What Microsoft’s Mobile First Mantra Really Means
It wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft told us that they were a Cloud First company. Now they are a Cloud First, Mobile First company. Can you have two “firsts”? Well, it turns out that they really do go hand in hand. One of the biggest changes with Satya becoming the CEO of Microsoft has been his commitment to Microsoft as a provider of services as opposed to software. Practically, this means that Microsoft doesn’t care what device or OS that you are using to get to their services…just that you use their services such as Email, File Storage, Compute, Database, Video, and Analytics.
So, how is Microsoft promoting this? Well, perhaps the biggest change is that they are now releasing native apps for every mobile OS. It doesn’t matter if you have iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, you can now run the full version of Office for free…assuming that you have an O365 account. Microsoft has moved from charging for the application to charging for the service and has expanded their market share while making the end user’s life easier.
There is an entire slew of apps out there that Microsoft provides for free, and they are tightly integrated making switching between them easy and contextual. I have broken them down into Business Apps, O365 Apps, Management Apps, and Personal Apps. I haven’t included games and entertainment apps like Solitaire or the Selfie App, but they exist as well. There is also an entire series of “Garage” project apps like Invite that allows you to suggest a meeting time and the invitees get to vote on what slot is chosen.
First the Business Apps
- Outlook – – Combines Email, Calendaring, Files, and Contacts into one app. It also had strong management hooks to ensure data protection by the enterprise
- Skype for Business – – As Outlook does for Email, this app does for Instant Messaging and Meetings. Strong integration with Outlook allows you to easily join Skype meetings with a single button press from the meeting invite. You can view screen shares, but cannot share your screen…yet.
- Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) – – The three primary productivity apps with full editing capabilities and a touch optimized interface
- Visio Mobile Viewer – – You need to open and view that Visio from your mobile device. In the past that meant having someone convert it to a PDF or image and sending it to you. No more with the Visio Viewer. You can now view them from email, OneDrive, your device, or the Web.
- OneNote – – Easily take notes and share them with others. Includes photos, recordings, and drawings from your device
- OneDrive – – File Access for your personal as well as business OneDrive accounts. Also allows you to automatically upload your photos to your OneDrive after they are taken
- SharePoint – – The infamous “SharePoint in your pocket” app. This allows you a touch enabled interface to your collaboration sites with a simplified navigation and file and list interface
- Yammer – – Your mobile interface for participating in your Yammer Networks. It makes posting photos very easy and sends you push notifications as well.
- Remote Desktop – – Not that I would recommend using this for all of your work, but if you need to remote into a system, this is a way to get it done from your mobile device from anywhere.
- Work Folders – – If your company doesn’t have OneDrive they may allow you to use Work Folders. This app will let you take files and store them on your mobile device for offline use
- Managed Intune Browser – – If you need a secure browser to protect corporate information you can steer your users via policy to this browser that you can manage centrally
- My Apps Azure AD – – An app that lets you see all of the applications that you use your Azure AD credentials to sign into.
- Azure Information Protection – – So, you use Rights Management and you cannot open the emails and documents on your mobile device. You can with this app.
Next the Office 365 Apps
- Delve – – Often called the “Pinterest for O365”, the Delve mobile app gives you the card based interface that uses machine learning and leverages the Office Graph to surface content to you that is relevant. Since Delve is also the new Profiles in SharePoint, you can see a person’s profile that includes the documents they have shared with you, their manager, peers, and direct reports, and also the documents that their colleagues have shared with you.
- O365 Groups – – Create and participate in Office 365 Groups from your mobile app.
- Microsoft Teams – – New to the lineup, and still in preview, Teams is Microsoft’s new way to communicate and collaborate via a chat interface that is persistent. Based on O365 Groups, you can chat with others in your team as well as share files.
- PowerBI – – PowerBI lets you create powerful reports and dashboards in the cloud based on your data from anywhere. The mobile app allows you to consume these dashboards and reports on your device just like on your desktop or laptop.
- StaffHub – – Do you have a large workforce that is desk-less? Maybe they have Kiosk licenses for O365 but don’t have a corporate computer. Often these workers are shift based and are strong mobile users. StaffHub is the solution to allow them to interact with your O365 network and also provides shift management to them via their mobile device.
- Sway – – Do you want to build a powerful story based web experience? Sway is the tool for you. It allows you to easily build a web based presentation that looks like a professional web site, but is built using your mobile device or desktop and can include text, images, and video.
- Office 365 Video – – If you use video, and who doesn’t, then this app will allow you to manage your videos right into your portal.
- PowerApps – – Microsoft’s new addition to the family, PowerApps allow developers to build apps that run against a Common Data Model that can include cloud services , Saas or PaaS data, and on premise data into apps that are run in a native mobile OS app that can even run off-line. Combined with PowerBI and Flow, PowerApps forms one of the bases of Microsoft’s new Analyze, Act, and Automate tripod of business services.
- Flow – – The Automate part of the tripod, Flow allows you to easily automate tasks via the cloud. There are interfaces for dozens of popular cloud platforms, and via the Common Data Model you can even connect to on premise information. Examples include being able to pick up tweets with a specific hashtag and post them to Yammer, or to send an email when a SharePoint list item is added
- Office 365 Message Encryption Viewer – – If you get encrypted messages via O365, this app will let you view them on your mobile device.
- Office 365 Project Time Reporter – – Do you use Project Online to track project time? Now you can use this app to enter it from your mobile device.
- Dynamics 365 for Phones – – Your mobile solution for accessing your Dynamics information. Now your CRM users can consume and update right from their phones.
- Field Service for Dynamics 365 – – Perform scheduling and routing for your field services team via this app that leverages Dynamics 365
The Management Apps
- Office 365 Administrator App – – Manage your O365 Tenant from your mobile app.
- Intune Company Portal – – App that allows you to manage your organization’s mobile devices registered in Intune
- Microsoft Operations Management Suite – – IF you use MOM to manage your infrastructure, then you should be using this App to get anywhere access to your dashboards and searches
The Personal Apps
- Microsoft Authenticator – – A combination of a secure token generator for Microsoft services as well as an easy way to store your logins for Office 365 for your device, the Authenticator will make your life much easier.
- OfficeLens – – The best app for taking business photos. You can scan documents, photograph whiteboards, scan receipts, scan business cards, and even have the app scan text and read it back to you.
- Microsoft Translator – – This is a powerful translation app that
- Microsoft Cortana – – If you made the switch from Windows Phone to another mobile OS and you miss Cortana as your personal assistant, you can get her back. Just download and use the Cortana App
- Bing – – If you use Bing as your search engine, then this app is for you. At your fingertips
- Microsoft Invoicing – – Generate professional invoices and link to online payments and back end accounting systems like QuickBooks
- X-Box and Smart Glass – – These allow you to manage your X-Box live account and even interact with your Xbox via your phone