By PowerBuy // 8 May 2015 // Related Categories: Tips

Which mobile operating system is the best match for your workplace? With recent research showing that 80 percent of workers currently take a personal electronic device to work every day, and 24 percent use their smartphone to access or store company information, it’s a question that businesses should carefully consider.

Microsoft Office for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft Office is familiar and ubiquitous, the ‘Old Faithful’ of workplace computing – and that’s not a criticism! Indeed, it’s the near-universal acceptance of Microsoft Office, with its extensive feature set and document management capabilities, that makes its use on mobiles so attractive. Microsoft Office Mobile offers easy access to programs like Outlook, Word and Exchange Server, as well as in-built Dropbox integration.

The downside of Microsoft Office Mobile isn’t Clippy (he’s gone) – it’s the price. Microsoft’s mobile suite relies on an Office 365 subscription of $13.20 per user per month, which might be too costly for smaller businesses. Happily, Microsoft Office Mobile has overcome some early glitches and, thanks to regular updates, now boasts a very positive rating across all the major app marketplaces.

Google Apps for Work for Android

Given that Google designed Android, it’s no surprise that the Google Apps for Work suite integrates perfectly into its operating system, with few bugs and constant improvements. The suite includes a range of apps for word processing, spreadsheet management, slide show creation and many of the other basic functions included in Microsoft Office. In addition, Google Drive provides an easy way to share files online, and Hangouts a convenient videoconferencing solution.

The major attraction of Google Apps for Work is that it’s relatively inexpensive, with prices starting at five dollars per user each month. But bear in mind that the transition to Google can be costly for workplaces heavily invested in Microsoft Office.

The iWork Productivity Suite

Designed specifically for use on Macs and iOS devices, the iWork Productivity Suite includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, apps for word processing, spreadsheet management, and presentation creation respectively.

For Mac-based workplaces, the iWork applications offer a free, albeit basic, productivity solution with excellent touch-screen support for iOS devices. However, although iWork documents can be exported in universal formats (such as ‘.doc’), there can be compatibility issues when these are viewed in other operating systems.

Choosing the right solution for you

If you already use Microsoft Office and can afford an annual subscription to its mobile suite, this may be your best option. For startups with an Android environment, Google Apps for Work might be most affordable and productive solution. For small business owners with a Mac set-up, iWork is the obvious choice.

You may also want to consider the range of third-party apps designed to support (or supplant) the major office products. Documents to Go, for example, is a cross-platform app that enables users to access and edit Microsoft Office documents on their mobiles.

Whichever choice you make, what was true in the age before mobile computing is still true today: it’s not what you have that counts, but what you do with it.

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