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iOS SharePoint App Aims To Mobilize Intranets and Collaboration

The new SharePoint Mobile app for iOS is now available and it represents an important milestone in Microsoft's effort to bring the corporate intranet and collaboration to users' phones. Given how many people use their phones more than their PCs for routine purposes, bringing the capabilities that have made SharePoint Sites so widely used over the past decade is critical if Microsoft wants SharePoint to remain relevant as people shift the way they search and access information.

That's why Jeff Teper said creating a modern interface was a key priority and emphasis when he gave his vision for the Future of SharePoint last month. At that event in San Francisco, Teper first revealed the new revamped experience for mobile users with a modern, yet intuitive and immersive, interface for mobile devices.

The new SharePoint Mobile app is designed to bring corporate intranets to mobile devices with easy access to team sites, portals and a snapshot of what colleagues in a workgroup or team are working on. It uses the machine learning intelligence of the Office Graph, which renders the most relevant documents used by individuals and groups.

In addition to supporting SharePoint Online in Office 365, the new mobile app supports on-premises and hybrid implementations of SharePoint Server. It works with the two most recent releases, SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2016. Once a user installs the app on their phone, users can log in using their SharePoint credentials, or via Azure Active Directory, NTLM and Forms-Based Authentication (FBA), among others. It's configured to let users switch between Office 365 accounts.

The new mobile client provides a gateway to SharePoint with what Andy Haon, principal group program manager on Microsoft's SharePoint engineering team, called "front door" access to SharePoint. In a video demonstration, Haon explained the "front doors" interfaces to the new SharePoint mobile client.

The Sites tab provides a list of sites users frequently access or follow. It shows recent files, lists, subsites and pages accessed, and allows a user to share a site. When accessing a SharePoint document library that's in a team site, it accesses it in the OneDrive mobile app for iOS, allowing users to view, share, search, follow and manage files stored across Office 365. Microsoft posted documentation on how the two apps work together.

Organizations can provide access to key corporate resources via the Links tab. "Administrators can program links for their employees and these links will show up both in the SharePoint Mobile app and also in the SharePoint Home Web experience," Haon explained. "This enables users to quickly access their Office 365 video portal, company or divisional portals, an important site, cafeteria menus or other organizational resources."

Have you tried the new iOS client yet? Share your views.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/22/2016 at 1:27 PM


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