Posted by:Ranjani Rao March 5th, 2014

iOS, meet SharePoint. It helps businesses organize, share, collaborate and helps the whole team work in sync.

SharePoint, meet iOS, the mobile operating system that supports all Apple smartphones and tablets, be it the iPad, iPhone or iTouch.

Now, let us get on to why those introductions were so crucial.

SharePoint is used to build internet and intranet portals – essentially a collaborative platform that allows teams to store, sync and share information in real time.

All valuable, all crucial. And even more so when users are able to access it on the go.

ios_sharepoint_integration

And needless to add, mobility is not the future. It is the present, the reality and will soon overtake PC’s as the primary point of information access.

Which is why SharePoint and iOS integration is key to achieving true, anytime anywhere access and collaboration.

How do we achieve this?

SharePoint is highly configurable and customizable. It does provide mobile web views but this can be clunky especially since it needs personalization to make it look good on a mobile device.

A great option is to build a native app – that conforms to a true mobile experience while it distills and displays only the information that is required and relevant to the mobile user’s experience.

So, is it smooth sailing all the way? Not necessarily, but tackling the items listed below can help:

  • Leverage SharePoint’s support for ReST based web services. You will need to write you own custom web services in many instances but if your SharePoint is set up well, this should not be a problem
  • Piggyback on SharePoint’s robust authentication and authorization models to ensure that access privileges are maintained and enforced through the mobile app
  • Plan for offline capability for those times when network issues interfere with app functionality
  • Claims based or Forms base? Think long and hard about this one. Supporting both can be complex. But forms based authentication becomes necessary when supporting the app outside the company firewall
  • If your user is toggling between native app screens and SharePoint web views, you need to do some work to make it seamless. Authentication tokens will need to be sent back from the app to the SharePoint server so the user does not have to authenticate again. This can be tricky
  • You need to configure the SharePoint ReST based web services across deployment environments. You will have to keep keys, configurations – all in sync
  • Above all, SharePoint is a proprietary application and you need a SharePoint expert who understands the nuances to do it right.

With the corporate environment housing so many mobile devices and rising customer expectations, the SharePoint iOS integration makes true on its promise of rich experience and ‘on the go’ access to data. And, that can’t be beat.

What are some of the challenges you have faced with SharePoint and iOS integration? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Take charge of your enterprise app strategy today! Get started with this infographic on mobile app integration.

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