We’re excited to announce the release of version 4.5 of our product with a great set of new features. All the features fit under three broad themes that we’ve seen consistently over the past year – customers continue to drive innovation, social is most powerful when it fits the way people work, and these new ways of working require the ability to work from anywhere.
It starts with customers
Let’s start with customers because this is the whole reason we make products. Everyone who builds software wants to create something that will give customers value and make them happy. So whenever we start a new release cycle, we ask our customers what they want. We suggest features that we think our valuable, but customers and partners are free to submit their own features and vote for them.
In this release, several of the top scoring ideas came from customers. The suggestion above is not a groundbreaking capability in a social platform. In fact, you could already do this with our product. But it wasn’t easy. And when we make something like this easy, we unleash our customer’s ability to fit social in with the way they work.
A focus on integrating
In the 4.1 release, a big focus was on integrating. We added the ability to integrate social with any SharePoint list, allowed a conversation on any document, tied social to SharePoint workflows, and added integration for approving SAP workflows from the activity stream. In the 4.5 release, we continue the theme of fitting in by adding the “stream anywhere” ability to allow social streams any place in SharePoint or on any web page. We tied more deeply into search. We allowed for multiple file uploads into the stream (and into SharePoint) in a single post. We added more Yammer and Salesforce stream integration capabilities. We also fit into the way people and companies actually work with new features around focused email digests, community management, video and innovation. But we didn’t just focus on fitting with how people want to work, we put a big emphasis on providing those features where people want to work.
It runs inside Sharepoint and outside of it too
We’ve always thought of a social platform as an engine that can power capabilities throughout your enterprise. Our software is built to run on SharePoint because this is a place where people have always been working. In this release, we continued our theme of extending that experience to other web sites and other clients. The Stream Anywhere capability complements the Lookout 360 navigation bar and the tag and share control to easily add social on any page. We have invested hundreds of hours integrating the native mobile clients with Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors like MobileIron, AirWatch (now VMware), Good, Citrix and Symantec. Integration work with these platforms is constantly ongoing, and we continue to test and release new clients which can take advantage of new capabilities being added by these vendors. Enhancing our Outlook Plugin was one of the top-voted customer requests, so it is getting a bunch of nice features. And for those who want productivity in email without using a plugin, the focused daily digest provide a targeted summary of the most critical posts.
Working better – it’s a beautiful thing
It’s always exciting shipping a new release. Making cool software is a reward all by itself. But making cool software that fits in with how and where customers want to work is even more rewarding. And when we can take a great customer idea and ship it to our hundreds of enterprise customers three months later, then we really feel excited. It’s a beautiful thing to make social work the way our customers work.