VirtualWorks' Douglas Geller Touts ViaWorks' SharePoint Benefits
Douglas Geller, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for VirtualWorks, spoke with TechnologyAdvice host Clark Buckner about VirtualWorks' work, major pain points in the industry, SharePoint as he sees it now and in the future, and what's on the horizon for VirtualWorks.
Based in Boca Raton, Florida, VirtualWorks is an enterprise search company offering a solution that connects to many enterprise applications, giving users the ability to find content as quickly and easily as possible. They also provide solutions for SharePoint integration, document cleanup for compliance, and OEM opportunities.
Geller has seen a number of pain points in the past in regards to SharePoint:
User adoption: A challenge exists in getting people to log on, utilize, and find content published by different groups.
Accessing documents outside of SharePoint: Just because an organization uses SharePoint as a portal doesn't mean all of their documents are actually stored in SharePoint, so how can users find that information?
Geller expressed a desire to tackle both of those challenges. Consequently, VirtualWorks has connectors for SharePoint on-premise, Office 365, as well as an interface for SharePoint itself.
To help clients use the program to its full potential, ViaWorks focuses on the following strategies:
Content delivery: ViaWorks aggregates all content from multiple silos into one single view.
User needs: ViaWorks gives users the ability to find what they need anywhere, anytime.
Geller believes that if users are brought to SharePoint as their portal, they should be able to not only find content within SharePoint very easily, but also find content that may be located On-Premise, in Office 365, or other enterprise content management solutions.
ViaWorks gives SharePoint users the ability to perform a search using the ViaWorks search engine. ViaWorks will locate the document thanks to any one of the connectors it currently provides. VirtualWorks sells connectors to SharePoint on-premise, Office 365, Exchange, Documentum, Alfresco, SAP, Lotus Notes, and OpenText. There are many more coming as well.
For the end user, the documents show in one search result regardless of where the document resides. The documents may be located:
In a Windows file system
In another enterprise content management system
Documents are accessible in one aggregated view, which helps bring users to use and appreciate SharePoint's benefits.
Geller said that the system was designed to be simple and user intuitive giving the user a great user experience.
For training on a brand new VirtualWorks system, they typically spend an hour with users, or provide them with a guided virtual tour via video and/or documentation. It is simple enough that a user can perform a search and refine it however they wish. Then they can break it up to different sources in a simple and quick way.
With regard to strategies and planning they've put in place, Geller said that in their latest 2.4 release, they've taken a great deal of time to make sure that the most requested features and improvements were put in place. They made sure to utilize:
Previewing: Users can hover over a selected hit list and see a preview of the document.
Easy editing: Simple selection leads to quick editing.
Refined search results: Users are able to narrow down what they're looking at so the list isn't so large and so they can start another search.
Placing all of these benefits in one simple and clean interface for the web helps make it more usable and accessible for end users.
At this point, Geller shared his excitement over Office 365. They have already built the Office 365 integration which allows a connection to OneDrive for Business as well Outlook.
A majority of organizations seem to be slowly but surely moving to Office 365, and Geller is certain that they have many search requirements needed by organizations who don't have their documents all stored in SharePoint.
Furthermore, Geller shared their company's convictions in terms of providing solutions to their clients:
Listening: For them, it's a matter of listening to challenges users are currently facing and user experience issues that might prevent users from utilizing SharePoint or similar systems.
Learning: For them, it's also about learning. Once they hear of certain challenges from their clients, they will try to build an integration to handle those challenges.
Moreover, Geller also stated that they strive to be as non-disruptive as possible, so they've removed the need for users to do any of the following:
Migrate all documents into SharePoint.
Move users off the On-Premise version of SharePoint into Office 365.
Move off to any of the other ECM solutions in your organization.
Geller ensured that they offer a great interface built in to SharePoint that allows users to tackle every issue mentioned.
The Interview was conducted by Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice (they provide content on sales competitions, cloud software, business intelligence tools and much more). Also be sure to check out their tech conference calendar for more events like SPTechCon.