Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mobile ECM: Your Content In Your Pocket

By Glenn Gibson, Hyland Software

The world of computing has changed. Forever.

These days it seems archaic to have to wait until you get home or to the office just to check your email, because now your email is in your pocket. The idea of printing off maps before heading out on a journey seems crazy because GPS on our phone gives us turn-by-turn directions. Lively pop-culture debates over a pint are now a thing of the past, because we can look up the answers on the internet immediately.

Yes, mobile computing devices have changed the world and changed us.  We expect instant access to information from wherever we are. The iPhone and the iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 and the Blackberry give us this access like never before.

So what does the explosion in mobile computing have to do with ECM?  Everything.

Think about it. What is one of the primary driving factors behind an organization developing an ECM strategy? The need to get critical business information into the hands of the right people at the right time. That’s what ECM is all about.

But what if the right people are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What I mean is, what if the people who are responsible for making important decisions, from approving a critical business expense to agreeing to hire the perfect candidate, can’t physically get access to the information and systems they need in order to execute business decisions, simply because they are traveling or not in the office?  

The reality is that these individuals spend a lot of time on the road and out of the office. This lack of real-time access causes bottlenecks in your processes as the decisions have to wait until they get back online. This causes on-the-fly workarounds with emails and phone calls to get someone, anyone, with authority to make the decision. And once that decision has finally been made, it is very difficult to track all the activity that supports it.

Yup, bottlenecks and workarounds caused when people who play a critical role in business decisions are out of the office have come to be expected as a normal part of business because, until recently, that’s just how it was. There was no other choice.

But, the world of computing has changed. If the ability to access email from anywhere in the world is not only a reality, but expected in today’s world, why is it any different when thinking about your other important business content and processes?

It shouldn’t be. And when you partner with an ECM vendor who understands this, it is not.

Today you can put your ECM content in your pocket. With mobile ECM applications you are able to not only able access your important content, but also participate in business processes, reviewing, approving and denying requests from wherever you are, directly from your mobile device.

Now it is likely, for many good reasons that you may not want to make ALL your business information available via mobile devices. If mobile access to your information is part of your requirements when you are choosing an ECM vendor, you should look for a vendor which allows you to control what type of content and processes to make available via these mobile devices. You should choose an ECM system that can truly deliver on the promise to get critical business information into the hands of the right people at the right time, wherever they happen to be.

For your business this is both simple and profound. No more waiting to get back to the office. No more driving to coffee shops just to get access to your system to approve a request. No more bottlenecks caused by business travel. No more un-documented workarounds. 

It is that simple. It is that revolutionary. Because now your content is right there in your pocket.

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