Mobile is the New Window on Content

Oct 16, 2015

Article ImageMobile and cloud are the twin drivers that are changing the ECM world as we know it. As users increasingly demand access on the move, however there are still many issues to resolve between traditional back-office systems and the mobile world before enterprises will step out of their comfort zone.

At AIIM we recently carried out a survey, speaking to a number of business leaders about their organizations' deployment of mobile and cloud Enterprise Content Management (ECM). We found that cloud ECM is seemingly more mature than mobile. Around three-quarters of respondents said they are likely to be using some form of cloud ECM within the next four years; 26% are doing so already.

This is partly down to the SharePoint factor, with Microsoft offering persuasive cost savings to move to the Office 365 suite. Of those already in the cloud - 9% are consolidating systems into the cloud from an existing supplier. In addition, 22% of cloud users have chosen a different supplier, and 22% are implementing ECM for the first time.

These figures are in sharp contrast to mobile. Although more than three quarters of our respondents acknowledge they need to run with mobile applications or lag behind, just 10% of those surveyed said that they have a successful Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme, while four in ten have absolutely no mobile access to content.  This is both surprising and concerning, given the emphasis that is put on mobile working and 24/7 connection.

Cloud Non-Users - What is Holding Them Back?

The main issue holding enterprises back is still that of security - with 75% saying it is a prickly issue. This has moved on though since our 2012 survey. At that time, only 37% felt that cloud services offered similar or better security to on-prem servers. Today, 75% feel that cloud providers are likely to offer better (48%) or similar security (27%) to that of their own data centers.

Mobile ECM, however, paints a very different picture. 39% have no access to on-premise/ECM content and 28% rely on a browser view. Only 15% have a dedicated app for offline content access and are actually able to comment, edit and approve copy on their mobile devices. There is much talk of collaboration on mobile devices in business, but in reality it doesn't seem to be happening a great deal.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is carving its way into enterprises, but that too isn't without problems. Only 30% of respondents actually have a live BYOD program running, and two thirds of those admitted that they programs are not running smoothly yet.  Just 19% are sticking with company owned devices, of which two thirds are for business use only.  The good news, however is that 30% of enterprises have a BYOD strategy in the planning.

What are the Real Cloud Drivers?

Simply following the corporate trend or complying with the Microsoft imperative is not a big enough reason to move all on premise content systems into the cloud.  Enterprises are also looking to save on running costs long term and reduce investment.

But for ECM in particular, the biggest single advantages for enterprises are better access for remote and mobile employees, followed by savings on data center expansion, improved collaboration and access with partners outside of the corporate firewall.

Moving Forward to Mobile ECM

Achieving cost savings is not a given, moving to the cloud. Savings may depend on a number of factors including on the alternative of increased equipment spending in-house and a staff infrastructure against turning off existing servers and reducing existing support teams.  But 18% of respondents said they have reduced staffing and 26% have reduced costs. Remember, switching off existing on-premise systems does not happen overnight.  But what came across loud and clear from the survey is the move to cloud isn't all about saving money, it is also about access and collaboration.

Key areas your enterprise can look at going forward to reap the benefits of mobile ECM include:

  • Access to corporate content - make sure that all your employees have access to corporate content from mobile devices, and that they can capture, edit, comment and share content.
  • Keep it secure - don't let security issues be a hurdle to adopting mobile. Don't expect in-house developers to be security experts. Use MDM or MAM platforms, and use external support.
  • Highlight the importance of mobile applications in business - what the competition doing? Will their mobile strategy give them a significant advantage? Consider whether there should be putting a ‘Chief Mobile Officer to ensure your mobile strategy runs smoothly.
  • Look at every business process carefully - could in benefit from going mobile?  If it can, do it. Faster data availability, easier teleworking and better collaboration will give you the competitive edge - don't ignore it. 
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)