How much of your job requires you to be physically present at work? What task cannot be performed with a mobile application? How much more productive can you be when you’re not tied to a desk? How does this flexibility improve your work-life balance and job satisfaction? The answers to these questions explain why IDC expects mobile workers to account for 72.3 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.
Of course, working outside of the office and working effectively outside of the office are two different things. Without the right collaboration tools, working remotely can indeed create a disconnect that becomes an impediment to productivity and business success. This can cause employers to have second thoughts about telework policies.
Intranets, like SharePoint, have long been used for collaboration.
Technically, an intranet is a private network that interconnects company LANs and private WANs. Tunneling makes it possible for users to connect different parts of their intranet and securely share data through a public network. However, most people think of an intranet as a system that allows users to communicate and access company resources through a gateway or portal. It enables users to store, retrieve and share files, and access applications.
Microsoft SharePoint is virtually synonymous with intranets.
At its core, the SharePoint is a browser-based document management and collaboration platform that enables organizations to set up websites, intranets and extranets. However, SharePoint is highly customizable and includes business intelligence features that can support a wide range of use cases.
Traditionally, intranets have focused on desktop computers, enabling users working from home to connect to the network from their company-issued laptops. Today’s mobile workforce requires far more flexibility.
Recognizing this need, Microsoft introduced the SharePoint mobile application earlier this year. SharePoint has always been available through a browser, but the mobile app promises a more intelligent, personalized intranet that works seamlessly with Windows, iOS and Android devices.
The SharePoint mobile app provides users with full access to SharePoint team sites and content so they can stay up to speed on group projects and stay connected with fellow employees. The app is integrated with Microsoft Graph, a framework and platform that makes data available to applications based upon a user’s identity and activity.
Microsoft also unveiled a number of other new features that make SharePoint ideal for the mobile workforce. The updated SharePoint home is integrated with Office 365 Groups, so users can quickly pull together a team of employees, customers and business partners, and provide a dedicated collaboration platform for a specific project. Users can request a team site for a specific purpose and group and, once it’s approved, a SharePoint workflow will automatically create it. Organizations can create site templates to make this process even more efficient.
The new team sites interface has a modern look and feel that is consistent with Office 365 yet provides all the capabilities of SharePoint document libraries and lists. Pages and portals have a responsive design suitable for mobile devices and the new SharePoint mobile app.
As mobile workforces become the norm, a mobile-focused intranet is required to enable smarter, seamless collaboration. SharePoint delivers on this promise, providing a simple, consistent experience that brings people and information together to get work done.
Written and composed by our Practice Director, Collaboration and Content, Troy Brittain