Livelink Touchpoint blends communication tools
Solution unifies Web conferencing, blogs, team workspaces, IM, and presence awareness
Web conferencing is great for making presentations or for screen sharing during help-desk sessions. These solutions, however, don’t really allow key people to share information and interact on demand. For those tasks, teams rely on a smorgasbord of IM, shared work spaces, portals, and conferencing -- each with different interfaces, search tools, and storage mechanisms.
Having participated in the Livelink Touchpoint beta program for several months, I’m convinced that Open Text has upped the ante for unifying the aforementioned tools. Not only does the solution sit on an enterprise-class data repository, but it integrates communication tools smoothly and hooks into other business systems.
The Touchpoint Launchpad allows you to access people and places easily. Just double-click a contact to open an IM conversation. From there, things get interesting. For example, dragging a file from your desktop to the IM conversation opens Things -- a persistent, shared work space. When launching, say, an Excel spreadsheet, it appears in Touchpoint, so there’s no need to switch among apps.
Instant meetings also occur in this team work space. Touchpoint nicely extends presence awareness with detailed visual clues such as icons that indicate how many participants are viewing any given document.
Especially notable is how this secure shared space feels and performs similar to a local desktop folder, although it resides on the Open Text servers. This feature benefits organizations with necessities such as versioning and archives for compliance auditing.
From the clean work space interface, Touchpoint also enables one-click screen sharing. As I used the service more, however, two capabilities proved extra valuable. First, I created new places and dragged in things from other spaces, which made reorganizing projects quick. Second, each place included a customizable home page, so visitors didn’t have to hunt around for important documents.
As you might expect, Open Text ensures Touchpoint integrates with the company’s enterprise content management, knowledge management, records management, and workflow products. Still, Touchpoint delivers value even if you aren’t heavily invested in other Open Text apps. I was able to access content in a Microsoft Sharepoint portal. Furthermore, you receive connectors for SAP, Siebel, and other systems.
There are a few capabilities I’d like to see, including VoIP and simultaneous document editing, which Open Text representatives say are planned for release by the end of 2005. Even so, Livelink Touchpoint’s capability of bridging the gap between collaboration and content access is a big accomplishment.