Statistics show that 61 per cent of staff work outside the office at least part of the time and three or more devices are used daily by employees for work activities. Alongside this, the number of devices managed in the enterprise increased by 72 per cent from 2014 to 2015. Despite the ubiquity of mobile, increasingly we find ourselves frustrated by situations where there is no access to enterprise applications when either working remotely or while on the move. It impinges on our efficiency and productivity.
In this digital age, a document management system is one such application. Data is the life blood of organisations and access to it in all its guises – email, files, voice messages, texts, etc. – is imperative in today’s always-on business environment. However, inability to access vital, business critical information via mobile is exasperating many.
Consider this scenario: Your organisation has a good on-premise document management system where all information related to various aspects of the business is stored. As you are travelling for a week on business, you download a number of files to work on offline on the plane and anywhere else while out of the office. Of course, with email being the key communication tool, the onslaught of emails continues unabated, the majority of which you respond to on your smartphone. With some emails coming in with attachments that you are collaborating on with various team members and external participants, you comment on select minor amendments from your mobile device, and then provide more detailed feedback at the end of the day from your hotel room using your laptop, which is more suitable for working on large, complex documents.
The technology set up is working so far! But then you are on your way to a client meeting and you need access to a specific email, which contains important information for discussion in the meeting. You can’t access it! Why? Your IT department places a limit on the number of emails that can be stored on your mobile device and this particular email in question goes back five to six months. It is stored in your enterprise document management system. Or you realise that there’s an email thread that you are not copied in, and it contains important information that you need access to. So you frenziedly call your office assistant to request that the email be urgently sent to you. The personal assistant happens to be on lunch break, so you then reach out to another team member to help you out. You get the picture? It’s frustrating.
Thereafter, when you are back in the office, you have the tiresome task of ensuring that all the important emails, correspondence and documents are appropriately filed in the organisation’s document management system. This is essential for collaboration and record keeping in today’s compliance-driven business environment.
However if all the capabilities of an on-premises document management system were available to access via your smartphone, you would have undertaken the relevant processes of saving and storing files seamlessly as a matter of your day-to-day activities – as if it were being undertaken on a desktop in the office. For instance, for every email you sent from your smartphone, you could have done a “send and file”, which would have automatically stored the correspondence in your firm’s document management system.
Some organisations are reluctant to allow such access to their applications on account of security, but technology is advanced and best-of-breed systems allow secure, document management capability on iOS, Android or Blackberry platforms. Organisations must leverage this capability to be in tune with changing work practices. Mobile access is no longer simply about email and calendar retrieval. Mobile devices are powerful, mini-computers in their own right that can be used to search for documents by name, data and such using metadata. The technology and employee requirements have evolved – to truly leverage mobile and maximise its benefits for efficiency and productivity, enterprises need to grant access to business applications based on security and organisational policies.
Jon Wainwright, Sales Director, Ascertus Limited
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Lenka Horavova