USING SHAREPOINT ON THE GO WHITE PAPER
Using SharePoint on the Go INTRODUCTION Considering how dependent we are on the Internet these days, it’s hard to believe how often we aren’t able to access the web or have a connection that is so slow it is essentially unusable. With the prevalence of 4G & LTE, from a consumer standpoint, it seems like you can always access the Internet without a problem. However, if you are in a crowded stadium or a busy conference, the network is typically so congested that even if you miraculously are able to use the Internet, it is so slow that you can’t really do anything. This is a problem that field personnel and traveling executives are all too familiar with. Yes, they can use WiFi on a plane, but not all planes have this option and the connection isn’t that great. Yes, most hotels have free WiFi or at least the option to purchase it, however as Om Malik of GigaOm notes: “it is virtually impossible to use the Wi-Fi for even getting the work done” (Malik, “Lost in (hotel) Wi-Fi: My love & hate relationship with hotel Wi-Fi” http://gigaom.com/2013/06/17/lost-in-hotel-wi-fi-my-love-hate-relationship-with-hotel-wi-fi/). Field service personnel are in particularly bad shape as 30% of field service tickets are performed in areas with poor or non-existent Internet connections (Dutta and Pinder, “Field Service 2011: Mobility and the Extension of the Service Enterprise”), and without Internet to access their SharePoint sites they can’t get to the service materials they need to fix equipment. So in an environment that is so heavily dependent on the Internet, how can we combat these challenges to make sure that our field travelers are able to get their jobs done? Today, with the rising prevalence of mobile and remote workers, “the network is arguably more important than the physical office. Networks are the glue that holds businesses together, particularly when operations expand beyond the boundaries of any one physical space” (Enterpriseworkingplanet.com; “The WOC: WAN Optimization in a Box”; Aaron Weiss; Mar 30, 2012). It is therefore essential to make sure that field travelers are able to access the network to do their jobs. The answer is surprisingly simple: caching. Caching has existed for ages and has been used to speed up access to web applications in remote offices and locations situated far away from the origin server. The same concept can be used to solve issues of offline access and slow page loads on a poor Internet connection, with one new innovative twist: it must be done on the endpoint.
Offline Access One of the most important benefits of endpoint caching is offline access. Since the data is stored directly on a user’s hard drive, it can be displayed and edited in the browser even when there is no Internet connection available. This allows field service engineers to access support manuals on SharePoint while offline, provides bank auditors with the ability to access their SharePoint site and upload auditing materials when they are stuck in a basement without MiFi access, and traveling executives to view reports and documents on SharePoint no matter where they are. Since endpoint caching can be done for any HTTP or HTTPS delivered content, the benefits expand beyond SharePoint to Salesforce, Information Week, Amazon.com – any website or Mobolize
application, even home grown ones. Instead of having to cobble together several different offline solutions that only work for a single web application, endpoint caching can be used to handle all of an organization’s offline requirements. Additionally, endpoint caching allows for both offline reading and editing of SharePoint content in the browser. Many field personnel need to make changes to existing documents or upload case notes while they are working, so it is important to have more than just read-only access to these applications. Being able to interact with the SharePoint site in the browser while offline allows field travelers to use the SharePoint site in exactly the same manner that they are alrea