list in a workspace for everyone to report their progress AND pushing that updated information back into MS Project.
We think its the best of both worlds: online/offline, rich desktop apps and browser-based, simple web apps.
The sum really can be greater than the parts!