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It’s been almost six months now since I accidentally stumbled upon MangoSpring Collaboration Suite. With our company we are working with Google Enterprise and by browsing through the Google Marketplace I found MangoSpring Collaboration Suite. Our company is specialized in online content and online projectmanagement. We have alot of people working on different locations for customers. With around 30 employees now we have quite alot of knowledge and experience wandering around in our company. I won’t explain the full case, but in short we wanted to connect the employees more, share knowledge and add teamspirit in our company. We already had tried Yammer some years ago, but it died quite quickly. Now we wanted to try MangoSpring, because it also embedded some interesting business tools to do our work, next to chit-chatting.

The product
MangoSpring is a “Complete Real-Time Business Communication & Collaboration Platform” according to their website. You can buy different parts of the suite or the whole suite alltogether:

  • MangoTalk: Microblogging, Instant Messaging, Group Discussion
  • MangoDocs: Document Management
  • MangoProjects: Setup Project environments
  • MangoTasks: Task Management
  • MangoEvents: Event Calendar
  • MangoIdeas: Idea generator

The suite is accessible directly through our Google Apps enterprise environment (browser based), but also by iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Android. But where MangoSpring really shines is the excellent desktop application, that is freely available. It takes not only microblogging and instant messaging to the desktop, but also polls, tasks management and document management. A very smart move.

Introduction in the company
I started with inviting some of the people from the different departments to explore and experience MangoSpring as a communication tool. I have been actively asking for feedback at the test users and collected all their remarks, bugs and questions about the system. All the feedback was sent to the developers in the USA and we usually got an answer with in a few hours. This made us confident that we were working with a supplier that actually listens to the customer.

After a few months of trying out and increasing amounts of message we decided to try out the MangoTalk and MangoDocs products to keep everyone updated within the company. Our director now spreads newsupdates through a microblog in a group called “Presenter news”. This instantly updates everyone in the organisation and gives public discussion about news updates. Besides that we shared holiday registration in MangoSpring so everyone can see the current amount of days off left instead of mailing the HRM employees time and time again.

Microblogging

Projectmanagement
A great feature of MangoSpring is the projectgroups. You can share microblogs, documents, blogposts and tasks alltogether in a projectgroup. This group can either be open or only accessible for certain individuals, also outside your company. I’m currently working with non-tech savvy people from another company on a project and I am in touch with them all week long, even when I”m not at the office. This makes projectmanagement from different locations easier. We hardly mail anymore in the project, it all goes through Mango. Also Task Management is integrated in projects, making it easy to (re)assign tasks to fellow employees. A great way to keep up with deadlines.

Desktop in the cloud
With Mango you get a great desktop app with great features. Instant Messaging and microblogging is present in most enterprise tools (like Yammer, although Yammer doesn’t have IM yet), but MangoDocs delivers a really nice document management system on the desktop. You can add documents to groups or projects from the desktop and set up access and viewing rights within a click. This means you can upload, download and replace documents in the crowd. Also version history is now present, which means you can get back to previous versions of a certain document.

Administrator rights
What I really like about MangoSpring are the admin reporting tools. You can see the volume and amount of messages, project messages, IM use on a daily base and instantly see which users are the most active and which ones are lacking in use (and you should contact to why they’re not using the tool yet). You can customize the look and feel of the tool, add other administrators, manage users and groups and import and export data. It’s just a great package altogether and easy to use. You can also deploy the suite on your own system and integrate it with Active Directory.

Task Management within projects

Improvements
No tool is perfect ofcourse and Mango can definitely improve in some aspects. Their mobile apps are sometimes a bit flawing and absorp quite some battery energy for Android users. Also the usability aspects can improve a bit on the desktop app as well as the mobile apps. Luckily the crew responds quickly on feedback and it happened multiple times that our requests were added in the next release of MangoSpring. Quite frankly this is a very complete collaboration suite already, but there’s only one feature that would make it totally complete: a wiki-functionality. Also improved tagging, youtube integration and giving names to links (instead of full urls) would be usefull additions. Also improved usability and accessability for new users could be improved, like easier @-reply’s to other users.

Conclusion
I haven’t mentioned every aspect of MangoSpring Collaboration suite, it has so many possibilities. Things like: cross-search through updates, links, docs and profiles, the excellent profile management, banner options, “mark as read”, “unread messages” lists, hiding feeds, event management, Linkedin-profile importing, document activity tracking, are really neat… Just try it for yourself, you can get a free tour through their website.

Currently we have almost everyone signed up at MangoSpring and the messages and usage is rising on a weekly base. We are expanding activities through the suite and now also work together with a customer in a projectgroup.

Do you want your intranet or enterprise app reviewed? Contact me through Twitter.

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