Microsoft still hasn't produced an Office app for the iPad, so partners like harmon.ie have been left to fill in the mobile Office holes. Now, harmon.ie has taken the next step by releasing a combined Office 365, Yammer and SharePoint app for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.
Yammer Joins the Party
Harmon.ie has already released a combined Office 365 and SharePoint app and now it has added the Yammer activity feed into the mix. The native app is called harmon.ie OWA (Outlook Web App). It allows mobile users to combine routine workflows into one mobile tool. Perhaps one day Microsoft will give us its own touch enabled Office apps, but until that time, workers will continue to figure out ways to access their work via mobile devices.
We don't know what the hold up is on Microsoft's end, but for those knowledge workers with the need, harmon.ie offers a way to use the popular Microsoft suite of productivity tools on the go. The added Yammer activity could be particularly valuable on smartphones where managing documents is not ideal.
Instead, workers on their smartphones can collaborate within the Yammer feed and those on their tablets can do more intensive document work. Of course, those features will be enabled on all devices, it's just that some tasks are better suited to tablets versus a smartphone.
Existing harmon.ie apps like the mobile client and desktop version of the Outlook Web App have been combined into the new cloud based version of OWA.
Outlook Web App can connect to Yammer, SkyDrive Pro, SharePoint Online or on premise and Outlook.
Mobile Workers Take to Their Own Devices
As Microsoft drags its heels on releasing native Office apps, workers continue to find ways of using their tools on mobile devices anyway. This is not only a security risk, but it can actually backfire because the workaround may actually be more work to maintain than it is to use. This movement has been called bring your own device, and while some companies will allow tiny bits of their tools be used on personal devices, most wont.
Harmon.ie licenses its mobile tools at $4 per user per month with volume discounts for companies with more than 200 seats. For small companies, there is an Apple App Store or Google Play version for $20 and a free scaled-down version as well.
Of course, even with the free app, subscriptions to SharePoint and Office 365 are still needed, but the need for mobile Office capabilities is wide and deep. So wide in fact that there is quite a selection of App Store apps that try to provide differing levels of Office support. These are mostly consumer apps, and they are just the type of thing workers are using on their personal devices to get around IT and security requirements.
That's why Microsoft not having official Office apps for iOS and Android is so frustrating. It's hard to find exactly the right app to use because they all offer slightly different feature combinations. Harmon.ie offers the kind of robust app that offers deep functionality, on the other hand. It's true many may not need all the features, but at least there's no trade offs on key features like with so many consumer grade Office apps.