Mobile content management (MCM) is becoming more important
as a platform for enterprises as mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) provide
the technology framework for today’s workforce. Naturally, this means that the
market is quickly flooding with MCM solutions from mainstream collaboration tools
vendors and mobile app developers. Even the mobile device management (MDM)
players are getting into the act.

I must also note that my recent research into MCM also shows
it is converging with mobile collaboration in both product roadmaps and how
enterprise mobile users are interacting with corporate content from their
mobile devices.

I put my analysis of MCM in front of Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie, a collaboration tools provider
focusing on Office 365.

Stage 1: Rogue IT or Shadow IT – Free cloud storage phase

The first stage of mobile content management considered by
some on the market as Rogue IT (otherwise known as ShadowIT). This is where mobile users with a little bit of knowledge begin
putting corporate documents into personal cloud storage accounts on Dropbox,
Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive).

Two reports that can speak more to risks of the Rogue IT
stage are:

While consumer cloud vendors including Dropbox and Box have
released two-factor authentication, it doesn’t mean users are going to
implement security measures especially if they are using free storage without
the blessing of corporate management

The security risks inherent with stage 1 mean enterprises
don’t want to stay here long. Likewise, the requisite endpoint security needs
to be in place or else elements of stage 1 could remain in place.

Stage 2: Cloud solutions, mobile device management and intelligent mobile
apps

With Office 365, Huddle, and RedHost taking collaboration to
the cloud, stage 2 means that an enterprise can approach MCM in a more mature
manner with user privileges, true file locking, content version control, and intelligent
mobile apps from innovative platform and third party vendors. Stage 2 is more
about control and collaboration, less about the ad hoc convenient file storage
that marks stage 1.

Today’s cloud collaboration platforms mean their own class
of intelligent mobile apps. I’ve written about harmon.ie’s SharePoint client
offerings on both iOS
and Android.
Colligo is also doing some excellent work
with Colligo Briefcase. Huddle’s mobile app includes a patent pending document recommendation engine and
improvements on the mobile app are certain to play into Huddle’s overall product roadmap.

Traditional MDM vendors including MobileIron, AirWatch, and
Good have their own app stores now. Vendors including harmon.ie have released
secure versions of their apps that integrate directly with the MDM solution.

As MCM gains more intelligence in stage 2, Mobile Identity
Management becomes an option as distinct requirements for device security and
cloud access grow for enterprises.

Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify, a leading identity tools vendor
that support mobile and cloud application said, “First and foremost, ensure
the device is secure. Second, you want mobile application management to deploy
the app to the device, then the next thing is what people really want is that
people don’t want to always have to enter their username and password when they
access files.”

Stage 3: Cloud, MDM, intelligent mobile apps, and social

The introduction of an enterprise social component to MCM
marks stage 3.

“I would say if you are serious about collaboration – your
second stage – you need social,” adds Cohen. He labels it a natural evolution
because it takes mobile users beyond the document and fosters brainstorming

You can have social interactions, and say ‘hey, why don’t
you update this slide.” You can already look at that as the third one.

The social component that arrives with stage 3 is especially
important as companies turn to mobile first strategies, geographically
dispersed workforces, and contractors to serve their customers.

Stage 4: Emergence of context and location-based technologies in MCM

“Context or intelligence is the next generation,” says
Cohen. “Nobody is really doing it.”

His look into the future of context is the content being
brought to the mobile user when they need it. His example to me was an employee
has an important meeting with a manager or executive. A mobile content
management solution pushes the latest documents you have rights to on the
collaboration platform and even recent enterprise social posts from the meeting
attendees. He also predicts that the REST API will play a role in the future
phase and query Salesforce and perhaps other backend systems for data pertinent
to the meeting. This data would in turn appear on the mobile devices of
authorized meeting attendees.

It could even be location-based. Cohen points to where a
mobile device’s location can help drive further contextual information

Stage 4 wasn’t in my original article. It’s Cohen’s
suggestion to me and matches other activity I’m seeing in the market, so I
added it to my original three stages. For example, I recently got a briefing
from Blake Brannon, global sales engineering manager for Air Watch about recent
updates to the Air Watch Content Locker. Geographic-base security called
Geo-fencing is part of the product enabling enterprises to lock down corporate
content by geographic location. Other vendors are moving in a similar
direction. Look for an upcoming TechRepublic post from me about the AirWatch
Content Locker.

Final thoughts

Through changing business rules, technology, or security
concerns, the state of mobile content management is continuously evolving. Enterprises
need to manage their mobile content management requirements from inception
through the next generation technology options that stage 4 offers a mobile
workforce.

At what stage is MCM in your organization?