Thoughts On Mobile Collaboration

By Bob Larrivee posted 03-30-2012 08:31


Imagine you are George, an information management consultant. In your role, you spend a lot of time on the road, in various customer locations and like many road warriors, in the air. For you collaboration means having access to yours and your customer’s information 24/7 regardless of where you are, with the capability to exchange ideas and project related thoughts in an efficient and expeditious manner. You must be able to effectively communicate, without the ties and bonds of being there in person. In order to do so, you and your clients have to have the right strategies and tools in place that enable you to be mobile, agile and responsive.

This is where environmental assessment and development of a strategy play a significant role. From an environmental perspective, what is the culture of the organization you are working with and how receptive are they to change the way they currently operate? Is it one of the traditional brick and mortar environments with everything regimented and locked down, or do they have remote workers and enabling technology already in use? Once you assess the situation, what tools can you recommend that will fit into the organizational mold without presenting a risk? Shared sites, wikis, and cloud applications are all options that are viable but which makes the most sense for them and you? Remember, mobile access is a requirement and not all technology is equal in that realm.

In my view, George is not dealing with a unique situation. This is a scenethat is being played out around the globe and in many Board rooms. The concept of mobile collaboration is not new but it is more readily achievable given today’s technology. The ability to establish collaborative work environments that are accessible using mobile devices is here,enabling organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively across the enterprise. Doctors who are thousands of miles apart can now access information and collaborate on diagnostic and treatment options via shared repositories and online conferencing. Field adjusters who are on-site at a disaster location can upload information that includes video and photos of the damaged areas and discuss payment options with the underwriters in real time. The question is not about the possibility as we know it is possible. The task you must accept to in order to be successful, is one of assessing the needs and environment, developing a strategy,and selecting the right tools for the job. Ask yourself these questions, who are you trying to serve? What is the goal of mobile collaboration in your situation? What are the processes related to this operation today and how will we change them for tomorrow?

Collaboration, and more specifically mobile collaboration, is not just setting up a shared site that can be accessed by smartphone or tablet. There should be a purpose that is clear to all parties involved in the process and project. The Field of Dreams mindset that is you build it they will use it, will not ensure success or use of the tools you put in place. Know what it is you are trying to accomplish and let the world know it. Mobile collaboration is a true reality. Folks like George know that success here, like most things we do, requires planning and focus.  

If you are ready to move forward and are finding yourself stuck or unfocused and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.


Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM

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