I recently sat in on Barry Jinks Office 365 Saturday session and viewed the Webinar on "Secure File Sharing with SharePoint: An Alternative to Dropbox." At first I was simply exited to see a new file sync tool for SharePoint. I’ve been getting beat up at work over the complexity of using SharePoint to sync a folder. My users haven’t exactly been happy with our encouragement to move from file shares. Many have taken up Dropbox, and security has been up in arms. We haven’t had a very strong argument to get them to move from Dropbox. We tell them to use SharePoint, but they complain about the poor user experience on iPad and mobile devices, both of which have a better story with Dropbox.
In this session, Barry introduces first the numbers on this iPad/tablet invasion. The numbers he shared were incredible. Gartner’s anticipated numbers for various OS’s just show what this surge is going to look like.
Incredible! In the session I overheard many explaining that out of nowhere it seems that the iPad has been legitimized as an alternative to the laptop, and is a popular favorite with executives. One attendee shared that his company had purchased 20,000 iPads.
Microsoft hasn’t ignored Apple’s revolution in the enterprise space. They’ve slowly been testing the waters, first with Microsoft Tag reader, and next with a full blown OneNote app for iPad released free to the app store. Now you can get iPad formatted SharePoint BI reports on PerformancePoint. Seems to me that Microsoft does know that various company execs want to see their reports on their iPads, in fact they have already responded in a small way.
"Cumulative Update 2011-12 (CU 2011-12) for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 enables organizations to view certain kinds of reports and scorecards on Apple iPad devices that use the iOS 5 Safari browser. This article describes what business intelligence content users can view on iPad, how to configure reports and scorecards to be displayed correctly, and how to navigate business intelligence content on iPad." Read more on TechNet…
Here are quick list of what’s now supported in SharePoint 2010 SP1 with the December CU.
Quick SharePoint and iPad tip: "Apple iPad does not use right-click functionality or the ability to double-click a SharePoint folder to open it. However, this does not mean that context menus are unavailable. To open a SharePoint folder or a shortcut menu or a hyperlink in Safari on iPad, tap and hold a position for approximately 1-2 seconds. A menu opens from which you can select the option that you want."
In fact, Barry went on share that iPad use at work is not so rare at all. In fact professionals who use their iPad at work is 67% (IDC iPad for Business Survey 2012.) In our in house session poll, 50% of those who had iPads in our SharePoint crowd had used their iPads for work. I admit I’ve definitely used mine to sync my work email, and frequently use it to answer after hours email. I’ve also definitely used it for connecting to our Intranet for doing people search, and casually browsing corporate news and accessing social networks. I also admit I haven’t used it much for accessing SharePoint outside of the casual browsing, mostly because of the user experience through the browser in working with documents. Not the best experience as you can imagine.
Yes, iPad is making waves and forcing IT departments to wake up. In fact a recent survey by IDC, a poll to a number of professionals asked "Has the iPad has partly, completely or not at all replaced X device?" In the case of laptops, the number goes as high as 16% replacing a laptop with as many as 54% saying it partly replaced it. (IDC iPad for Business Survey 2012)
IT has definitely been taken off guard. Only 14 say they official support the tablets in their organization, with 9% saying it’s widely in use but not supported. 49% of organizations have limited use or are under evalution. (Ernst & Young 2011 Global Information Security Survey)
Part of the wake up call is… how to manage this? These edge devices that seem like an information leak waiting to happen are frequently being used by executives and those with the best of access to corporate data. I know I understand that passwords and policies force users to come up with simple passwords. In fact, my 2 your old knows my password on my phone and iPad. The password requirement that is enforced by exchange down to my iPhone and iPad are pretty strong if my 2 year old can do it without making too many mistakes. How do we manage this? People today are already using dropbox to get data onto their phones and devices. Dropbox is a consumer solution with no real enforcement solution for enterprises. I’m sure you heard about the dropbox fiasco where there was a 4 hour window with the environment just left open. In fact when you investigate corporate solutions you find it’s quite expensive and it doesn’t necessarily solve your biggest concerns. Here are three: Employee "owns" the data, vulnerable in an e-discovery, can’t apply disposition.
How can we get both ease of use, flexibility, and security and management?
In comes MDM – Mobile Device management. A new, but sorely needed software based solution for IT. It’s all about controlling and protecting data, settings and configuration. There are various mobile deployment management software for getting your arms around things. You need the ability to centrally manage and restrict the settings. You need that ability to remotely wipe when someone walks off with a device. You need the ability to manage the security, and manage how content is cached, and shared externally. The challenge is finding the apps you want to support, and ensuring all the right hooks are there.
There’s Colligo Administrator for enterprises to centrally deploy, manage and report data across the various Colligo applications.
I’m evaluating Colligo Briefcase over the next couple of weeks. I’m already jazzed up about seeing a solution that provides both security management and ease of use. I don’t want to fill you full of just the marketing info. I want to get you the real word on this. So watch here the for a product review. There is actually a briefcase lite that’s free from the iPad app store. Simply providing a feedback score to the free app and a follow up email to Colligo enters you into a free iPad offering.
Here’s some good references on Colligo’s comprehensive solutions for the individual and enterprise around iPad.
Get more information on Colligo Briefcase Enterprise from Colligo’s site, including a request to evaluate it in your organization.