Need Recommendations for a Mobile, Offline Document Repository

OK, so this might be a bit out of scope for this forum, but I'm hoping someone out there has run into a similar situation and can offer some recommendations.

My team creates product training for our distributed sales team delivered through an LMS. For each eLearning course we create, we also usually have one or more technical documents that we add as resources to the course.

Our sales team would like to be able to review these technical documents from their iPads before making a sales call.  Access to the LMS is not currently available from the iPads, so we are looking at other apps.

The reps are usually offline while travelling or waiting, so we'd like a tool that can sync when there's internet connectivity and then make the documents available locally when offline. 

If all else fails, we could try uploading everything to a cloud storage provider, like DropBox or OneDrive, but my boss wants a more custom solution that looks like it is part of our sales training suite (which contains other homegrown apps).

Any suggestions?

2 Replies
Michael Shannon

Hey Jeremy. I'd like to address the last part first: "my boss wants a more custom solution that looks like it is part of our sales training suite."

As you may or may not know, the Apple environment may be your sticking point in order to get this accomplished in this way. You could have something that looks like your branded app but that would mean building an app. You could create a webpage that has the branding, links to files, etc., and you could save the page to the homescreen on all of the ipads (this appears as an icon on your homepage and looks just like an app), but you won't be able to access the page or files offline. The hiccup is that files have to reside inside of the app. IOS doesn't have a floating file structure that you can access like most computers do. 

My personal choice for this type of challenge is an app called Documents (by Readdle). Documents can sync files locally (on the iPad) that are stored/updated online. You could, for instance, use Dropbox or Box or other online services to keep your files current and have the team sync the files before going into the field. Documents allows you to have several services linked to Documents (and it supports many, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, WebDAV, FTP, Windows SMB, SugarSync, Office 365 Sharepoint, ShareFile, Yandex.Disk). Files can also be downloaded from web pages (through the "open in" command). There are a lot of great features built into Documents (highlighting, creating bookmarks, etc.) but for me its greatest strength is its ability to open just about any document you throw at it. 

I know this isn't what you had hoped for but maybe it'll give you some ideas.