The Immersive Enterprise: Mobile Tools Empower the Anytime, Anyplace Workforce

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Extended Enterprise Productivity
Determined to dismantle the barriers and restrictions that limit the concept of the connected company and hold back the development of the real-time enterprise, more organizations are demanding mobile access to the data and processes that allow them to transform how they interact with their customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, and stakeholders, as well as the information that is their lifeblood.
Sensing a business opportunity, many vendors have introduced tools and technologies that significantly raise the value of handheld mobile devices by enabling companies to use them to deliver accurate, complete, and (in some cases) mission-critical data to people in the format they need, where and when they need it most.

One company helping organizations harness the business advantages of mobile information is EMC Corp., a provider of information infrastructure solutions. To this end it has released CenterStage Mobile as a native BlackBerry application, extending the company's innovative Web 2.0 environment, which provides smart workspaces for business teams and communities of interest to people on the move. In a nutshell, CenterStage delivers the interactive experiences together with the associated systems' resources and web services for accessing and managing collaborative content within the framework of an enterprise information infrastructure.

"In this environment CenterStage ensures that people can access, fetch, create, and use the wide range of content that supports their team-oriented and community-related activities," observes Lance Shaw, group product marketing manager for knowledge worker applications at EMC. The objective used to be about extending information to the edges of the enterprise, but it's increasingly about leveraging enterprise content management (ECM) to "funnel the ideas, discussions and discoveries [people make] back into the groups and communities with the aim of keeping them engaged."

To keep everyone on the same page, CenterStage organizes content around work, not the other way around. It includes capabilities such as social tagging, syndication, visualization, and social networking. It also combines federated search with guided navigation, allowing people to search for content stored in multiple repositories and to retrieve results within a workspace where they can organize them by familiar categories. The mobile application has placed extra emphasis on helping people syndicate and track relevant information and events, delivering automatic alerts to mobile devices when content is updated or changed.

Initially, Shaw says, mobile applications will focus more on enabling flexible and fluid data access than on extending the range of social media tools such as microblogging and ratings to workers on the move. "It's a phased-in approach," and it's one that keeps pace with organizations as they begin to address the requirements for collaboration and communication that knows no boundaries.

However, Shaw adds that "collaboration is just the tip of the iceberg." The next wave of mobility applications won't just extend the enterprise; they will enhance it, offering mobile access to tools and technologies that promise us new ways of working together to create new content types. "We'll see a lot more collaboration around rich media beginning with video clips and audio feeds and evolving into entirely new kinds of content over time," Shaw says. "Sharing will occur more and it will be about sharing to the right screen-a laptop, a mobile device, or even a public display-with the systems in place to support this."

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