Mobile productivity finally surfaces - Microsoft hardware and services really deliver.

Mobile productivity finally surfaces - Microsoft hardware and services really deliver.

Mobile productivity finally surfaces - Microsoft hardware and services really deliver.

I have lost count of the money and time that I have invested in technology over the years. I bought technology for technology's sake and invariably it failed to deliver on my lofty expectations. My expectations were admittedly high but they were fuelled by endlessly regurgitated vendor claims of increased productivity and an enriched user experience. Manufacturers claimed and still do that there is a direct correlation between spec and productivity. Not so.

Aside from a brief introduction to my frivolous technology spending habits what does this have to do with the Surface Pro 3? A lot.   Each purchase, on reflection, had one purpose in mind; the unremitting pursuit of mobile productivity nirvana. 

Technology only really enables or enhances productivity when it is at its most transparent. In other words you don’t have to think about it. It is there when you need it, where you need it and fits in with how you want to work. The device might as well be a paperweight if it doesn’t provide the ecosystem to support your personal way of working. I need a device that can run my stuff at speed and be equally comfortable on my desk, in a coffee shop or on my lap on the sofa. 

To distil this down, I need a form factor that works anywhere and I need to access to my world from it. That makes mobility and access to my applications and files from anywhere a non-negotiable requirement.

A laptop can do that?

Of course but only to a degree. It is the missing degrees that have caused tablets to enjoy the phenomenal success that they have. We don’t want a laptop on our lap when we are browsing on the sofa or reading a document on a train. The tablet format works well for these scenarios. It works very well.

A tablet can run Microsoft Office now. A tablet it is then?

More degrees. Yes Office is now available for iPad and Android tablets and they are infinitely more practical and engaging on the commute than a laptop would be. Would you use it all day at work? How about a Bluetooth keyboard to turn it into a laptop….? It still wouldn’t be able to run all of your desktop applications because it just wouldn’t be a PC.

The simple fact is that of the various form factors out there they are all compromised.

I have just found that the Surface Pro 3 offers, by a long way, the best compromise for me. My surface with or without keyboard has proved to be an excellent sofa based consumption device. It proves to be an excellent desktop replacement and a laptop would offer me nothing (beyond a few extra ports that I don’t need). Incidentally, for those that do need more ports there is a docking station available. It is a powerful PC in a tablet like format.

But what of productivity?

In respect of my working life I have absolutely core applications and services that I use. These are Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. I access these through Office 365 which has been a revelation. So much so that it is the combination of cloud based subscriptions and my Surface Pro 3 that has really delivered on the transparency that I spoke of earlier. My files are variously on my personal OneDrive, our corporate Concise CRM SharePoint directories or in the case of client documentation, Dynamics CRM (hooked up seamlessly to SharePoint). It really doesn’t matter where the documents are, they are just there; whether I am in a coffee shop, at home, the office and even on the tube. The final point emphasises one really powerful point for me, the synchronisation capability of Microsoft CRM and Office 365 to the local device. The ubiquity of Wi-Fi is often talked about but there are occasions when I find myself without access to the web and the fact that OneDrive and SharePoint sync the files with my Surface Pro 3 takes away any concerns about access to my stuff when I need it. As a Microsoft CRM user and advocate the CRM / SharePoint integration means that I can interact directly with my SharePoint directories that CRM uses as well. I can get my client documents anywhere. For that matter I even sync my Dynamics CRM data to Outlook so that is available offline.

What do I love most about my Surface Pro 3? It's just there and it just works brilliantly with my Microsoft CRM and 365 ecosystem. It gives me access to my world and along with my phone I have all the technology I need for all scenarios. It is so transparent in its support of my work and personal life that it wasn’t until I started looking for a tablet that I realised I just didn’t need one. In respect of a laptop, it's the fastest, lightest most adaptable one I've ever owned.

How has this actually benefited me?

  1. Due to its light weight and power I have no need to buy a tablet and can take my PC anywhere.
  2. I do not to carry the bulk of a separate paper note pad. In the event I feel the need to use a pen (a diagram for example) I use the excellent stylus and OneNote.
  3. When I need really quick access to note taking I can click the end of the stylus and the machine is awake and OneNote open. That always raises a smile, it’s really cool.
  4. I can leave my charger behind. The Surface Pro 3 will comfortably get me through a day out with a couple of client meetings away from the office.
  5. I get more done during the day between appointments.
  6. The everything / anywhere concept of Dynamics CRM online and Office 365 is perfectly complimented by the Surface PRO 3 in form and function.

I am more productive with my Surface Pro 3 and really enjoy using it. The combination of size, weight, almost instant on and access to all my stuff means that I actually use my Surface throughout the day when mobile. I no longer save things up for when I get back to the office or home in the evening. When that moment does arrive at the end of the day don’t be surprised to see me settle down on the sofa, detach the keyboard and use my primary business tool and laptop as an amazing tablet.

That may not be mobile productivity nirvana but it’s getting close.


Steve Blunn - Chief Executive, Concise CRM Limited

© Concise CRM 2014 – all rights reserved

Shortened URL: