We have to grow comfortable with the oxymoron “mobile office.” As mobile technologies improve, the expectations are rising that a nonprofit’s pitching staff and a charity’s road warriors are not just getting content from the office (a la 2002), they are making content on the road. At the least, they are expected to tweak previous content to fit the next meeting with the new prospect.
The limits to such a mobile office have been issues like the memory of the devices carried about, the possibility that local networks can not carry the large files/content to the devices, and the buggy software that struggled to do more than show what had been created on a ‘real’ computer.
In recent months, all three limits have been broken, though, for me, ‘office software’ has remained the broken bat in the lineup. Two apps might be greatly strengthening the roster, though.
For the Apple-centric, iFiles offers file management and editing for the iWork suite, Microsoft Office documents, and many other basic text and image formats. What I find especially useful about it is the ability to manipulate folders and files and have those changes come back to my laptop. Indeed, iFiles turns my iPhone into an external hard drive accessible from my laptop.
IFiles also allows emailing of files and folders, compressing/zipping them, and sharing them with other devices. Many might find the integrated voice recorder really handy as well, for the resultant mp3 file can be organized, emailed, and shared in the same way as any text file. One can not create new iWork/Office files with the app, but I have found iFiles to be the easiest way to manipulate the files on the tiny iPhone screen (One may use the iPhone versions of, Numbers, and Keynote for creation, but I have found the iPhone’s keyboard and screensize serious limitations for full-fledged creation).
For the Android phone/tablet users, DropBox, SugarSync, and even MobileMe/iCloud! Truly a utility player – though, again, tablet users are likely to have a better experience in creating the next big hit than smartphone users. Size matters.might be just the ticket to make Office documents while mobile. The lineup is impressive: voice-to-text recognition, ability to edit Office documents from 1997-2010, seamless cloud sharing via
In both cases, though, the software on the smartphone can be just the right tool to tweak the various pitches required for the many peers, donors, and clients you will meet during your summer’s business trips.
Whether the office-beyond-the-walls means you get to work while at your child’s baseball game is entirely up to you. But the technology is improving as if on steroids to allow you to do it.