In conjunction with mobile technology, cloud computing has cut the chains between today’s business worker and their cubicle, enabling them to be as productive away from the office as they are within its walls.
A dizzying number of apps are now available to help business users stay productive on the road and, when used in conjunction within a bring your own device policy that addresses enterprise security concerns, they can greatly increase the productivity of your mobile workforce.
Here are five cloud-enabled mobile business apps that could help your users put the power of the cloud in their pocket, and stay within IT policy.
Evernote for Business
Your users may already be using Evernote to scribble notes and reminders that automatically synch through the cloud across all their endpoints, from their phone to their laptop. Evernote for Business is a paid option that adds two-factor authentication to address enterprise security concerns, integrates with Active Directory, and adds the ability for project teams to share information and the company to push notes to all employees. Documents and web pages can also be shared. With the data stored on Evernote’s servers, this may not be a fit for companies with data residency concerns.
If you’re using Microsoft Office 365 as your company’s office productivity suite, chances are the mobile app license is already included with each employee license. Users can download mobile-friendly, full-featured Office apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint for their iOS or Android tablet or handset or Windows Phone device. The familiar interface reduces training time and, through OneDrive, files are accessible across devices while remaining in your secured cloud environment. Mobile versions of Lync and Yammer are also available.
Many businesses use Microsoft Lync as their app for video conferencing and meetings, but your users don’t need to be tethered to their laptop or their desktop to join a meeting. Microsoft has a number of endpoint-specific Lync apps, including Lync 2013 for iPad, that help extend the power of Lync and Skype for Business to different endpoints. The app allows shared meeting content to be viewed, group conversations to be started, and even meetings to be run directly from the endpoint, all with enhanced security through a Lync certificate and passive authentication.
Box & Dropbox
Box and Dropbox have been popular cloud-based storage services for years that, while they often come pre-installed on smartphones, have often given security-conscious IT managers some cause for concern. Both vendors have sought to address this with business editions. Box offers its business users secure file sharing, policy and workflow management, IT administration and controls and enterprise-class security, while Dropbox for Business features a complete audit log, remote wipe, sharing controls, strong encryption, single sign-on and two-step verification. With the data stored on their servers, they may not be a fit for companies with data residency concerns.
As a cloud-based expense management app, Expense Manager can help reduce one major headache for your business travellers by helping to track their business travel expenses, manage all those receipts, and simplify reimbursement. Receipts can be digitized by taking a photo so the paper copy can be discarded, credit card information can be imported, mileage can be tracked, and expense reports can be approved via a mobile interface and integrated into your financial system. Supplier invoicing is also a supported module that can be added.