By positioning itself between traditional project management apps like Basecamp and personal relationship management apps like Gist, Liaise thinks that it has found a useful niche, which it calls “business interaction management.” It claims that it can do this with a very simple setup, no change in work habits, and without depending on others to be using Liaise.
The concept is intriguing: Using two components — a Windows desktop application and a plugin for Outlook 2003 and 2007 — Liaise automatically collects information about projects, deadlines and to-dos directly from incoming and outgoing messages. Liaise users can display a one-line “toolbar” at the bottom of each Outlook message that allows one to set and edit subjects, due dates and priorities for action items to be followed. The information is then fed into a user’s Outlook calendar, and to a popup where one can view, edit and search reports on work in progress. Users may also add and edit items manually. If others in a workgroup are also using Liaise, changes to priorities and due dates are synced to group members.
Due to feedback from early testing, the Liaise developers decided not to store customer messages in the cloud because of concerns about privacy and compliance. Instead, most Liaise information is stored on users’ local machines using Microsoft’s SQL CE database.
Liaise launches today at DEMOfall ’09. The Liaise team plans to add components that will capture data from other email programs and platforms, and from mobile devices such as BlackBerrys and iPhones, IM and web-based services. Liaise is free during its beta period (sign up here) and will be offered at $4.95 to $9.95 per month per person thereafter.
As a Mac user, I haven’t been able to try this product yet, but Windows and Outlook users may find Liaise an interesting alternative to traditional project and task managers — you can see a demo video here.
Have you tried Liaise?