Are you ready for the fast approaching Boomerang effect?
We are in the fast growing digital, social and mobile age. Consumer-oriented technologies are transforming the way that people communicate and accelerating the spread of information at the speed of light. These trends are driving the adoption of consumer oriented technologies in the business world. For example, BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) is gaining more adoption. This is especially occurring in the mobile device space as more employees want to use their devices at work to get the same ease of use and flexibility.
Amazon recently launched a consumer oriented ‘Cloud Drive‘ solution that allows consumers to store anything digital and access it from anywhere, any device, any time. Apple recently announced their consumer oriented ‘iCloud‘ solution that allows Apple device owners to store anything digital and access it from anywhere, any device (only Apple though), any time. In a couple of months, the term ‘Cloud’ will be commonly used by consumers. Thanks to Apple!! When kids start talking about ‘Cloud’, then we can all say that Cloud is now fully mainstream. Consumers will create content, manage content, share content and collaborate on content through these solutions and will like the ease of use and flexibility to do so.
Cloud based document/content management solutions started within the business world to support various business functions and processes to attain great productivity, scalability and flexibility. This is now entering the consumer space (via Apple, Amazon and others) and will drive more adoption and use of these cloud solutions. Once this attains adoption and wide use in the consumer world, guess what? Consumers will expect to have the same ease of use and flexibility to create content (documents, files,media etc), manage content, share content and collaborate on content at work.
This will drive and increase the need to have a ‘Cloud based Document Management & Collaboration‘ tool in the business world. This is what I am calling it as the fast approaching Boomerang effect? Are you ready for this?
Following are some of the top requirements and challenges that many organizations face today to manage documents:
Top Business Requirements
- Create & Manage – Create and manage any type of content in an online workspace easily and securely.
- Access – Access content from any location, any device, any time easily and securely.
- Sync – Ability to sync content across content across access points, including offline access.
- Mobility – Access content on “The Go”.
- Connect – Connect with others on content and share ideas.
- Collaborate – Share ideas and collaborate on content with others.
- Security – Ability to secure content at all levels. Configure access privileges and permissions at all levels.
- Size – No restrictions on content size limits.
- Communication – Ability to share links via email instead of the actual files. Avoid the hassles of overloading the email and ftp server and other restriction limits.
- Integrate – Ability to share and integrate across business applications (CRM, Intranet, Office tools etc)
- Do more with your content and get the work done easily and quickly.
- Less training, support and maintenance.
Top Business/IT Challenges
- Manage file and FTP servers at all locations, 24×7 and within budget.
- Manage backups and storage at all locations, 24×7.
- Manage capacity efficiently to keep in pace with the rapid growth of content.
- Manage network and security infrastructure to maintain integrity and privacy.
- Comply with many regulations and procedures to safeguard the data.
- Perform audit operations regularly and provide compliance reports.
- Perform infrastructure and software upgrades, maintenance and support to all the above.
- Have 24×7 support staff to manage all the above.
We had many of the above requirements and challenges. We addressed this by implementing a robust “Cloud Based Document Management & Collaboration” platform powered by Box.Net. (Click here for some cool videos). We have been using this solution for 2 years and achieved great business benefits and value across many business ares, functions and processes. I have a listed a few business use cases below that we have leveraged Box.net to the full extent.
This is a true example of how you can leverage a new & emerging technology to
enable and transform business
Key to manage and complete a project successfully is to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently with all the stakeholders at all times. One of the major tasks in any project is to manage a lot of project related documents. Sharing these documents with all the stakeholders in time and accessing these documents quickly and easily anytime, any device and any location is a huge challenge both for the project manager and the project team.
But most of the times, project documents are managed in ftp sites and shared mainly via email as the main communication medium. Email ends up being the main repository for project related information and communication. This result in email overload, dis-organized communication, lack of version control, cannot search quickly, inability to manage action items etc. All this leads to project failures.
You can address this challenge by managing the project in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:
- Create, manage and share all project related documents in one online workspace that can be accessed from any device, any location and anytime securely and easily.
- Always view only the latest version of the document and still have the ability to see prior version.
- Updates to project documents are automatically synced to all the access points.
- Assign tasks to team members to take action items. User’s tasks are displayed in a Facebook style activity feed. This helps the team to see all the project activity in one simple format (instead of emails) and take the necessary actions.
- Embed the entire project folder in the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This will provide team members to connect, share and collaborate on project related info, generate new ideas, solve challenges and be very effective. This results in Content + People + Collaboration which is key to a project’s success.
- Put an end to the email and ftp overload and email as a primary medium for project communication.
- Focus on the project rather than spending time and effort to manage and find project information.
In any publication industry, managing and sharing different types of content is a huge challenge especially when the file sizes are large. In addition to that, organizing the content, finding the latest files, searching/archiving old files are other challenges as well. Key to the publication industry is to publish the print/online edition in time and within budget.
You can address this challenge by managing all the publication related content/files and process flow in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:
- Manage and organize content easily and quickly – by type, author, location, ads, logos, images, audio, video etc.
- Share files with the team without overloading the email servers, ftp servers, senders and recipient’s inboxes.
- Updates to files are automatically synced to all the access points.
- Preview various files instantly from the browser, avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on your desktop/mobile device to view the files.
- Manage and collaborate on files with 3rd party applications through built-in integrations.
- Provide access to advertisers and agencies to view the files securely and also provide them the ability to upload files back directly to the respective folders. (instead of sharing via CDs, flash drives, ftp etc)
Awards & Nominations
The process to manage and collect the nominations for different award categories is a huge laborious task. The nomination forms are typically hosted in the website. Users download the nomination forms and typically send it via email. This results in overloading the recipient’s email. The award team searches and downloads all the relevant attachments from the email. They then sort it out and send it via email to the award nomination committee members to review all the nomination forms. The award nomination committee team then send back the selected nominations back. All this is again a huge laborious task, consumes a lot of time end effort that doesn’t provide “any” value to the process.
You can address this challenge by managing the entire award nomination process in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:
- Embed the nomination form in the award site and not sending the form to all via email.
- Users can preview and download the nomination forms quickly and easily.
- Create and organize folders by award category and nomination committee team in an online workspace.
- Upload the completed nomination form directly into the respective folders in the online workspace.
- Get notified whenever a nomination form is uploaded and see all the activity feed.
- Share the nomination forms quickly and easily with the committee team via links.
- No hassles of overloading the email.
- Access the nomination forms from any device, any location and anytime easily and quickly.
- Focus on the work rather than spending time in managing the nomination forms.
The need for sharing content via mobile applications (especially native apps) is a growing business need. The challenge here is to keep the size of the app to less than 20 MB in order for users to download the app via regular network. For conference based mobile applications, providing access to presentations, resources, case studies and product materials is a huge challenge.
You can address this challenge by managing all the mobile application resources in a cloud based document management and get the following business value:
- Create and organize the folders by presentations, resources, case studies and product materials in an online workspace.
- Manage and find files quickly.
- Updates to files are automatically synced to all the access points.
- Embed the files or provide links in the mobile apps. Users can preview the files instantly.
- Avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on your mobile device to view the files.
- Share files easily to others via social network tools.
- Keep the mobile app size less than 20 MB and still provide easy and quick access to all the files.
Getting all the work done for the next board meeting is a huge task and challenge. There are number of documents that have to be created, managed, shared and reviewed. Once the documents are ready, these needs to be shared to all board members and directors who are geographically dispersed in a quick and easy way. The last thing you want to do is send these documents via email, CDs, flash drives or the worst….print!!!
You can address this challenge by managing all the board related documents in a cloud based document management and get the following business value:
- Create and organize the folders by categories, agenda, action items, next steps etc
- Manage and find board materials quickly and easily.
- Updates to board materials are automatically synced to all the access points.
- Provide easy way for board members to view the files. Avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on laptop/device to view the documents.
- View all the board materials via the native iPhone, iPad, Droid apps.
- Access board materials from any location, any time and any device securely.
- Search for information, keyword and tags across all board materials quickly and easily.
- Get updates and notifications on board related materials.
- Download materials in a secure offline repository and take notes.
- Encrypt board materials to maintain privacy of sensitive information.
- Access and view activity logs of all previews, downloads and updates to maintain integrity and perform audits.
The other business use cases are around legal review of contracts, knowledge base repository, resource library, integrated search capabilities in the websites (web content + documents), accessing documents from CRM and other business applications.
The business benefits and value of having a cloud based document management & collaboration platform is limitless. In business everything revolves around content, documents, files etc. Addressing and improving the management of this will enable and transform many processes and functions and generate true value to the business.
Get ready for the fast approaching adoption of the Boomerang effect!!!
Appreciate your feedback and comments.