Microsoft OWA 365. Better for business than iOS Native Email Client? Yes.

by Amitabh Sinha on Sep 12, 2014 6:53:00 AM

(authored by Nate Haley)

 

MSOWA365-Better4Business

Except for the occasional game of Oregon Trail on an Apple II in elementary school. I have always used a Windows PC and Microsoft Software. And, like many people before 2007, I had a flip-phone (Motorola Razor) and a BlackBerry-like Motorola mobile phone. The latter was considered smart and had 512 MB SD Card for external storage!

Then came 2007 and a paradigm shift. The Consumerization of IT and BYOD movements were born. I joined the movement by dipping my toes in ‘Lake Apple’ and purchasing the Original iPhone. Native email experience was great, endless Apps and all in a form factor that felt just right. I was hooked. By 2011 though, my mobile experience was starting to feel limited. So I shelved my iPhone for the “phablet” experience of a Samsung Galaxy Note with Android OS. Along with the massive Samsung screen, the Android OS brought me a new world of customization and choice on a mobile device. A native email UX with the ability to attach files as well as pictures and video. Other features like widgets, almost available on iOS, and new freedom for moving data into or out of my phone (or to my external SD card!). With that, I had moved on from Apple mobile devices and back to a more PC-like experience across my devices.

Flash forward to 2014, 7 years after my 1st experience with modern Apple devices, and I’ve joined a Silicon Valley Start-up where an iPad is a required business tool. After several months with my iPad Air I have to confess. It is an awesome device. Really a pleasure to use and the build quality is amazing. I use it for presentations with AirPlay and for live demonstrations of our product when I’m at an event or conference. I use it on the plane, when a WiFi signal is available, with a mini Bluetooth keyboard so I can be productive while on the road. Much more efficient use of tray table space than a laptop (with room for my in-flight beverage!) and battery life is amazing.

With the iPad, Apple has done a great job once again. But, there is one area where I notice significant limitations. The iOS Native Email Client. As an iPad power user and someone who has been exposed to the Android OS. The shortcomings are easy to see. But for those who only have experience with iOS or only use iPad to consume content. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. Fear not though. I (and Microsoft) are here to help!

A strong argument can be made that Microsoft has missed the boat on mobile. In many ways they have. But when it comes to O365, they have actually done an impressive job of improving the terrible UX of OWA 2010. IMHO, OWA 365 is a more complete offering and a better match for the workflow of business when compared to the iOS Native Email Client.

Any company considering Office 365 or that has already made the decision to move to Microsoft’s cloud, and who issue iPads to their employees or allow them as part of their BYOD policy should strongly consider OWA 365 as the email client for their iOS-based Mobile Users. Here’s why …

Do More With OWA 365 –single application on your device to access:

● OneDrive for Business – Secure Collaboration/File Sharing (solve the rouge file sharing or Dropbox problem). Toggle from ‘Mobile’ to ‘PC-view’ for full access to OneDrive features/settings.
● SharePoint Online (Sites, document repository and edit Office documents natively)
● Calendar
● Newsfeed

Better Workflow with OWA 365

● SharePoint or OneDrive links to files/folders within an email are maintained (links are ‘broken’ in Native iOS Email Client)
● Users can attach files, pictures, video
● Assign policy on emails
● Mark email as Junk
● Set importance level on new emails (high, normal, low)
● ‘Reading’ option – full screen view of email. Use arrow buttons (← →) in bottom pane to navigate from the email being viewed to other emails within the same folder
● Message options
Sensitivity – normal, personal, private, confidential
Request delivery and/or read receipts
● Apps for Outlook – e.g. My Templates App enables adding canned messages or notes to your email e.g. when I am traveling for business, I will use my Custom Template called MOBILE to add the following to my emails, “*please excuse typos, sent from OWA 365 within Workspot”

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This post was written by Amitabh Sinha

Amitabh has more than twenty years of experience across enterprise software, end user computing, mobile, and database software. Amitabh co-founded Workspot with Puneet Chawla and Ty Wang in August 2012. Prior to Workspot, Amitabh was the General Manager for Enterprise Desktops and Apps at Citrix Systems. In his five years at Citrix, Amitabh was VP Product Management for XenDesktop and VP Engineering for the Advanced Solutions Group. Amitabh has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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