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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 jackwallen.com.