Office 365 – Extending Office Applications to Your iPad
Referring to today’s workforce as ‘mobile’ is an understatement. Today’s workforce is consistently on the go, doesn’t stay in one place for too long, and as a result, requires rich collaboration tools in order to remain productive.
As you’ve heard me say before, one of the most compelling aspects of Office 365 is that you can access it from virtually anywhere. Because it’s delivered in the cloud, the Office 365 applications are not tied to a single PC or device meaning you can access data from any desktop PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
However, while it’s possible to access Office 365 from a host of web-based tools, not all are optimal. For instance, while you can surely access Office 365 from an iPhone, the screen is too small to do anything other than review.
With that being said, the use of the iPad by mobile workers is on the rise, and as a result we’ve been seeing an increase in the number of inquiries we receive when it comes to the Office 365 integration with iPad. Our clients are increasingly interested in having a way to use and access corporate systems without being tied to their desks – and the iPad proves to be up to the task! They simply want to know, how they can make their iPad run Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the like.
Based on my own use of the iPad with Office 365, I can honestly say that the pair is a powerful combination. With Office 365, all of my contacts, reminders and appointments are synchronized with my iPad at any given time. I simply need an Internet connection and I can access and work with content from the Safari browser.
What makes working with Office 365 on an iPad even more robust is the Microsoft SharePoint access. From a SharePoint online site I can open a Word, Excel or any Office-based document/file, review it, edit it and save it back into my SharePoint environment – all without having the Office suite installed on my iPad.
Key Benefits of Office 365:
- Brings the familiarity of the Office Suite to iPad When users first get their hands on an iPad and begin to use the device for business purposes, they are often left scrambling for a way to work with common Office documents such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. Office 365 eliminates the need for Office ‘reader’ type applications and puts the power of the Office Suite at your fingertips in a browser-based format.
- Anywhere, Anytime Access Just as we touted at the launch of Office 365, the SaaS model frees you to work where and when you choose, allowing you to respond to important requests right away, no matter where you are. Because you can use your iPad to access e-mail and documents, you won’t have to hurry back to the office. When traveling, you can access your e-mail and even edit online documents direct from Safari.
- Readability Compared to readability on a smartphone device, there’s no question that the iPad far surpasses its mobile counterparts. When opening a Word or PowerPoint file, you can see here that the file encompasses my entire screen for easy viewing and editing.
While I would classify the editing options as very basic – meaning I wouldn’t create documents from my iPad – the capabilities for reviewing and editing are sufficient and allow me to accomplish many tasks while on the go. What’s more, by attaching a keyboard to my iPad it serves as a mini laptop in a sense.
If you have a love for your iPad and prefer to work using the Microsoft Office Suite, you can have your cake and eat it too! I encourage you to explore alternative ways to leverage your favorite technology. Don’t be afraid to try new things – you may be pleasantly surprised.
How do you leverage your iPad for business purposes? We’d love to hear other ways in which you’re putting your iPad to work for you. Or, feel free to contact BCG Systems with questions you may have about how to properly equip your mobile workforce.