Software

Five productivity apps to make the BYOD experience more productive

With the right productivity apps you can manage to remain productive when you're using your own devices at your place of business.

To some, bring your own device (BYOD) and the consumerization of IT has arrived and is already presenting a few challenges. Beyond the security and connectivity to work data - how do you manage to remain productive when you're using your own devices at your place of business? It doesn't have to be a trick question. With the right productivity apps, you can make that transition as smooth as possible.

But there are so many productivity apps out there. And you have to consider what BOYD device are you using? So many questions; so many potential answers. In the end, however, it's all about fitting the perfect application to the task. I have found five apps that fit a range of needs and should make your day-to-day BYOD much easier.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

The challenge with BYOD is that varied platforms become part of the mix. For many, the platform of choice will be in the form of either an IOS or Android tablet. But that doesn't mean there won't be smart phones and laptops involved. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the more productive "productivity apps" available to improve your BYOD experience.

Five Apps

1. Kingsoft Office

Kingsoft Office is, without a doubt, one of the finest mobile office suites available. It not only boasts one of the largest feature sets of any mobile office suite, it also has an incredibly easy to use interface. Add to that feature set, seamless compatibility with MS Office and LibreOffice (supporting twenty-three file formats), as well as built-in cloud storage support, and you have a perfect office suite solution to meet your BYOD needs. And what's best? Kingsoft Office is absolutely free and is available for Android and Windows.

2. Evernote

Evernote is probably the single most popular note-taking application you will find. But Evernote isn't just your average note-taking app. With this handy BYOD-friendly tool, you can keep all of your devices in sync and gain access to: Notes, web clips, files, images, audio tracks, and more. To make Evernote more BYOD-friendly, you can install (and sync) the app on your smartphone (Android, IOS, Blackberry) as well as your desktop (Windows, Mac), or within a browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). You'll find Evernote in your mobile device app store.

3. Google Drive

Google Drive could easily become your go-to cloud-based document service to perfectly fit your BYOD needs. And since Google Drive is available on nearly every platform and for every browser, it's hard to go wrong. The Google Drive tablet version is nearly as user-friendly as the standard, browser-based version. Of course, with the Google Chrome tablet browser, you can even experience the same Google Drive as you find on your desktop. It's free and offers outstanding compatibility for nearly every office suite. Google Drive can be found in your device's app store.

4. Touchdown

Touchdown is that groupware suite you need if you're looking for a mobile replacement for Outlook. Let's face it; you will not function in a BYOD environment if you cannot check your email. Typically, your mobile device applications can connect with your Exchange server - individually. Instead of having to open up multiple applications for your work email, calendar, contacts, and to do lists why not open up a single application? And, if you have an Android device that has issues communicating with your company's Exchange server, Touchdown almost never fails. Touchdown can be trialed for free. The full version (available for Android) is $19.99.

5. Spideroak

Spideroak is the true powerhouse of the sync tools. Forget Dropbox and SkyDrive - when you need more than just a single folder (and it's subfolders) synced and when you need the added power of backup, you need Spideroak. With BYOD, having the ability to easily sync folders and files between your desktop and your mobile device, is a must-have. Spideroak is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, IOS, Windows Phone (coming soon), and Blackberry (coming soon). Spideroak also offers Personal, Business, and Partner plans. Pricing for Personal is 2GB for free and $10.00 per month, per 100GB increment. Business users get 1TB for $600.00 per month (for hosted service) or $5.00 per user (for onsite). Check out this page for information on the Partner plan.

Bottom line

BOYD will require a solid stable of applications to make using your own devices easier within your place of business. Do not be fooled into thinking you can use just any application. With a bit of planning, you can take the right productivity tools with you and get more work done.

Also read:

TechRepublic and ZDNet delve deeper into this topic in a special report page: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

9 comments
kimcat9
kimcat9

I'm a sales rep and we recently started working with iPads. Right now, the most important app that my company is using is a sales rep app (www.wrnty.com) which made the sales process drastically more efficient in addition, after reading this, we also went ahead and purchased Touchdown (we were using Outlook before). Thanks for the great app advice Jack!

SO'Brien
SO'Brien

These are all great apps! One more for the list – Notability which has handwriting, PDF annotation, typing and recording features.

TsarNikky
TsarNikky

By an alternative definition, BYOD, does mean "bring your own disaster." Just the mechanisms involved--both hardware and software almost ensures the alternative definition.

maj37
maj37

Well I have an office app that works pretty well called Office2 (squared), sorry I couldn't put a superscript in your comment editor that cost $5.99. There are a few minor problems with it so I am always in the market for a better one, especially if it is free. This is the second such app that I have seen previewed on a tech website, I think both were tech republic. So far though the online recommendations are 0 for 2. The other app Documents just doesn't work well, even the $.99 version, the free one of course was worse. As for Kingsoft Office, well since all of the fields on the screen that comes up are apparently in Japanese I really didn't get a chance to test it much. iOS 6 on an iPhone 4s BTW. I don't think I'll bother with any of the other apps you list as being sooo productive.

Marilyn.Rogers
Marilyn.Rogers

LightArrow, Inc. has built a complete organization app for iPhone / iPad that I believe you will find useful for BYOD. If you want to manage your entire schedule, tasks, and to-dos (both personal and business) in one place on your tablet or iphone, LifeTopix is ideal. LifeTopix brings in Evernote, Dropbox, Google Docs/Drive, Google Tasks, Toodledo Tasks and Notes, and Asana Tasks into this single organization app covering 12 life topics. More at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lifetopix/id399076264?mt=8

lifebef
lifebef

This list is great but most of these apps are missing a holistic approach. I want to work on my devices, iPads, whatever, but also laptops and wherever I am. Plus, I need to be plugged into my business systems. A complete platform like Nivio (nivio.com) makes your work desktop available on any device, so you can have fully functional MS Office on your Mac, or iPad or Chromebook.

NickP2012
NickP2012

I always look for app that will help my at work or on a job. Anyone have any more ideas? i use a lot of these now. If you were to bring a device to work would you rather bring a smartphone or tablet?

russell.powell
russell.powell

Great insight into useful apps for the BYOD space. We've found a lot more of our clients using a BYOD model for their IT and deploying our software on a variety of devices so its good that this is being highlighted further as i can only see it growing further. www.oxygenhelpdesk.com

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you bringing your own devices into work with you? What apps have you found useful?

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