Are we at peak SharePoint mobility, yet?

Image by Wynand van Poortvliet via Unsplash.com

I’ve been following the news leading up to the recent release of SharePoint 2016 with keen interest. As a technical writer working with corporate and government client, I follow SharePoint and other collaboration developments religiously. Furthermore, I’ve long been a proponent of SharePoint and in turn Office 365 for the mobile workforce. With SharePoint 2016, Microsoft finally delivers on their SharePoint mobile app.

Haley Frank writes in Sharepoint’s going mobile with a new app on PCWorld.com:

The SharePoint Mobile app is aimed at helping people get quick access to four types of information from SharePoint: news from across the company, the sites that people use the most, quick links to important pages and a list of their coworkers. It will work both with SharePoint Online and some on-premises versions of SharePoint Server.

Being a veteran of a few SharePoint deployments, turnarounds, documentation, and training engagements in business and government myself, I latched onto the potential of enterprise mobility and SharePoint early on. When I was freelancing for CNET TechRepublic, I covered early innovators in the mobility and SharePoint space in particular harmon.ie and Colligo. The iPhone and iPad user experience (UX) just plain trump what I was seeing done with SharePoint UX out in the real world so I saw the potential of these apps to open up SharePoint sites and the documents they hold to a class of less technical knowledge workers and business users.

Then came the rise of Office 365, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and mobile-first strategies. Harmon.ie and Colligo were right there with their mobile apps. Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie and Barry Jinks, president of Colligo are also true thought leaders in the areas of SharePoint/Office 365, enterprise mobility, and mobile collaboration.

Microsoft has had an opportunity to study and learn from harmon.ie and Colligo when it comes to SharePoint and mobile apps. I always questioned Microsoft’s hands off approach to mobilizing SharePoint and leaving it in the hands of partners. Although after Satya Nadella had become CEO, and early rumors about SharePoint 2016 began to trickle out, I thought that either company might become an acquisition target for technology and talent.

Huddle is another collaboration platform I’ve written about in the past. One of their strongest selling points until this news was that they own their cloud platform and impressive mobile client app. Alastair Mitchell, their co-founder is another one of the great thought leaders around mobility and cloud collaboration.

I hope with the launch of SharePoint 2016 and the SharePoint mobile app mark a new chapter in mobile collaboration where enterprises gain another tool to help them crack the mobile collaboration code. There could be a unique technology push and pull being set up between the Microsoft SharePoint 2016 team and early innovators like harmon.ie, Colligo, and competitor Huddle. These companies have an early edge in terms of innovation but for how long? As Microsoft’s entry into enterprise mobility management (EMM) with Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) shows, they are very adept at studying new markets, and none of us should dismiss their enterprise mobility expertise too quickly even with their previous mobile product launch issues.

Will we finally see the peak level of SharePoint mobility once Microsoft’s SharePoint Mobile app launches?


Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.

Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

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