Getting The Most Out of Office 365: Working with Mobile Apps
One of the best things about working in the cloud is flexibility. For those who lack self-control, this means work invades your life all the time, but for people who have proper boundaries, then the cloud opens the door to the world. Armed only with a phone, you can review documents, respond to questions, and share files. Due to the cross-platform nature of their customers, Microsoft has been forced to develop apps for every major platform. So regardless of who makes the phone in your pocket, you can still gain access to your work messages and files. Windows 10 Mobile, iOS, and Android all connect to Office 365 through a variety of apps.
Outlook on the Web operates like most email services today. You can access your work email via most email apps by connecting the Exchange service in the app. However, Microsoft does offer a mobile Outlook experience on all platforms. Outlook Mobile is a great email app and works well. The app does not yet support unique features of Outlook on the Web, such as ‘liking’ an email or inline mentioning. To access these features, you will need to use the web interface.
There’s an Office 365 Groups app on iOS and Android, which gives access to your group conversations and files. The shared calendar is not currently present through the Office 365 Groups app, but conversations can be ‘liked’ and in-line mentioning is supported. The conversations in the app feel more like a social media post than a traditional email.
Accessing cloud storage on mobile is a breeze with the OneDrive app on every platform. Microsoft has built one app to serve double duty for consumer and business OneDrive access. Simply add your work account to the app to browse edit, add, share, move, and view files. The OneDrive app relies upon other Office apps to edit the specific documents. For example, if you open an Excel spreadsheet, then it will need the Excel app on the device to open the document.
Unlike OneDrive, Skype for Business is a separate from the consumer Skype app. Present on every platform and reasonably functional, Skype for Business lets you send instant messages as well as video or audio calling. The app does not sync message history, so don’t expect to look up a conversation from a week ago on your phone. For the most part, this app meets the minimum expectations, and it’s better than nothing.
Continuing with cross platform support, Yammer has released apps on every platform. The Yammer app is great for staying up to date but does lack some advanced features like polls or announcement posts. While documents can be viewed, they cannot be edited or marked up in the mobile app. Photos and files can be attached to posts or comments and inline mentioning works as expected. The app does a good job of being an easy way to stay connected without obsessing over email.
Holding up the rear is the Delve app available on Android and iOS. This app is a simplified version of Delve, showing relevant documents in a similar cards UI. Documents can be previewed in the Delve app, but further editing needs to be done in the respective standalone apps. Users can check up on documents their coworkers are working with and browse their connections.
For a final review, all of these apps are nice and can be handy to have when you are away from a computer but they represent the double edged nature of mobile computing, there are no boundaries. This means you can easily be checking Yammer at the dinner table, or following a work conversation during a movie; now you can read emails while in the dentist waiting room, or review documents while on the bus. As technology progresses, it always has the ability to be misused and the onus is on each of us to work responsibility.
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