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Workers find untapped knowledge with Evernote Business 2.0

Evernote Business 2.0 lets workers find one another based on the information they share and provides better integration with enterprise systems.

Evernote Business 2.0 helps employees find the information they need and integrates with Active Directory to make it easier for IT to supervise collaboration.

The next generation of Evernote Corp.'s enterprise cloud-based service, Evernote Business 2.0 makes it easier for users to create business-related content, find relevant information within their organizations, and identify the people who might have more insight into that data. Evernote Business 2.0 also boosts IT administrators' ability to manage Evernote users by integrating the service into the organization's directory management system.

What is Evernote Business?

The first iteration of Evernote Business is built on the company's Evernote service that lets users save snippets of data, organize them into notes and folders, then sync them across multiple devices. A user can create a to-do list on a Mac laptop and then view it on an Android smartphone, iPad tablet or Windows desktop.

To implement Evernote, users need only create an account, download the free app to each of their devices and provide the necessary login information at each location. They can then take notes, record voice memos or clip content from Web pages. Evernote automatically synchronizes the content and makes it available on each device.

For $10 per user per month, an organization can take advantage of the centralized services and additional space allowances that Evernote Business offers. Each employee gets 2 GB of storage per month for personal notes -- twice the capacity of Evernote Premium -- plus another 2 GB per month for shared business notes.

Evernote Business uses the same free apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices as the consumer version of Evernote. The service is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses and small teams in large organizations. Evernote Business is similar to the consumer version, but it has added features to allow teams to work together.

One of the primary differences between the business and consumer versions is that Evernote Business users work with two different types of notebooks: business and personal. Personal notebooks work the same way they do in the consumer version of Evernote. They belong to the user and that person can share them as he wishes. Business notebooks belong to the organization. Admins can access all business notebooks, whether or not users have shared them. If a user leaves the company, the business notebooks stay with the company, but personal notebooks go with the user. Workers can designate any new notebook as either business or personal.

Plus, employees can share personal and business notebooks with individuals, teams, departments or the whole organization. They can also share notebooks with people outside the organization, such as clients or contractors. Users can search any notebook -- business or personal -- that they have permission to access.

One interesting feature is the optical character recognition, which means search results can include handwritten notes or photos of business cards that might be excluded otherwise. Users can tag their notes with keywords and make searching more efficient. In addition, whenever an employee creates or browses a note, Evernote Business displays other notes relevant to that topic.

Evernote Business provides a centralized console that lets admins manage user accounts, access billing details and history, and manage business notebooks. To add a user, an admin need only enter a user's email address and invite him to join. Administrators can also permit users with email addresses in the same domain to create their own accounts. If they already have an Evernote account under that email address, they're automatically upgraded to Evernote Business.

What's new in Evernote Business 2.0?

All the features discussed so far are present in the original Evernote Business service as well as version 2.0, but the new iteration has more features and integration.

Version 2.0 includes Business Home, a centralized knowledge center for users, which makes it easier for workers to tap into knowledge within their organization. It replaces the Business Library feature in the first version of Evernote Business. From Business Home, users can browse and join notebooks shared across the company, view recently added notes, and see who created them. Workers can view the profiles of other users, including shared content, recent activities and profile photos.

Another new feature in Evernote Business 2.0 is Expertise Discovery. When users search notebooks for content, the results provide the names of up to five other people in the organization who might have more information on the topic. With a single click, the user can access the shared notebooks of recommended individuals.

Evernote Business 2.0 also streamlines the process of creating and sharing business content. For example, when a user creates a new notebook, it is automatically designated as a business notebook with the option to change it to a personal one. And once a user shares a business notebook, it is immediately available to the intended recipients. Workers can also share multiple notebooks at one time.

The product integrates with Active Directory and other Lightweight Directory Access Protocol services. Users can also now view Evernote data through the Salesforce application and view Salesforce data from within Evernote.

Moving to Evernote Business 2.0

For many organizations, moving to Evernote Business 2.0 is an easy leap because employees already use the consumer version for work. But these users are also accustomed to having complete control over their Evernote environments.

The centralized, collaborative model of Evernote Business 2.0 might be met with user resistance, or it could result in an administrative nightmare. Trying to organize thousands of notes from a hodgepodge of notebooks with no coherent order doesn't sound easy. Individual teams and small organizations with a clear focus should be able to manage well enough, but larger organizations might face challenges.

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