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Configuring Android smartphones and tablets for business use

Integrating Android smartphones and tablets with your business applications is different than configuring other mobile devices to work with your infrastructure, but the right  business mobile apps can turn any Android device into a real business tool.

The ease with which you can integrate Android smartphones and tablets with your business applications depends on which apps you use. It is a lot easier if your company uses Google applications because Android has native integration with applications such as

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Gmail, Google Drive and others. But if your company uses Microsoft Office for word processing, spreadsheet calculations and other common office tasks -- which many do -- integrating Android smartphones and tablets is a little tougher.

Integrating Office

If your company has a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, workers can use Office Mobile for Android. But Office Mobile on an Android device doesn't have complete support for features of documents created in Office 365. Workers can easily read the contents of Office 365 documents in Office Mobile for Android, but editing Office 365 docs in Office Mobile isn't always possible.

Instead, workers can use Quickoffice on their Android smartphones and tablets to modify Office documents. OfficeSuite Pro is another app that works well on Android devices, and it even lets users work with Microsoft Office template files.

Accessing systems, mail and files

More on business mobile apps

Simplify processes with enterprise mobile applications

A strategic approach to enabling mobile business apps

Delivering business apps to devices puts focus on users

Of course Office isn't the only thing that business users need on their Android devices. SAP is an important platform that many companies use. The Google Play store offers a few different apps for accessing SAP, including Mobility for SAP. This application allows users online and offline access to any back-end system of SAP Business Suite.

You can deliver corporate email to users' Android smartphones and tablets using Microsoft Exchange or by enrolling devices in a mobile device management system. Alternatively, there are clients available in Google Play that can give users access to email, such as GW Mail, which  allows users to connect to a Novell GroupWise mail server. If a  client isn't available for the type of mail server your company uses, workers can always use webmail.

Last but not least, corporate users will probably need access to files that are stored on the corporate server. Of course workers can use a cloud service such as Box, Dropbox, SkyDrive or Google Drive. A good corporate alternative to consumer cloud services is Novell Filr, which lets workers access files that are stored on the corporate server through an application on their devices. Novell Filr supports Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2, as well as Novell's Open Enterprise Server. Filr stands out compared to other cloud-based file sharing tools because it lets you define strict policies. For instance, you can configure Filr to allow users to access files without letting them download the files to their devices. 

This was first published in December 2013

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