Quickoffice's new office app caters to IT's control needs

A response to IT's demand for securable apps, the mobile office productivity suite limits file sharing to predetermined storage

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But SaveBack is not available for any popular cloud storage service, such as Dropbox or Box.net, even though Quickoffice's marketing describes SaveBack in the context of all the cloud storage services that Quickoffice does support. I had to ask twice to get the straight answer that it doesn't work with any of the popular storage services, several of which have enterprise-managed versions. The Quickoffice folks seemed a bit unprepared on the details, rather than intentionally trying to mislead anyone. Keep that in mind when you explore Quickoffice ProSelect HD for your company.

Fortunately, SaveBack works with Accelion's enterprise cloud storage service, Alfresco's social content management app, Copiun's secure access gateway, Group Logic's Salesforce connector app, Moprise's SharePoint connector app, Oxygen's private cloud storage service, and SouthLabs' SharePoint connector app. A Quickoffice spokesperson finally clarified that all those other cloud storage services implied to work with SaveBack would need to request Quickoffice to support them and suggested that private cloud providers would be the likely SaveBack partners, not the popular cloud storage providers that Quickoffice supports -- and IT can block in Quickoffice ProSelect HD.

If you're a SharePoint shop or use one of these other content management systems, Quickoffice ProSelect HD will likely have strong appeal by letting you limit users' access to corporate documents to SharePoint or other repositories while letting employees actually work on the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents there.

You don't have to block access to other cloud storage services in Quickoffice ProSelect, but I suspect most interested IT organizations will do so. If you block such other services to strictly control document flow, you should expect users to also access the regular Quickoffice or iWork apps to work on documents without all the restrictions. In that case, you'll need to ensure that your SharePoint and Accellion environments are well managed with documents consistently stored there and made accessible so that users actually go with Quickoffice ProSelect HD. Otherwise, you'll need to accept that users will access documents through other means and rely on Quickoffice ProSelect HD only when they have no other option.

Also, you'll have to be prepared to pay for the privilege of that document management. Quickoffice takes the standard enterprise software model of licensing an app, then paying annual maintenance fees and bringing it to mobile devices. The initial cost per user is $20 to $40, depending on number of users, and an annual maintenance fee beginning in the second year is 20 to 25 percent of the initial licensing cost. There's a 50-license minimum, by the way. And the regular Quickoffice Pro app costs $20.

Finally, there is no management tool for Quickoffice ProSelect HD. You configure it when you order the licenses, and you can have the app file regenerated if you change your preferences and then redistrbute the modified version. I'm hoping that will change and IT will be able to manage the deployed apps' restrictions in the future in a friendlier way. Quickoffice is working with Good Technology, MobileIron, SAP Sybase, and others to adopt their application management APIs in the Quickoffice app. And enabling Quickoffice ProSelect HD's file-sharing restrictions in these vendors' mobile device management tools would make sense.

I can imagine a lot of IT pros thinking, "Yeah! That's how a mobile app should be! I should control the information flow, not the user." Regular readers know that I believe too much control results in the opposite result, as users work around IT to do what they want done. But some control is necessary, and having a special version of Quickoffice that lets IT apply that control based on its specific needs is a much better option than trying to straitjacket the entire iPad or iPhone or trying to cut users off from working with corporate files when on the go.

This article, "Quickoffice's new office app caters to IT's control needs," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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