Review of Harmon.ie Collage: The First ‘Go To’ app for the Digital Workplace
Product analysis by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by Harmon.ie, but thoughts are my own.
Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the workplace, and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you are able to process to make sensible decisions. The result is either that you either delay making decisions, or that you make the wrong decisions. And let’s be honest, we all feel a kind of information overload because all of the sources of information we have today. If you are an Office Worker, you have to go get all the information from SharePoint, email, Yammer, and other systems you might have such as Zendesk, SalesForce, etc.
That is why harmon.ie created an app called Collage. Collage aims to be the ‘Go To’ app whenever you want to get something done, since all the information you need to make the right decision can be seen from only one screen. Before starting with the review, here is a description of the app from the harmon.ie site:
harmon.ie Collage presents all the information workers need to do their jobs, in a single-screen. With Collage, workers have email, updates from business apps, documents, and social tools in one app. Collage is a launch pad for completing tasks via native apps or sharing updates by email or social tools.
Collage automatically uncovers and then matches shared topics across all apps. Topics can be customer names, project titles, or products; essentially, any subject contained in app updates, discussions, documents, or email messages. Workers can then focus on a specific topic by filtering Collage’s federated information stream.
Harmon.ie gave me access to the application through their TestFlight beta program and I had the chance to play with it on my iPad mini. For now, Collage only works on iOs devices but will hopefully be available for Android as well as Windows 10 devices in the future. The first thing you have to do after getting the harmon.ie Collage app is to connect the Services. Harmon.ie currently connects to Office 365 (SharePoint sites and Email), Salesforce, Yammer as well as Zendesk. After you login in your services, you can view what profile you are logged under each service, as well as set preferences for each one.
Once you connect them, you can configure the settings of every service to only get the information you care about. For example, you can set what document libraries or sites to follow in SharePoint as well as decide if you want to get Yammer updates from all company or only people you are following!
Once you get everything setup, on the updates tab you will see updates and everything what happens in your organizations in one single view. You can view who it comes from, as well as what service it comes from. But, what’s the most important and the goal of this app is the tags of every item, called “topics” in the app. When you click on a topic, Collage will show you all the information from a certain topic from all your services. So, if you talk about a client in Yammer, upload a contract in SharePoint Online, exchange a few emails and change its Salesforce status, you would see them all in the same view. The good part is that the content gets automatically tagged! Collage uses machine learning to go through conversations and documents in order to find the topics of each item. Here is a screenshot of the pre-provided demo, but we will create some content and see if the tagging works properly a bit later in the review!
Another very cool feature of the app is the “Discover” tab. In the Discover tab you can see what topics are currently trending in your company as well as your Upcoming meetings. Whenever you click on a trending topic, you see all the interactions for that topic and for the meetings you see everyone that is involved as well as any topics that the meetings are about.
Let’s start adding some information on those cloud services to see how the automatic topic recognition is working. I first sent an email to the test account about the harmon.ie Collage review and inserted some keywords. As you can see the keywords are NYC, SharePoint and Question. Since I also posted a document shortly after, Collage told me there are updates available for my news feed!
Now, the document from SharePoint appeared in my newsfeed, and Collage picked up the “Harmon.ie Collage” topic and tagged both my two new items with that!
When I sent a meeting invite using similar words, it was able to tag it automatically and show it as a topic.
When you open up Collage in the morning, view your meetings for the day and click on the topic, you can see everything related to that topic so you get the information you need to make the right decision fast! If I click on the Harmon.ie Collage topic in the picture above, I am able to see all the Yammer conversions, email, as well as SharePoint documents related to this topic!
If you have some topics you are always interested to see news about, you can either Pin them or follow them.
On the Updates home page, you have a special view with the topics you follow. Also all your pinned topics get pinned right under the Search bar for easy access.
Lastly, you can open items such as PDF/Office documents as well as emails directly from the app to view them!
During testing the app was great. What I realized is that Salesforce might log you off if inactive, so you will have to re-login to that service when opening the app after a few days of inactivity.
Another thing to know is that this app is completely personalized to you, even its deployed company-wide. Meaning that, the taxonomy is created for every person individually, and for example you can create custom topics and add topics manually to items, but those will not be shared with everyone across the company, it’s really an app personalized for you to make you more productive!
Information Overload is a problem that people are facing today in the corporate world, and a lot of money is being wasted because the good decisions cannot be made in a timely fashion. Harmon.ie aims to fix the information overload problem with Collage by creating THE app you open to get all your information on a certain topic. You have a meeting with a client called Contoso? Well you simply go to the Contoso topic and you can see the latest news and discussion around this client from only one app! Previously you had to open multiple programs and websites to get all this information. This app uses the latest technology possible such as Machine Learning to automatically tag items with the correct topics, so they can be easily found afterwards. A feature that I found missing, but will probably get included in the final version (Remember the version I reviewed is still beta!) is a way to “secure” the app with a code or something similar. This feature exists in the other harmon.ie apps, so I don’t worry too much about this being included in Collage as well!
To Register for the beta or know more about the app, click the logo below!