It’s Time To Put Mobility On Your ECM Roadmap

Mobile access to information has increased its importance in your work environment. Consider that two-thirds of your US and European workforce works remotely at least part time. Accessing email, surfing the Net, collaborating with a colleague, or posting tweets from your mobile device is the norm and no longer a luxury. But can this mobile elite access your most valuable information assets?

If you’re like me, you want to be able to access your work information from any of your many devices -- i.e., your laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Wouldn’t it be ideal if that access were transparent across all the devices, picking up where we left off as we moved from device to device? While mobile computing has matured in many areas, the ability to access and manage documents on a mobile device lags far behind many other capabilities, such as email and collaboration. What I want to see in a mobile ECM application is the same type of capability that we see in Twitter applications. I can send and receive tweets from any device with the same functionality and experience. 

The vendors that have a mobile application are either delivering an early release or have limited the number of devices they are supporting. Most ECM vendors deliver some form of mobile access to their ECM solution. Those that don’t have a mobile application provide reduced functionality through a mobile web browser. So does that mean that all you need to do to create a mobile ECM strategy is to wait for your ECM vendor to provide an application? The answer is no, as I contend that technology is always the simplest piece of an ECM implementation. 

 A successful rollout of a mobile ECM strategy involves many more dimensions besides technology. You must also consider the people and process aspects. Here are some of the questions I plan to answer at our upcoming Forum:

  • Does your governance program cover the added complexity of access and possibly storing content on an unmanaged, untethered device?
  • Have you ensured that your processes are mobile-ready; can the device and/or access method support the required processes?
  • Do your users understand their responsibilities?
  • Are your content formats supported on all devices?
  • Does your process require any special functionality such as digital signatures?

Developing a mobile ECM strategy is not a simple task, but one I feel you cannot avoid. Join me at the Content and Collaboration Forum on September 23rd to further discuss the best approach to implementing an ECM mobile solution and the best ways to ensure that your users get the maximum value from the mobile solution.

Comments

Start with the strategy is

Start with the strategy is great reminder of first principles, but have to respectfully disagree on 2 points

- Having the same experience is probably not a good goal for ECM. Twitter by its very format is mobile friendly given the 160 characters so the whole notion of real estate and usability is different. Even within mobile, what makes sense in terms of user tasks and usability for an iPad, er tablet, is different than a smart phone. As the previous poster noted there is some element of horses for courses in that, at least for now, creating or even reviewing large documents on a smart phone is something only to be attempted in an emergency, particularly using middle-aged eyes. iPad on the other hand, opens up more possibilities for content consumption and creation. Ive been personally using iPad for email, salesforce.com, our own SpringCM (for content) and the Apple apps for a while now, and only go to my laptop when absolutely necessary. So in my opinion the goal is a recognizable experience that works for the type of tasks users want to do on that platform. One wild card however is that we may learn a lot from mobile in terms of providing user and task context that could be applied to standard web interfaces.

- one challenge with the strategy first approach, is that we're all still sorting out the art of the possible with mobile, particularly with tablets. As in all technology inflection points, it takes a while to go from using the new technology in the old ways, to using new technology in transformative ways. For tablets in particular, its hard to get the power of instant-on without actually using one. In this era of consumerization its important to put in place the standards re security etc, but I suggest that organizations use pilots as a way to help shape their strategy by understanding what users want to do.

Have a great conference,

Roger