Mobile SharePoint to complement your BYOD or COPE mobile strategy

According to a recent poll by Azurati, access to mobile SharePoint is seen to be one of the most critical must-have mobile enterprise applications for organisations who are looking to deploy enterprise applications to mobile users as part of a BYOD or COPE (Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled) mobile strategy.

Social Collaboration, workflow approvals and BI dashboards also scored highly amongst those who responded.

Providing mobile SharePoint access to users securely on multiple mobile devices is a challenge if you are looking to exploit the native templates and functionality in SharePoint.  Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider licencing a vendor-developed solution, like Azurati’s SharePoint2Go®:

Authentication
Enabling mobile users to authenticate across the corporate firewall to access internal applications, like SharePoint, is often the single biggest challenge that IT teams will face.  Azurati makes authentication and secure access easy, because we have done all of the hard work for you and provide 15 options for enterprise customers to set up secure authentication to their SharePoint environment in a simple Wizard interface.

Azurati also supports multiple methods of authentication, allowing options like federated profiles (so users can use their standard Active Directory credentials, or they can log on using external authentication providers, like their Window Live ID, Google or Yahoo accounts.  This option is often useful if you are thinking about providing mobile SharePoint access to external stakeholders or temporary staff).

Cross-platform and form factor support
Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution guarantees to support any smartphone or tablet on the market, including devices like Windows Surface RT tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and the upcoming Blackberry 10 range of devices, as well as standard mobile platforms like IOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices; making Azurati your ideal BYOD partner.

You can customise the standard mobile templates that ship with Microsoft SharePoint, but they require extensive specialist developers to create specific templates for target mobile platforms and form factors, which will need to be updated as new devices emerge on the market.

Branding and UI customisation
Microsoft’s latest guidelines are for SharePoint developers to not customise the SharePoint interface.  For those companies that have invested significant time and money in their corporate identity and brand and who wish to extend that identity to mobile SharePoint users, Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution will allow full branding and UI customisation to truly make your mobile SharePoint yours.

Support for mobile WebParts
It is rare these days to find a SharePoint implementation that does not include some elements of custom developed components, or WebParts.  WebParts often make SharePoint come to life as a corporate Intranet platform or ECM platform by providing views and access to functionality like Staff contact lists, company news and events, weather, advanced search, recently edited documents, BI/Management reports and dashboard, Sales pipeline data, etc.

You should ask a simple question:  if your users make use of custom developed WebParts in the desktop version of SharePoint, should all or some of those WebParts be made available to mobile users?

There is of course one major challenge here.  All mobile SharePoint solutions on the market (including the native mobile option from Microsoft), with the exception of Azurati, can only display standard SharePoint features (like documents, news, list data, calendars, tasks, etc) to mobile users.

Azurati allows custom developed WebParts to be transformed in to mobile WebParts, or V-Parts®, as Azurati calls them.  V-Parts can allow custom WebParts to be used interactively within the SharePoint2Go solution on any mobile device. V-Parts can also be developed to operate in dynamic offline mode, so you can continue working even if you do not have internet connectivity.

Special offer for SharePoint Conference 2012 delegates
If you are currently attending the SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas, you may qualify for a 30% discount on SharePoint2Go licenses if you purchase SharePoint2Go for your users before 31 December 2012.  All you have to do is send us a photo or scanned image of your conference pass (like the one shown below) to qualify:

If you are thinking about deploying mobile SharePoint, this is a great opportunity for you to do so at a great discount.

For more information about Azurati and SharePoint2Go, the secure cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution, please visit www.azurati.com and request a free 14 day trial.

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Mobile Intranet: Why SharePoint needs to have a good mobile user

Azurati is delighted to have Mark Morrell, a leading independent expert on Intranet design and governance to share his thoughts on providing Intranet access to mobile users and why Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is the ideal corporate intranet platform.

Why SharePoint 2010 needs to have a good mobile user

Why is SharePoint 2010 so widely used?  I believe it is because it offers for the first time one technical solution that meets many business needs rather than just one.  If you want to improve knowledge sharing you will have many tools to consider.  Again if you need to manage your documents you will have a wide choice of vendors.

But if your business has more than one need or can see how solving one will create other requirements then a solution like SharePoint 2010 comes become more attractive to consider.

But what if your organisation needs employees to use your intranet while away from their place of work?  There are huge savings in office costs and increases in productivity if employees can use the intranet to help them with their work while they are mobile.

Before we can consider if SharePoint 2010 can help meet these needs and provide these benefits there are other important steps to take first.

Mobile strategy

Why is your organisation considering mobile access to your intranet?  You need to develop a strategy aligned to your overall business strategy that sets out how providing this need will help to improve the performance.  Without a clear, agreed, mobile strategy in place there is little chance of creating a successful business case for a solution that can help employees.  You need to research which content and tools are most needed while employees are mobile.

Mobile champion

Who should be responsible for sponsoring the implementation of your mobile strategy?  You need to find a senior representative who will champion this or, better still, a board or steering group of senior representatives from business functions across your organisation.  Make sure the role is clear, and you have the authority to make the decisions needed, supported by funding.

Mobile audience

Who needs to use a mobile device for their work?  You need to be clear which employees will benefit from having a mobile device.  It probably will not be everyone.  Even if it is, you will have to prioritise who has the greatest need.  Factors like the number of employees involved, time spent away from their place of work, what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.

Mobile governance

As well as having a champion for the use of mobile devices your governance framework needs to include the standards for owners of content and tools to follow so mobile devices can be used by employees.  Roles and responsibilities need to include meeting the needs of mobile users for content and tool owners.  The content and tools must not be a complete duplication of what exists already.

Mobile devices

Will you let employees bring their own devices to work or will you provide your own?  That decision is critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security (more below on this), funding and speed of adoption.  Once that decision is made you can then focus on what devices your organisation provides or you recommend employees have that offer the best experience for what they need to do while mobile.

Mobile security

How can you be sure the right people only are using your intranet?  It is vital you have a representative from your Legal team involved as well as from IT.  You need to find the right balance of secure but easy access.  It is no good if it takes ages to authenticate who you are before employee can access your intranet.  But you do need some intelligent software working in the background to ensure you know who is accessing content with a mobile device.

Mobile platform

As I said at the beginning most organisations are either considering using SharePoint 2010 or are in various stages of rolling out to meet their needs.  One of these is increasingly the need to provide content and tools that is needed by employees while mobile.

The problem with SharePoint 2010 is the ‘out of the box’ experience can be a bit underwhelming.  It is a text only version which most mobile users of internet sites will feel is like going back in time.  It may be improved by the next release of SharePoint but can your organisation afford to wait that long?

About Mark Morrell

Mark Morrell is an intranet pioneer combining strategic thinking with implementation skills.  Since 1996, he has developed intranet strategies with first-hand practical experience of implementing major technology and change projects.  As the former BT Intranet Manager, he helped to transform BT’s intranet into one of the best global examples for governance, engagement and collaboration. Mark is an expert in SharePoint and can share his knowledge and experience of the digital workplace and other intranet topics. Mark has established his consultancy Mark Morrell Ltd to help major organisations with their intranet strategy, governance, standards and use of collaboration tools.

Phone: +44 (0) 771 338 5309

Email: mark@intranet-pioneer.com

Web: http://intranet-pioneer.com/

 

For a free trial of Azurati’s cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution, SharePoint2Go, visit www.azurati.com/products/sharepoint2go

 

 

 

 

Twitter: @markmorrell

25% of businesses rate mobility as their top priority in 2012, according to Frost & Sullivan

Research and consulting firm, Frost and Sullivan, recently surveyed 204 C-level business and IT executives about Enterprise Mobility.  The survey found that a majority of businesses are in favour of a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, with 61% supporting BYOD and the use of personal devices to access corporate systems and information.  The study showed that within this group, 34% of businesses allow BYOD for all employees and offer full support for all devices, with another 27% allowing BYOD for specific departments.

In the report, enterprise mobility ranks high in terms of priority compared to other IT investments.  More than 25% of companies surveyed rated enteprise mobility projects as either their top priority or a very important priority for 2012.

New mobile devices are emerging at such a pace that many companies have struggled to keep pace with the variety of platforms, devices and form factors; meaning that in many cases, personally owned smartphones and tablets are newer and better than devices issued by employers.

“Allowing employees to use a device of their choice to work through supporting a BYOD strategy is advantageous for organisations with benefits such as increased productivity, greater employee retention (achieved through enhanced job satisfaction) and cost savings through lower capital and operating costs. However, security risks are a concern for many organisations in supporting BYOD”, says Audrey Williams of Frost & Sullivan.

56% of the businesses who responded to the Frost & Sullivan survey cited security concerns as being their number one concern with adopting a BYOD and enterprise mobility strategy; while 59% of businesses cite document and content management as being the most important tools to aide mobile productivity.

This is clearly good news for emerging enterprise mobility solution providers, like Azurati, who will be releasing a new secure mobile SharePoint solution, called SharePoint2Go at the end of May that aims to give mobile staff office-level productivity when working on smartphones and tablets.

Azurati has listened to the concerns of customers and leading independent experts, like Frost & Sullivan and other analyst organisations, and has built enterprise security features into the DNA of its enterprise mobility solutions, like two-factor authentication, single sign-on to multiple SharePoint sites, 256-bit encryption and a zero footprint policy, meaning that nothing is left on the device so that information security will not be compromised in the event that the mobile device is lost or misplaced.

To understand more about how Azurati can help you achieve secure multi-device access to core enterprise systems, like Microsoft SharePoint, visit www.azurati.com.

City of Copenhagen rolls out city-wide wireless network to allow employees to work on mobile devices

The City of Copenhagen in Denmark has recently announced that it has deployed a city-wide wireless network, based on technology from wireless infrastructure company, Aruba Networks, to enable its staff to work on mobile devices.

Although not the first project of its kind, it demonstrates a growing emphasis on employers providing secure mobile infrastructures to allow mobile workers to maintain office-level productivity when they are working on wireless devices, like smartphones or tablets.

Mobile working is set to become more popular over the next three years, according to leading independent analysts, like Gartner, as mobile devices become more sophisticated and mobile enterprise application platforms, like Azurati, allow mobile users to connect to their office systems securely on their smartphone or tablet device.

Being able to connect to core enterprise systems, like Microsoft SharePoint or CRM systems on a mobile device with mobile-rendered interfaces will transform the productivity levels of staff who are not in the office.

We recently came across a case where the field-based staff of a government agency were required to travel in to their office each day just to receive their work orders and supporting documentation for the day; even if this meant travelling extensive distances in the wrong direction to their work assignment.

How mobile staff like senior managers, sales and marketing professionals or field staff work during down-time (on public transport, in transit, at airports, etc.) when they are not in the office, will become the new benchmark for productivity and competitiveness.

If your business stops because you leave the office and are not available to review and approve documents, contracts or purchase orders; or if you have to wait until the next day when you are back in the office to follow up with a customer after a sales meeting, the chances are that in the near future, you are going to lose staff or lose business if your competitor’s staff are able to continue working as if they are in the office, when they only have a smartphone or tablet to hand.

To learn more about smarter and more productive working when you are on the road, visit www.azurati.com.

BYOD and Consumerisation of IT applications hits CIOs with a double-whammy in 2012.

The first quarter of 2012 will go down in history as being one of the most significant periods of change in corporate IT ever; hitting CIOs with the the massive uptake in private use of smart phones and tablet devices and an unstoppable trend for staff to expect to be able to bring their private mobile and tablet devices in to the workplace and to expect that they work with corporate systems.

While some CIOs have already put strategies and policies in place to address enterprise mobility issues, many have not and risk being overtaken by a flood of new platforms, formats and applications that may compromise enterprise and information security if not addressed as a priority.

Key enterprise IT trends of 2012:

BYOD (Bring your own device)
Business users bringing their own devices in to the workplace and expecting them to be able to connect to corporate email, and increasingly, corporate systems like Microsoft SharePoint, reporting dashboards, CRM systems and other enterprise applications.

Consumerisation of IT and applications
App store applications that are purchased for private use are beginning to have a changing effect on the way that business users expect enterprise applications to look and behave in a mobile world.  Standard enterprise applications either do not have mobile UIs, or have uninspiring mobile experiences that do little to engage business users.

Mobile working
The introduction of smart phones and tablet devices in to the workplace is set to lead to an explosion, according to industry analysts, like VDC Research, in mobile working and staff expecting to be able to access corporate systems as if they are in the office on any mobile device.  The key challenge for IT is going to be how to achieve this without compromising corporate security policies.

Travelling business executives and field-based staff increasingly want to be able to access corporate data and content securely on mobile devices and not have to wait to action items when they get back to the office or connect to the internet via a laptop.  CIOs and IT teams have an opportunity to embrace this new way of working and to put new policies and control mechanisms in place that ensure that mobile workers can work productively when they are away from the office and in a way that minimises the risk of security breeches if the device is misplaced or stolen.

Azurati will be launching a new solution in April called SharePoint2Go that will allow mobile workers to access Microsoft SharePoint on any mobile or tablet device with full enterprise-class security features built in so that data and information security is not compromised.  If you are interested in joining our beta programme or becoming a launch reference customer, please contact us at info@azurati.com.