Windows Phone Mango's Top 5 Enterprise Features

Microsoft didn't forget enterprise IT departments when it developed the new version of its mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7.5.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

September 27, 2011

4 Min Read

Office 365 Vs. Google Apps: Top 10 Enterprise Concerns

Office 365 Vs. Google Apps: Top 10 Enterprise Concerns

Office 365 Vs. Google Apps: Top 10 Enterprise Concerns (click image for larger view and forslideshow)

Microsoft on Tuesday officially rolled out Windows Phone 7.5, or "Mango." While the update adds lots of new features, like power social networking and hyper-local search, that will appeal to consumers, it also bolsters the Windows Phone platform with new tools and services for enterprise IT departments and business users. Here's a look at the top five.

1. Cloud-based Office integration

The original version of Windows Phone 7 let users create documents in the mobile versions of Microsoft's Office apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Mango takes things a step further by enabling full integration between the desktop and mobile apps through Office 365, which is now accessible in Windows Phone's Office Hub. Users can create or update Office documents on their PCs, upload them to the Office 365 server (or SkyDrive), and download them to their phones. The process also works in reverse. Documents modified on one platform can be automatically synched on the other to reflect changes.

This is a real power tool for road warriors who need to make last-minute changes to documents before that big meeting or presentation.

2. Rights management

Microsoft claims Windows Phone 7.5 is the only mobile operating system to support enterprise rights management technologies out of the box. With Mango installed, users will be able to open, send, and receive emails with restrictions such as, "Do Not Forward," or "Do Not Copy." The feature is also embedded in the mobile versions of Office apps. In an age of increasing privacy concerns, and fears that sensitive corporate information could end up on Facebook, this has to be a boon for IT and security managers.

[ Want to know more about Mango? Take a peek at the 7 Hottest Features In Windows Phone Mango ]

Another new feature that may improve security is an enhanced lock screen that displays live information, such as the number of new emails, without revealing content details. That may provide an incentive for business users not to disable the lock screen as they won't have to log in just to see if they have new messages.

3. Enhanced Outlook/Exchange Server support

Windows Phone 7.5 supports stronger passwords, including alphanumeric passwords, for Outlook. It also lets users sync Tasks or To-Dos, set out-of-office messages, and perform keyword searches of their inboxes. Windows Phone comes with Outlook mobile pre-installed. The Mango update lets users combine emails from pre-selected accounts into a single inbox.

The new Conversation View lets them organize emails into threads that, say, relate to a specific project. Project-specific folders can also be created, and pinned to the Start screen.

4. Targeted app distribution

Businesses that build custom apps for Windows Mango can make them available to employees through Microsoft's new Web Marketplace, while still hiding them from the general public. To do this, administrators can create customized, deep links that direct their users to the application's location on the store. This allows organizations to take advantage of the Marketplace's accessibility, without exposing their custom apps to unauthorized users. Marketplace automatically notifies users when updates are available.

5. Lync Mobile

Lync is coming to Windows Phone Mango later this year, though Microsoft won't say exactly when. Lync is Hyperlink Code, a powerful collaboration tool that will leverage Mango's ability to access SharePoint services. It will give users presence information on colleagues, facilitate the creation of ad hoc project teams, and it supports video conferencing. The latter should be further bolstered after Microsoft closes its deal to acquire Skype and adds the VoIP specialist's technologies to Lync.

Whether it's all enough to make Windows Phone 7.5 a player alongside RIM's BlackBerry in the enterprise remains to be seen. Microsoft insists it designed Windows Phone with the user in mind first. The company's thinking is that it's workers who are increasingly dictating their choice of mobile device to IT rather than vice versa. Still, Windows Phone, with the Mango update, now includes numerous, enterprise-friendly features that could at least give it a leg up on Apple and Android devices in the corporate market.

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About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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