Microsoft Mobilizes Intranets With New SharePoint iOS App

The company follows up last month's SharePoint Server 2016 debut with a companion app for Apple iOS devices.

Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft wants mobile workers to take their SharePoint-powered intranets with them.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant launched its cloud-inspired SharePoint Server 2016 document management and team collaboration software last month, pledging at the time to release companion mobile apps in the near future. Today, the iOS version of the SharePoint app is available in the Apple App Store, announced Mark Kashman, senior product manager for Microsoft SharePoint.

"The new SharePoint mobile app helps you keep your work moving forward by providing quick access to your team sites, organization portals and resources, and even a view into what the people you work with are working on," he wrote in a June 21 blog post. "And this new app is infused with the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph, which applies machine learning to activity in Office 365 to connect you to the relevant documents and people around you."

Microsoft Graph employs machine learning to analyze Office 365 users, content and communications to drive new, more collaborative experiences. In the Delve search and discovery app, for example, Graph is used to automatically discover files, conversations and updates that pertain to a user's role and current projects, prominently surfacing important information using a card-based interface.

The SharePoint app's enterprise search functionality is powered, in part, by Microsoft Graph. In addition to ferreting out fellow co-workers and content from SharePoint team sites, OneDrive for Business folders and intranets, the app can generate recommended content lists based on Graph's analysis.

The rest of the app is organized into tabs: Sites, Links and People.

Tapping on the Sites tab leads users to a list of followed and frequently visited sites. Digging deeper, each listing shows a site's recent activity and assets. Opening a document automatically opens the corresponding Office mobile app (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

The Links section leads users to sites and portals curated by SharePoint administrators. Links displays as a collection of sites and resources that business leaders generally use to distribute company information and happenings.

The app will natively display portals that have been designed for mobile devices, said Kashman. "Microsoft, too, is investing in responsive design as a top priority to ensure all new experiences (like the SharePoint home in Office 365, Microsoft Delve and Office 365 Video) are mobile and responsive by default," he added.

Finally, the People tab enables users to explore their company's org chart. Tapping on a colleague brings up that person's contact card, complete with the projects the colleague is working on and whom he or she is working with.

The SharePoint mobile app is compatible with SharePoint Online in Office 365, along with on-premises and hybrid SharePoint Server 2013 and 2016 deployments. Android and Windows Universal versions of the app are currently in the works and are expected to ship sometime later this year, said Kashman. Microsoft is also working on new features, including support for cross-company announcements and news.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...