Guest Columnist – Sept. 25. 2015 issue
Editor’s note: A few months ago, I had the opportunity to see AIIM president John Mancini speak at an event I attended. Mancini presented on the reasons he felt ECM was at the end of its lifecycle and why, by-and-large, it had been a failure. One of the damning statistics he presented was that only 39% of organizations surveyed by AIIM reported some degree of mobile access to their ECM systems.
The article below discusses why this is such a disturbing figure. But, the bottom line is, everybody I know uses mobile devices to get work done. What does it say about the real value of ECM going forward if people can’t work with it in the way they want to? Either that will change or ECM will go away.
Mobile Content Is Looking To Grab Your Attention
Enterprises have been flirting with mobile ECM for a while, but AIIM’s CEO John Mancini believes now is the time to get serious about the technology as it continues to grow in importance.
Mobile is one of the biggest disruptive forces to impact technology, and it is a given that enterprises will have to put it center stage in their content strategies. Yet, many are still shuffling around on the starting line, somewhat overwhelmed by the whole concept.
At AIIM, we recently conducted a survey with a number of business leaders about their organizations’ deployment of mobile and cloud Enterprise Content Management (ECM). We know that mobile and cloud are working in tandem for change in the ECM arena, but the research results suggest that cloud ECM is actually more mature than mobile. Three-quarters of respondents are looking to use some form of cloud ECM within the next four years—but we found 26% are ahead of the curve and using cloud ECM already.
This is in stark contrast to the mobile world, where BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been trending for a while now. Despite more than three quarters of those surveyed saying they need to grasp mobile applications now or risk being left behind, just 10% of respondents have a successful BYOD program running. A further 30% said they are in the midst of planning a BYOD rollout, whilst 20% said they had a BYOD program “working OK but with some issues”. In addition, four in ten have zero mobile access to content. Given the importance put on mobile access to content, why the disparity in take-up and how can any barriers be addressed?
Why are the mobile content cogs turning so slowly?
From our research, we found that some of the traditional hurdles to ECM in the cloud are seemingly no longer present. Three-quarters of those surveyed believe that the security granted by their cloud provider is likely to surpass or be equal to their own. In addition, one-third of cloud ECM users said they had seen a cost reduction compared to an on-premise solution. The two biggest operational benefits were effective collaboration and more modern and flexible applications.
Mobile ECM, however, has hit something of a brick wall. Yet, enterprises in our research group said they use a number of devices, including desktops, laptops tablets, and smartphones to access company content. More than 50% access emails on three or more devices, with over 33% having four or more. Having so many devices in use poses a security issue as well as a problem for archiving data.
When it comes to accessing content systems, 28% have access across three or more devices, although this may be view-only access. This is inhibiting to those looking to work with ECM-stored documents when traveling.
Mobile Promises Quick ROI
The benefits of mobile are well-documented. It provides employees with flexible mobile working and enables them to work from various locations. Email access on a mobile is now the norm. But the ability to interact with content, workflows, and approvals and to collaborate with colleagues 24/7, regardless of time zones, appears to be still on the drawing board for some.
Mobile ECM is the way forward. Data is available much more quickly when it is linked into back-office processes. At the same time, back office support staff are able to stay abreast of customer and partner interactions. This results in improved productivity and customer service. In addition, 76% of enterprises using mobile ECM are seeing a return on investment (ROI) within in 18 months of deployment. This has to be a no-brainer. Yet 17% of survey respondents said they are not looking at mobile ECM at all!
The Road to mobile ECM
Although just 5% of survey respondents employ anything that looks like a Chief Mobile Officer (CMOO) role, more than seven in 10 agree that there should be a single person with responsibility for mobile innovation. The good news here is that there is a perception that much can be done to enhance the use of mobile ECM within the enterprise. But what practical measures can be used in the creation of a mobile ECM roadmap for end users?
- Advance access to corporate content – Make sure that employees have full access to corporate content from mobile devices, so that they can capture, edit, comment and share content.
- Don’t let security be a barrier to the adoption of mobile projects – Use MDM or MAM platforms, and use external support rather than simply expect your in-house developers to be security experts.
- Highlight the importance of mobile applications within your business – This is particularly important where competition may gain the competitive edge. This could be a threat to your entire business model. Consider whether you should have a ‘Chief Mobile Officer’ in place.
- Analyze every process with mobile in mind – Look at where mobile can help processes in your business become more efficient.
The mobile revolution has changed the way people work forever. The good news is that many organizations have acknowledged this and mobile has emerged as the biggest area for future ECM investment.
There is more content than ever before, and it is only going to keep growing. So using the best ways to manage that content, get the most value from it, and empower workers to work more effectively just has to make sense.
John Mancini is an author, speaker, and respected leader of the AIIM global community of information professionals. He believes that in the next five years, a wave of digital transformation will sweep through businesses and organizations, who will face a fundamental choice between information opportunity and information chaos. For more information: www.aiim.org