Microsoft Steps Up Its Mobile

In the last two days, Microsoft has announced two updates to its popular cloud platform that will affect BYOD users in a big way.

The first is that OneDrive for Business has arrived on iOS. This change brings all the benefits of Business accounts to iPhone and iPad, such as unlimited personal storage (coming early this year) and integration with Office 365. Previously, iOS only had access to the free, Personal versions of the storage service, which had some limitations in capacity and utility.

OneDrive for Business on iPad

How the user interface of Onedrive for business appears on iPad

The second big update was that the programs central to Microsoft Office (Word, Excel & PowerPoint) have been released for Android tablets. This comes only a week after Microsoft had previewed the applications on the mobile platform. Earlier in 2014, the iPad received a similar Office treatment with the arrival of the same suite of software. Currently, these applications are available for free on the platform’s respective online stores and offer in-app payments to increase utility in the cloud.

PowerPoint on Android

How PowerPoint appears on tablet computers.

So what kind of uses do users get out of these releases? Quite a few, depending on the job role. For employees who find themselves frequently out of office onsite, gaining access to document software and stored business files is a major benefit.

Take an attorney, for example. Instead of carrying around a briefcase of documents to their various clients throughout the day, a tablet housing all a lawyer’s important files in the cloud increases their organization and efficiency tenfold. Conjoin this with eSigniture technology and these tasks are made much simpler.

Similarly, a job requiring onsite surveys would see greater organization with access to a tablet version of Excel. Gathering data on the go and uploading straight to the cloud would be able to provide a quick turnaround on any kind of assessment or analysis of such information.

While tablets are gaining quite a bit of utility with regards to document creation, smartphones are still lacking applications that are truly analogous. Apple and Android phones both have access to an Office Mobile app, which allows for simple editing with an Office 365 account and view-only without. These limitations are likely due to smaller screen sizes that would become quite crowded with a full Office suite. With the rise of the “phablet” as a popular mobile device, however, a future for the suite on phones has become more of a possibility down the line.

OneDrive and Office coming to these devices is bound to create more utility for businesses running Office 365, but also further establishes Microsoft’s commitment to playing nicely with its competitors. Recent integrations with Box and Salesforce have established Microsoft and Office 365 as platforms that can truly co-exist within a number of different environments.

If you have questions about these updates or are interested in integrating these mobile capabilities into your organization, please give us a call! We would be happy to assist you.

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