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Bob Gourley

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If Mobile Isn’t On Your Radar, It Should Be

Editor's note: In this post, AIIM’s CEO John Mancini urges enterprises to take a serious look at mobile ECM as their window on content. -bg

Enterprises understand that there is a natural synergy between mobile services and mobile content. Yet despite this, many are being slow at putting effective mobile programs in place to satisfy the 24/7 connected business world.

Mobile access is being demanded by employees, yet many enterprises are holding back for fear of being unable to work out issues between traditional back-office systems and a full-on mobile strategy.

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). Whilst 75% believe that “mobile applications are key to their program” going forward, implementations are worryingly low. Only 10 percent of those interviewed said they thought they had a successful mobile program in place.

Perhaps surprisingly, cloud ECM appears more mature than mobile. Around three-quarters of respondents said they look set to use some form of cloud ECM within the next four years; 26% are actually doing so already.

Part of this is down to what we like to call the SharePoint factor, where Microsoft is offering very attractive cost savings to move to the Office 365 suite. Of those who have already made a stake 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.

Stack these figures up against mobile and you see a very different picture. Although more than three quarters of our respondents realise they need to go with mobile applications or get left behind, only 10% of those surveyed said they have a successful Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme, whilst shockingly four in ten have no mobile access to content at all.

This is of great concern given the growing importance of mobile working and the ‘always on’ world of business today.It is essential that IT departments embrace mobile and implement cloud platforms, but from these findings it is clear that many don’t actually know how to go about it.

Security - still a sticking point?
For the cloud non-users, security still appears to be the ball and chain when it comes to innovation, with 75% of respondents saying it is the thorn in any new strategy’s side. The good news is that there have been steps forward since our 2012 survey.  Back then only 37% felt that cloud services offered similar or better security to on-premise servers. Today, 75% believe that cloud providers are likely to offer better (48%) or similar security (27%) to that of their own data centers.

Mobile ECM, however, is still a pretty gloomy picture. Surprisingly 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 able to work on copy on their mobile devices. The big buzz word in the industry today may be collaboration, but in reality it really isn’t happening.

BYOD - a slow starter, despite the hype

Despite all the hype around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it is proving a slow starter and is not without its challenges. Only 30% of respondents said they were running a live BYOD program. Additionally, two thirds of those admitted that they hadn’t ironed out all the problems yet. 19% said they had opted to stay with company owned devices, of which two thirds are for business use only.  But there is sun over the horizon, with 30% of enterprises looking to launch a BYOD initiative in the not too distant future.

Leadership is required
Mobile innovation requires leadership and this came over load and clear amongst those surveyed. 71% felt that it would be advantageous to create a role within the enterprise responsible for leading a mobile strategy such as a chief mobile officer.  Many thought it was essential to face any security fears and plan around them to lay the framework for a mobile platform.

What is really driving cloud?
As always it revolves around budgets. By adopting cloud, enterprises are also looking to save on running costs long term and reduce investment. But with ECM the biggest single advantage to be gained is better access for remote and mobile employees, more flexible applications, speed of data access and extended access to partners and customers. By improving collaboration enterprises can boost productivity.

Making the move to mobile ECM
Moving to the cloud does not guarantee cost savings. These are dependent on a number of criteria revolving around an enterprise’s infrastructure, its staffing and hardware costs.  But 18% of respondents said they have reduced staffing and 26% have reduced costs as a result of the move. But the survey underlines that fact that moving to cloud isn’t all about cutting budgets, it is also above improved collaboration and easier access.

Correctly managed cloud and mobile can be harnessed to make ECM an even more important business tool than ever.

 

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com