Browsing Posts published in May, 2012

Another post from Marcelo Andrieu, Product Manager for ActivEcho. This one covers some of the discussions he is having with our customers – Anders

Every quarter we spend a whole day working out what will come in the next 2 or 3 releases of our products. With our recent introduction of activEcho in March, I am busier than ever talking to our customers to see what they are doing, what’s important and what’s not. They manage to get me down to Earth pretty quickly. It’s never boring. We talk mostly about features, use cases, security, performance, storage, deployment, trends. All very interesting things.

One theme that came up consistently in this round of discussions can be paraphrased like this: “so, if you had to rank what makes your IT life difficult, what would that be?” And the answers came back like this:

• Unexpected service disruptions
• Security policy changes
• User account management for applications and services.
• Client software updates

The one that really captured my curiosity was #3, user account management. Here’s what I see in the organizations I talk to:

The companies I talk to have a wide range of users; anywhere from 500 to 10,000 users. Some of those people work in teams, sometimes they interact with customers, vendors, partners and other outside constituents. They need to exchange document – big and small. Many try to send those documents using email. That can cause problems for IT. Storage, size restrictions and security are obvious issues. Then they try to provide other means: SharePoint, FTP servers, DropBox and others. But here’s the problem. More often than not, somebody has to take care of creating accounts, logins, assign storage, for internal and external users. Then, somebody has to “remember” to delete or disable those accounts that are not needed anymore. Simply put, you need a consistent, repeatable user deployment and management capability.

“How bad is it?” I would ask. The answer comes back something like this: “well, we’ll receive a request, it would take us a day or 2 to provision an account, then we try to keep track when that account is supposed to expire. There are other housekeeping task like protecting and deleting legacy documents, resetting passwords. In general somebody will spend about 2 hours a week taking care of all this.”
Waiting for “a day or 2 to provision the account” sounds pretty bad to me considering the crazy speed business is conducted at in the 21st century.

Think about it this way:

2 hours/week = 8 hours/month = 96 hours/ year. Hmmm… that’s more than 2 full weeks worth of work. I am sure companies could use that time for more strategic projects given a skilled IT person’s time and cost.

activEcho can help address this. activEcho can automate account provisioning and management by using Active Directory (AD) for internal users. For external users, activEcho provides policies and automation so users don’t need to request accounts every single time. IT sets and maintains the policies. Everything else just happens. That’s good for IT and makes life simple for happy and productive users.

This week’s post is from Marcelo Andrieu, who is the Product Manager for our new activEcho Enterprise File Sharing solution. Marcelo, thanks for the post! – Anders

For some reason in the software business people think about dot releases as if they are not that relevant. After all, what’s in it? they say. Maybe some minor improvements and bug fixes?

Well, that is certainly not true anymore. Several years ago we embraced the Agile development process. This means we are releasing versions all the time and we have a great deal of flexibility. We can rapidly change the scope and features of release to respond to what our customers need. Instead of 1 release every 12-18 months, we may have 4 to 6 in the same period within a year.

This brings us to activEcho 2.1, which we are releasing today. We have had numerous conversations with our customers from many diverse markets including healthcare, financial services, education, publishing, advertising, government, and legal. In addition we talked to the VAR and service provide community. And, as you can imagine, they are impatient! So we have rolled out some new features which we believe are important. :

• IT wanted more infrastructure and storage management and control. In activEcho, when a user deletes a document it’s actually “marked as deleted” but remains in the system to recover in case it is needed. With 2.1, IT can implement policies to purge deleted content after a period of time of their choosing. This helps keep storage under control. In addition, activEcho now has policies to define how many revisions of a document must be kept in the system. This not only helps with storage costs, but more importantly, it addresses key to compliance needs.

• Exporting event logs. IT needs to be able to not only view the event logs, but also be able to do something useful with it. With our new export capability, IT can click a button in their browser, save the log on to their desktop, and load it into Excel. Quick, easy, useful.

• Skinning and branding for the organization. Organizations like to “blend” solutions like activEcho with the look and feel of the corporate brand, etc. other elements. We already had “skinning”, customization and branding capabilities, so we added more of it plus a sophisticated interface to completely customize email notifications and alerts for users and administrators, embedding images, signatures, legal disclaimers and such. T

• And something for the endusers – very powerful and easy to use 1 and 2 way sync for mobile devices. We have also added a bookmarking capability, enhanced notification subscription options and easier access for Windows, Mac and web browser users.

This is just the beginning of the many new features we are bringing to activEcho and you can expect to see us roll out a significant number of new features as we continue to evolve our Enterprise File Sharing solution.

This week, mobilEcho’s Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, takes over the blog. Thanks, Brian! – Anders

At GroupLogic, we are constantly working to enhance mobilEcho’s ability to provide simple, secure, and managed access to your essential files and documents. We have received lots of feedback and have many great features and enhancements coming soon. A few of these were made available last week with the release of mobilEcho 3.6. This latest version of mobilEcho adds a number of powerful features:

- Bookmarking of frequently used folders for quick ‘shortcut’ access.
- Quickoffice® “Save Back” of edited documents directly to the mobilEcho location they were opened from, either on the device or the server.
- Server-based folders can now be selected for 1-way or 2-way syncing to the device, from within the mobilEcho app. (Don’t worry, IT is still in control. User-creation of sync folders can be disabled using mobilEcho client management policies.)
- iPad Retina display optimized graphics.

The free mobilEcho 3.6 app is available in the App Store and will appear in the App Store app on your iOS device as an update if you already have mobilEcho installed. The mobilEcho 3.6 server software is available as a free trial and as a free update for existing customers with current maintenance & support contracts.

We look forward to hearing more feedback. Please let us know what you think at mobilEcho@grouplogic.com.