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The SharePoint Mobile Disconnect: Android Devices Left Out in the Cold

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The surge in popularity of Android devices has caught many organizations off guard, wondering how to marry Android devices with content stored in SharePoint. According to IDC, Android OS posted a 163% year over year growth and grabbed 63% market share in Q2 2013, while the combined Windows Phone and Windows Mobile OS’ market share was only 4.5%.

Regardless of mobile device users need to access corporate data stored in enterprise content management solutions via mobile devices. In fact providing mobile access to Microsoft SharePoint is one of the top capabilities required by enterprises according to a recent report by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), “SharePoint 2013 – Clouding the Issues”,

Microsoft is not providing much help regarding Android support.  While Office 365 and SharePoint Online work beautifully on devices running Windows 8 Phone and Windows RT, users with Android devices or using the Chrome browser are left out of the mix.  Also according to AIIM less than 5% of mid- to large-size organizations are considering a move to SharePoint Online or Office 365 (O365).

This lack of Android support has resulted in many organizations leaving users with no choice but to tunnel through a corporate firewall using a VPN to get to needed content – not ideal for IT or employees. For IT, there are real security risks as users gain broad network access once connected, plus it’s a cost and time sink to deploy and administer in a BYOD environment. For employees, VPN mobile access is impractical and complex, typically requiring users to work directly with IT to get VPN software installed and configured and new devices registered. Plus, once connected to SharePoint, users may have to interact with multiple mobile apps to gain the functionality they need, such as document editing or PDF annotation.

To make matters even more complex, many organizations anticipate managing multiple versions of SharePoint for the foreseeable future – 38% of AIIM respondents are currently supporting two live versions of SharePoint, and 21% are supporting three or more.

Clearly there is a growing need for easy, secure mobile access to SharePoint across the current lineup of tablets, which is shifting away from iOS towards Android and Windows. And it all needs to happen without a VPN and without IT intervention – while enabling users to download, review, edit and create documents.

Fortunately, we have an answer that makes mobile content management simple, seamless and secure from iOS and Android devices. There is no need to leave your Android users out in the cold when it comes to mobile access to SharePoint – Accellion has a solution.

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