IM Experts in E&P

EIM Trends 2: Keeping up with evolving content and devices

Date: 23/6/2011

In the last EIM Trends blog, we looked at the changing nature of the user - more digital savvy and less willing to compromise on technology in the workplace. In this blog, we will look at some of the high level trends in content, and the equipment delivering that content.

A significant trend, which has been anticipated for a while but is only recently being realised, is the move to mobile. Smartphones have been around for a some time, as well as 3G, mobile and tablet computing. Only recently though, has a critical mass been achieved through broader networks, competitive pricing and better hardware. Apple's offerings in the marketplace as a catalyst to this success cannot be overstated, but the trend has been there for a while. The future, and much of the present, is well and truly mobile.

An increasing proportion of browsing is now being carried out on smart devices, often with the help of "apps". In this context, apps are mobile device native applications, often providing part or complete functionality of an existing website or cloud based repository - primarily to improve the user experience on a mobile device. Such devices could also use locational software, either through GPS or triangulation, to add a powerful locational aspect to the content viewed, or functionality being used.

While in the oft idealised world of the internet, some commentators such as Berners-Lee1 and Warrene2 argue that the concept of social networks and apps is undermining the spirit of the web, since "driving new content into walled app environments rather than the public web risks the loss of a vast amount of knowledge and useful data" (Technewsworld, 22 Nov 2010), within organisations, the story is different. While the external concerns about information silos are valid, those about information being lost are not, provided efforts are made to ensure that it remains within the confines of the company.

Accessing information management systems via remote log in is now commonplace, but little of this is mobile enabled or ‘appified'. ECM vendors and third parties are increasingly producing mobile apps to fill this gap, and this is a trend that is likely to continue. With more people working on the move, combined with more powerful infrastructure and equipment, information providers within organisations are perhaps struggling to keep up. A 2011 AIIM study shows that 72% of larger organisations have 3 or more ECM/DM/RM systems, 55% have no policy on how long information stored on internal social business sites should be stored and 68% of installed ECM systems have no mobile access. There is plenty room for a cleanout and a rethink to improve things here.

A note on content - this is changing too. While there will be an on-going and increasingly sophisticated place for traditional documents in the more controlled areas of content, especially in compliance driven areas, there is a notable increase in rich content, ‘media everywhere', social network content and digital assets in general - much of it interactive - in other areas. Given the predicted explosion in volumes of content, exploiting the potential of this to gain value is essential; although, in a world of increased standards and compliance, so is controlling it.

So far we have considered users, their content and the devices they are using. Next time, we will look at ways of gaining value by bringing these entities together in a new and fast changing climate of information management.

1 Tim Berners-Lee, internet pioneer
2 Blane Warrene, social media expert, CEO BMRW Associates


Soumo Bose


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