Stories by Mike Heck

  • Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 7.0

    We have watched Xythos mature impressively over the years, starting as a highly usable, economical document manager through Version 6.0, then broadening its appeal with records management. Enterprise Document Management Suite (DMS) has now reached Version 7.0, and with the number bump comes some important enhancements.

  • Jive Software's social enterprise portal

    If the many business-oriented blog and wiki solutions are starting to look like one big blur, you're not alone. Most "Web 2.0 collaboration" vendors give you a departmental wiki that works about the same as the rest, but doesn't handle large enterprise deployments or connect with information in other parts of your organization. About a year ago, Jive Software successfully brought a lot of attention to the enterprise social networking category with Clearspace and Clearspace X, collaboration and community platforms, respectively, that provided unusual scalability and usability -- plus they integrated blogs and wikis across the business.

  • Product review: Sutus Business Central SB-200

    Sutus started shipping Business Central in November 2007 and is already making waves with this unified communication solution. Although it primarily competes on price and easy administration, there are other advantages for small-office owners.

  • Product review: Microsoft Response Point 1.0

    Microsoft's Response Point is PBX software that runs on Embedded XP inside of hardware sold by three Microsoft partners -- Aastra, D-Link, and Quanta -- with more partners to come later in 2008, according to Microsoft. You can engage a VAR to install the system or do it yourself without much effort.

  • Product review: Fonality PBXtra 4.0

    Fonality takes a different approach with PBXtra, which, like cousin Trixbox and Critical Links' EdgeBox, incorporates the open source Asterisk. PBXtra is not only the most affordable system in this roundup, but is unique in being a managed product. Customers get a low-end Celeron tower PC that's set up without incurring any installation costs, and a Web interface that lets users customize the system (such as recording voice prompts) without IT help. Fonality remotely monitors the system, provisions the phones, and backs up data off-site.

  • Product review: Critical Links EdgeBox Business

    Critical Links' EdgeBox line includes three Asterisk-based appliances: Office (40 users), Business (100 users), and Enterprise (300 users). The 2U rack-mount servers vary in disk space (80GB to 250GB), connectivity (such as integrated Wi-Fi), and redundancy options.

  • Product review: Allworx 24x

    Allworx's trio of product lines include two VoIP telephone handsets, three combination telephony and network servers, plus five software packages that are separately licensed for unlimited use. The PBX contains many standard features, including unified messaging and site-to-site access; the five separate applications add specific advanced functions, such as call queuing or conferencing, allowing you to purchase only the capabilities you need. Each server eases administration with automated backup.

  • Lab test: VoIP phone systems walk the talk

    Small and midsize businesses face many obstacles when trying to compete with larger enterprises. One classic handicap of the smaller business is the second-class phone system, the shortcomings of which are both glaringly apparent to callers outside the organization and keenly felt by the employees inside, who know that sounding professional when clients and prospects call is a crucial part of building relationships and sales.

  • Lotus Notes and Domino 8 show new life

    Fundamentally, Lotus Notes and Domino 8 aren't about new mail and calendar features. Rather, this release is about a change in the desktop client. The inbox is now home base for integrating all types of business applications. A lot has already been said about the programming model, Lotus Expeditor 6.1.1, which employs eclipse.org open standards. So let's spotlight the user experience and collaboration.

  • Lotus Notes and Domino 8 show new life

    I'll admit that in my IBM Lotus Notes 7 review about two years ago, I got Version 8's release date a wee bit off. Hey, the fortune teller I consulted skipped town right after the reading. But my wrap-up hit the mark, saying Notes 8 "should further support composite applications, such as bringing together e-mail, documents, and meetings into a single interface -- a key part of an SOA." Here's my initial impression of how well IBM Lotus engineers met this goal and the way they did it.

  • Good enterprise search results sans grief

    Enterprise search is much like air and water: Users expect it to be available without a second thought. Google and ISYS continue to perfect their enterprise offerings to do just that.

  • IBM's collaboration tools evolve

    Introduced in 1989, IBM Lotus Notes 7 stays true to the original's ideals of efficient collaboration. In this release, Notes email and calendar entries are even easier to manage, and the Domino 7 server embraces more standards, including Web services, so developers can expose Notes databases to external systems. The already outstanding platform support is broadened with desktop Linux for email and calendaring -- as well as systems management.

  • Managing document complexity

    The old adage "keep it simple" is sometimes lost with enterprise document management products. Instead, vendors layer on non-core functions such as multimedia cataloguing - making the products pricey and difficult to implement and use. There are exceptions, however: Xerox DocuShare 4.0.1 and Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0 embrace simplicity and still deliver solid document and file management.

  • AvantGo keeps employees moving

    Standing tall among the application server solutions to synchronise enterprise data with mobile devices is AvantGo's M-Business Server 4.0, which securely delivers enterprise Web applications via wireless networks.

  • VelociGenX builds high-speed Web services

    The Internet is indispensable not only for information dissemination and Web business, but also for distributed applications. Broadly called Web services, these "meta-applications" reside on various servers. This allows users to invoke a simple Web order form that kicks off a complex data flow between, say, the legacy inventory system of a supplier and an e-commerce application residing in yet another data centre.