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Office on the iPad

David Dunn

David Dunn is founder, Chairman and CEO of VC3 where he has been responsible for building the company since 1994. Follow him on twitter at @dunndavidw.

I spent yesterday at the @IT-Ology sponsored IT Summit on Information Technology.  It was a great event with plenty of opportunity to network with other IT professionals and hear what’s going on in IT throughout South Carolina.  I was very pleasantly surprised to learn in the keynote by Mark Gardner, @TechCitizen,  that South Carolina ranks in the top 5 in high tech job growth over the past few years – it’s great that VC3 is a part of that.

But that’s not what this blog post is about – instead it’s about my eternal gratitude to the new CEO of Microsoft, Sataya Nadella, for shedding corporate baggage and enabling the release of the MS Office Suite on the iPad.  I tried it out today at the conference and so far it gets a big thumbs up.

For years I have been determined to be productive on a tablet if I’m out of the office, in meetings, etc.  When I travel all I want to carry is my iPad and my mobile phone (actually, I would like to get down to just my phone but the screen’s just not big enough).  The only Microsoft OS based “deskop” I use is my hosted desktop – the same hosted desktop solution VC3 offers our customers.  I can access my hosted desktop using the Citrix receiver on my iPad but it’s clunky – using a touchscreen device to access an OS desktop designed for a mouse is not fun.  So I still end up carrying around another device (a Chromebook) for doing “real” work on my hosted desktop – for example working with tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint to create and edit documents.

Which ties things back to the conference.   During the conference I was involved in a one on one discussion regarding the limitations of doing content generation on an iPad and then it was discussed by multiple people at a break-out session – it turns out I was not the only looking to solve this problem.

So I decided to activate one of the Office 365 licenses we have and try Office out on my iPad mini.  The big test for me was Excel so I opened up our monthly financial reporting spreadsheet which is probably the most complex spreadsheet I regularly access and voila, I was having a great user experience (the keyboard/case I use for my iPad mini is the ClamCase Pro and is also a key piece of the puzzle).  I showed it to someone else at the conference who was involved in the panel session (an accountant, no less, so Excel would be hugely important for him).  He had the same reaction I had and was ready to go try it out for himself.

Once again, thanks Microsoft, for helping reduce my device clutter and get even better use out of my iPad (I know, I know, something seems wrong about that statement…)!