By Gary Schwartz, Infragistics
It should come as no surprise that the ‘Bring your own Device’ (BYOD) initiative is gaining momentum. As more and more people embrace the mobile revolution, the desire to seamlessly connect home and office via a combination of devices – and to be able to access the latest information at any time – is increasingly being regarded as essential, not just a ‘nice to have’.
Organisations have been working hard to accommodate this new way of working by ensuring that employees are provided with tablets and other mobile devices to meet demand for flexible work arrangements and remote access by fieldworkers. They are also providing access to corporate information via virtual private networks to ensure that data is held securely on company servers.
User desire for a touch screen experience and the ability to navigate a VPN using a familiar operating system and browser is such that employees don’t want to use just ‘any’ mobile device – they want to use their personal smartphones and tablets. IT departments may not want to promote the consumerisation of IT, citing the cost of maintenance of multiple platforms and the security risks of adding personal devices onto the network as top reasons.
Nonetheless, the number of people that bring their own devices to work is on the rise. The only real answer is for businesses to implement a comprehensive BYOD policy from the top down that addresses how to adopt this new way of working in a cost effective and secure manner.
The key to BYOD success will be how to enhance the user experience of navigating and accessing corporate information stored on one of the most popular platforms, Microsoft SharePoint, which is the backbone for many company intranets, extranets, and collaboration spaces.
SharePlus, the mobile app for SharePoint, has already proven its ability to extend the benefits of this well-regarded platform to a wider, more mobile audience. It provides strong authentication and centralised deployment which satisfies the concerns of the IT department that corporate data will stay secure. Its simple configuration also eliminates any drain on IT resources by significantly reducing time spent configuring devices and training users. More importantly, its intuitive user interface dramatically improves upon the mobile browser SharePoint experience which means that employees who are away from the office will find it much easier to:
- navigate corporate information;
- view shared documents and libraries;
- and edit shared documents and lists, even if not connected to WiFi or 3G.
This capability will be even more vital as the mobile revolution continues to accelerate. Indeed, many organisations argue that they will only be able to truly benefit from BYOD if it delivers mobile intelligence directly to the user. After all, increased productivity and enhanced collaboration between employees is the ultimate goal.