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January 23, 2012

Simple integration with SharePoint, Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook etc.

by Anders B. Skjønaa (SharePointPeople.dk)

You may have heard of this new cloud service that is about to become available for us all – IFTTT (pronounced “lift” without the “l”). It’s currently in Beta, but you can use it online today at ifttt.com.

IFTTT – stand for “IF This Then That”. It works very much like a simple conditional statement in your average workflow engine, but it’s available of the internet – and it works with a lot of the common social services and other relevant platforms that you are already using out there.

So what can you use this for? Let me give you a few examples:

IF you are posting a message on a social platform (that is supported – could be Twitter) you can have IFTTT post the same (or another) message on another channel (could be FaceBook). Or IF you are tagged on a photo on FaceBook, you can have the photo downloaded to a folder in your Dropbox. It’s these kind of simple – cross platform – workflows you can easily build, using IFTTT. These examples are quite simple, but you can imagine an almost unlimited number of possibilities.

This is an amazing idea! If the people behind IFTTT keep up with the development in social platforms, and if they are succesful building ways to integrate to things like SharePoint and/or Office 365, IFTTT will be a very strong player in the future, because of it’s accesibility and simplicity. And it’s free – at least for now!

I have high hopes for this one, as it could eventually be a hub for social communication as people are starting to embrase it’s capabilities. I can think of a few big companies that could consider making an early aquisition and strengthen their position in the social computing marketplace.

Some workflow vendors  – like Nintex – are already doing something similar to IFTTT with Nintex Live, a part of the Nintex Workflow product suite. But these two are really not comparable in any other sense. Nintex is a real workflow platform – IFTTT is not! But it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to IFTTT in the near future…

If you are using SharePoint, IFTTT might already be interesting today. Even without exploring all the capabilities of IFTTT and what it can actually do with each different channels it connects to, I see this a an easy way to get social data into SharePoint. How? IFTTT enables you – very easily – to send emails with relevant content (you can actually configure the content of the email) to any mailadress you define. This means that you can have an email sent to any mail-enabled folder in your SharePoint environment, when a given condition is triggered in IFTTT. So you can do things like having your SharePoint MySite status updated, when your FaceBook status is updated.

As I would expect IFTTT to keep building new triggers into their solution, you could imagine a number of highly relevant business scnearios where SharePoint automatically gets triggered by things that happen on Facebook, Twitter or one of the other services that is supported.

I will be following up on IFTTT in the near future, and see what happens in respect to functionality –  and how it can benifit SharePoint users and business.

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