Running your entire business from a Windows Phone?

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Dave Cartwright, over El Reg, has penned a nice guide to running your business from a smartphone. And only a smartphone, i.e. the ultimate mobile road warrior. Well, possibly. Of course, the work you do may require something other than a smartphone (e.g. a laptop), rather scotching the whole idea, but I was interested to see that of all the devices on the market he plumped for the mid-range Windows Phone phablet, the Lumia 1320.

From Dave's article:

We have all seen them: people who wander around with a phone glued to their ear as if their entire world depended on it. And we have all worked with people for whom eye contact means sitting with head stooped peering at texts, emails or, occasionally, videos of real people.

This got us wondering: can normal people actually run their companies entirely from their phones? So I set out to see if it is possible.

Size matters

The first thing I had to do was pick a device. I decided that something the size of a normal smartphone (such as the iPhone 5 that I generally use) was probably too small, as typing on it is not easy.

Similarly, I didn't want to carry around a socking big tablet that would not fit in a pocket. The in-between choice was the Lumia 1320 – a newish but not bleeding-edge Windows phone with a six-inch screen.

Although mine was borrowed in true tech-writer style, it would normally set you back about £185 on Amazon.

What do I need to be able to do? As well as being a tech writer I have a day job in IT operations for a telco.

That means I need to do a pretty wide range of stuff: billing and accounts; writing loads of words for features like this one; emailing and phoning people; accessing the corporate network; using various email services; and controlling my own server estate.

He goes on with various practical advice, most of it applicable to other smartphone platforms too, though I see he appreciated the built-in Office and OneDrive support (also available to some extent on other platforms now, of course).

He concluded with some general tips:

Get the right phone: Don't think you can do it on something the size of an iPhone 5. You will hate every moment of peering into that little screen. I have loved the six-inch Lumia I have been using, which is about the smallest size I would be happy with.

I would find my iPad Mini too big, but probably only just. It really depends on the size of your pocket (not in a financial sense) and of course how big a phone you can live with before feeling stupid holding it to your ear.

Cloud it: Choose cloud storage and ensure that you pick your office application suite and your cloud storage service as a matched pair.

I can't really see why you would go for Microsoft applications and then try to use Google Drive for storage, for instance. Make sure that your choice fits with your phone platform.

Use services with phone app add-ons: The business services you use will be primarily cloud-based, so look for those with ancillary applications that run natively on your phone.

Don't use your phone as a phone: Instead use a service that integrates IP telephony (SIP or proprietary protocols such as Skype's) and make your phone presence mobile. And remember that video calling is a fantastic tool to have in your armoury.

Be flexible: It is a fact of life that a mobile business won't quite fit the way you worked before. For example, if you are in the habit of working through the month and then bashing through all your invoicing in a day, you may find it quite tedious to rattle off fifty invoices on a small screen. Do your invoices three or four at a time as you do the work (which is how I do it anyway – I believe in giving clients the opportunity to pay me as soon as possible) and it won't be a problem.

You can read the whole piece here. Appropriately, the very first image in my own Lumia 1320 review was of a spreadsheet, showing the possibilities:

Lumia 1320

Comments? I know I used to run my entire business on a Psion palmtop computer back in the 1990s, and even today all my important business spreadsheets are on OneDrive and Google Drive - just in case I need to go into full road warrior mode!

Source / Credit: The Register