The apps that get pitched to us cover granularities you never really thought of before. It puts you into a certain state of mind, constantly asking yourself:

Is this useful? Am I missing something?

To be fair, a lot of these apps have specific use cases in the enterprise. But the great apps we see are used across the organization. They have a universal appeal.

Great enterprise apps have four things in common:

  1. They save time
  2. They get the job done
  3. They're dead simple to use
  4. They act as a rising tide, increasing collaboration and the use of other apps.

E-mail is one app everyone uses. We're seeing a number of new apps that seek to make better use of the e-mail glut we all face. Xobni is one of the older ones of the bunch. Rapportive is a popular app for getting the most out of GMail. APIs are emerging that treat e-mail as a platform.

Harmon.ie is a plug-in that works with Sharepoint and Google Docs. I rarely say this but the service has all the makings of a great app. It meets all the criteria that in my book makes for an excellent service.

As we've explained before, Harmon.ie creates a sidebar in Microsoft Outlook. Documents may be dragged to the sidebar for storage in Google Docs or SharePoint. In the process, the document is stored as a link, which then can be shared in a variety of ways. It is fast with users saying it takes six seconds to share a document as a link. That compares to a process upwards of a minute using Sharepoint.

Harmon.ie is a free download. About 300,000 users are now using it. The effects are not just on the productivity of the individual. David Lavende, vice president of marketing and product strategy for Harmon.ie says that often companies will have less than 20% SharePoint adoption before they begin using Harmon.ie. After a few months, the adoption rate jumps to 70-80%. That's significant. Is this the company touting its own horn? Yes, of course it is. But the numbers speak for themselves. The company closed 80 enterprise deals last year. Of the 300,000 users, about one-third come from ABB, a power and automation technologies company catering to utility and industry customers. Projected growth is expected to upwards as much as 10 times as last year.

Email will continue to serve as a platform to spur collaboration. We'll see if the new batch of services execute as well as Harmon.ie has done in its early days serving the enterprise.