E-mail seeks application unity

Integrated e-mail and enterprise applications are coming closer to reality as integration vendors seek to roll out software designed to leverage existing investments.

Aiming to establish a bidirectional data flow between e-mail and CRM applications, Connaissance recently launched a server-based connector tool designed to create a bridge between Lotus Software Group Notes and Siebel Systems Inc. eBusiness applications.

The Connaissance Connector Version 6.0.1 is designed to boost productivity by synchronizing Lotus contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists, and e-mail with Siebel CRM applications, said Sue Schmitz, marketing manager at Connaissance in Columbus, Ohio.

A key benefit is that e-mail sent from Siebel can go directly to a user's Notes inbox and be automatically tracked as an activity in Siebel, Schmitz said.

"Typically, you have to duplicate efforts between Notes and Siebel. This increases productivity because it lessens the time it takes from the end-user to organize sales and customer service efforts," Schmitz said.

Meanwhile, Belgian software vendor IzySoft earlier this month rolled out integration software designed to extend Microsoft Hotmail into corporate e-mail systems, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and Eudora.

IzyMail supports Windows XP and Windows 2000 and standard Internet protocols POP3 and SMTP. In addition, IzyMail's IMAP (Internet Messaging Access Protocol) 4 interface allows message synchronization across multiple accounts and provides full folder support, said Ulrich Schwanitz, founder of IzySoft in Antwerp, Belgium.

Later this year, IzySoft plans to release a .Net version of its product that will extend Microsoft's .Net My Services to other applications such as e-mail.

The product will use SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to tie in to .Net My Services such as calendar, contacts, and e-mail.

"We provide the interface into Lotus Notes or other applications. Lotus Notes will not automatically be enabled for .Net. That is the basic role of our product, to close that gap," Schwanitz said.

Despite the clear competitive and productivity advantages, hooking email into other applications is often considered a luxury, said Marcel Nienhuis, a market analyst at The Radicati Group.

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