SPTechCon 2013: Joel Oleson Explores the “Art of the Possible” with SharePoint 2013 and Enterprise Mobile

Joel Oleson delivers the keynote at SPTechCon Boston 2013Let me begin by first apologizing to Karuana Gatimu and Jeremy Thake, because after Joel Oleson's amazing keynote this morning, it looks as though you two have some BIG shoes to fill.  Touted as the #1 Influencer in SharePoint and the Most Connected Man in the SharePoint Community, Joel Oleson showed us this morning what exactly earns him these impressive titles.  In his presentation titled "SharePoint 2013 and the Enterprise Mobile Revolution," Joel bravely opened the Pandora's box that is SharePoint for the mobile device and broke down one of the biggest issues AND trends in SharePoint right now. 

To begin, Joel opened with some statistics that can be considered staggering at the least – over one billion smartphones are currently being used worldwide, with 82% of these folks engaging in social networking.  Keeping these numbers in mind, Joel transitioned to an explanation of four major areas of consideration when it comes to the SharePoint enterprise mobile revolution:

  • Mobile Device Explosion;
  • Enterprise Mobile;
  • SharePoint 2013; and
  • Responsive Web Design and SharePoint.

So what is this Mobile Device Explosion and why should we care?  With mobile use trending way up and desktop traffic slowly declining, it's hard to ignore the influence that mobile devices have on how work is getting done.  As Joel explained, with mobile use rising at exponential rates, it has become critical that we take this medium into consideration as we design our sites and their user interfaces.  With people increasingly getting work done outside the office, the richness and availability of data is essential for business productivity.  Knowing this, it was only a matter of time before we jumped into our next area of consideration….

Mobile Enterprise.  First, the scary stuff.  Did you know that 92% of companies do NOT support mobile access to SharePoint?  Unfortunately for businesses big and small, whether or not you like it, mobile IS happening and if you're not providing a platform, employees will find a new option, be it Dropbox or some other file sharing and storage application.  So why should the enterprise provide a solution?  According to Joel, the benefits that can be achieved are endless, but include:

  • Improved employee responsiveness;
  • Expedited internal issue resolution; and
  • Increased overall productivity.

Knowing these benefits, how can we utilize SharePoint 2013 to optimize business on the go?  In his interactive demonstration, Joel showed the audience the numerous, powerful mobile options that Microsoft and SharePoint provide (all this, performed completely on an Apple iPhone with iOS – how's that for mobile diversity and reach?!).  Specifically, Joel demoed the robust mobile support that is available in the following apps:

  • Sky Drive Pro – A powerful document sharing and storage application that can be used both on AND offline to manage your documents;
  • Microsoft Office Mobile – A document editing application that can be used to modify and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents while on the go; and
  • Newsfeed – An application that allows you to stay up-to-date with what's happening on your SharePoint site. Follow documents, sites, and more so that you can find what you need fast.

After his demonstration, Joel moved on to the final, and perhaps most critical, component of the enterprise mobile revolution – Responsive Web Design.  With the increased use of mobile devices, it has become necessary to start changing the way we build our interfaces.  Specifically, Joel noted that quite simply; we need to start thinking about building user interfaces that work on everything from your monster television screen at home to your little mobile screen that you use while in the field.  As study after study has found, when users are given a good, easy-to-use design that is responsive, they will be quicker to use and adopt the format.

In closing, it must be recognized that mobile is no longer something that is simply "new and cool"; it's something that people are using to get actual work done.  Knowing this, what can we do with SharePoint to increase our business use and productivity?  With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has upped the ante by providing a wealth of tools and flexible options to make SharePoint mobility a reality.  As we continue to consider SharePoint 2013 and the enterprise mobile revolution, Joel left us with a few key things to keep in mind as we continue our journey:

  1. The native mobile browsing capabilities for SharePoint have improved considerably in SharePoint 2013.
  2. It has never been easier to access social, people, documents, and more with SharePoint mobile apps.
  3. Have gaps in your mobile solution?  Consider third-party mobile applications if you are looking for increased mobile search and security capabilities, and more.
  4. Plan for mobile intranets, extranets, and public sites and make sure that you are SERIOUSLY considering industry best practices in your planning.

 Joel's SPTechCon Boston keynote slide deck is available for download at: http://www.slideshare.net/joeloleson/sharepoint-2013-and-the-enterprise-mobile-revolution

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