Mainsoft has introduced an add-on that allows Lotus Notes users to interact directly with content such as Microsoft Office files stored on Microsoft SharePoint sites.

Notes already has the ability to interoperate with Microsoft documents, but IBM partner Mainsoft said its SharePoint Integrator goes a step further by allowing direct access to SharePoint collaboration features, designed to be accessible only from Microsoft Office.

Until now, companies could only use SharePoint by opting for an all-Microsoft strategy, Mainsoft said. With the new tool, "IBM customers can give Notes users direct access to SharePoint content within Notes, without engaging in an expensive rip-and-replace strategy," said Mainsoft chief executive Yaacov Cohen, in a statement.

Notes accesses SharePoint via a sidebar, from which users can open Office documents stored on SharePoint without leaving the Notes user interface, the company said.

SharePoint Integrator maintains connectivity to the server, allowing users to check-in or check-out documents and access version history and document workflows.

Documents can be dragged and dropped directly into Notes emails, calendar appointments and task lists, and can drag-and-drop documents into the Notes sidebar to update content in SharePoint document libraries.

The tool also allows SharePoint content to be integrated into workflow mash-ups and composite applications, for example accessing a customer list stored on a SharePoint site, sorting the list by sales territory, plotting the contacts on Google Maps and communicating the results to the enterprise CRM system, from within Notes.

A free trial version is available for download, and companies can purchase the tool for $12,500 per 100 users.

Future versions of the tool will allow Notes users to save Notes emails into SharePoint repositories, according to Mainsoft.

The company's other products include developer tools integrating .Net with Java and IBM WebSphere Portal with SharePoint.