He's earned the moniker SharePoint Joel. Now, they can update that to SharePoint Mobile Joel.

Oleson, the keynote speaker at Monday's SharePoint Technology Conference in Boston, stressed the need for SharePoint users and organizations to jump onto the mobile train in a world that is seeing a "mobile device explosion." 

"Microsoft is positioning themselves on how to address this," Oleson said, adding that it is currently no. 3 behind iOS and Android in the mobile industry. "... Android and iOS are powerhouses, and if you go to Microsoft events you are going to hear the words Android and iOS. Microsoft and SharePoint are doing a lot to bring these worlds together."

Oleson jokingly added it's exciting to see Microsoft no. 3 at anything but noted that the company is at least in the game and is making SharePoint mobile features available in SharePoint 2013.

Let's get Mobile

Less than 10 percent of organizations in a survey Oleson cited say they had a SharePoint version that supports mobile. That's disappointing, Oleson said, and he fears many organizations may wonder whether users will want to browse an intranet platform on their phones.

But where 71 percent of CIOs see mobile today as transformational and strategic, according to another study Oleson cited, it's time for organizations to seriously consider the move.

Most smartphone users (67 percent) and tablet users (70 percent) use their devices because, after all, that's their preference, Oleson said.

Hence, the question for SharePoint decision-makers in organizations: "How do we support that?"

Boosting SharePoint Advantages

Enabling SharePoint mobile features can only enhance the user experience and also support the already-existing advantages of an effective SharePoint program:

  • Improving employee responsiveness and decision-making
  • Faster internal issue problem-solving
  • Increased productivity
  • Faster customer service

Information Security

Naturally, moving to mobile in the SharePoint sphere does not come without challenges. Namely, Oleson said, information security should be at the forefront of your planning. And it's not a bad option to explore a third-party vendor to ensure security.

As for technical requirements, the majority of apps in SharePoint want Office 365, outside of the newsfeed feature.

Responsive Web Design and SharePoint

You know the old, typical SharePoint page -- a home page with a bunch of links. Sure, the information is there, but is it presentable and engaging? Easy to navigate? Does it include a special minimize feature where the screen resolution adapts to your navigation rather than forcing you to use the horizontal nav bar?

"Responsive web design is changing our industry," Oleson says. He cited Seattle coffee giant Starbucks for its terrific web design in this area and close attention to mobile with its payment app and "find store" app locator for its coffee shops.

Features like these "are not only cool," Oleson said, but they can ultimately improve organizations' ROI.

"Responsive web design, Oleson said, "is changing the way we look at SharePoint."