It sounds so simple: access documents from the cloud on your mobile device and be able to work with them similarly to how you would on a desktop. We believe this should be easy for all business people; however, many technologists have tried to tackle the issue to limited success. When one goes to the App Store and looks up document management there are few, if any, perfect scores, there are no guarantees about synergy with your company's existing infrastructure - it's anyone's ballgame.
As I approached this issue there were a few core features that I felt were essential to be able to offer users:
-Branding of the app for consistency
-Offline document access
-Content distribution through enterprise solutions
-Sharing tools so that users can email and print files from the app
-Collaboration capabilities so that mobile users can offer feedback and edits in real time
Easy enough, right? Not so. Content at every company is a bear - the quantity of documents, version control and various data stores all present unique problems and no two approaches for content management is the same. Now try taking those hairballs on the road with a mobile app and the issues compound.
Before diving in and creating something new and trying to convince the enterprise it's the best solution available we decided to take a step back, talk to several companies that are already helping the enterprise with cross-platform document management and discuss with clients what they truly wanted from a content management app. After much discussion, the companies that we felt we needed to integrate with to make this work included Box, Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce. These three companies represent a dominant percentage of businesses' approaches to their document management and collaboration strategies. By integrating our apps with them we're able to drop our domain expertise in mobile and particularly in iOS development - an area where they each may seek out a trusted partner with long-term experience in the space.
Partnerships allow companies to rely on one another's strengths. As a lean startup based in San Francisco the relationships and partnerships we've made at Taptera have been integral in our first year of sales. That said, when it comes to mobility these partnerships are even more essential to our client's businesses. After 1000 discussions last year we know that adopting mobility is still scary for some but the idea of moving whole databases to the cloud was once scary too. Now it's just about ensuring those data stores are portable, accessible and clean! By showing that brands like Salesforce and Box trust an approach to mobile document management it allows many companies to take a leap of faith, which is only going to better their bottom line.
Through our partnerships we're able to teach companies how they can combine their chosen CRM solution with their document management tools - and how those can be deployed across phone and tablet technologies. We're also able to help enterprises see that the simpler the application the greater the adoption and the larger the impact on your bottom line. We get them to see that it isn't just about access but also about showcasing one's content within the corporate brand and about being able to swiftly deploy it to others in the field.
For businesses, it may not be tomorrow that your salesforce and client field representatives leverage document access and sharability to the betterment of your business. Some may though and the more cumbersome the process the less impactful it will be. From the C-suite it can seem a minute problem - being able to show, use and send documents from a tablet or phone - but for the people on the street, literally, it's an increasingly expected asset. Don't leave your people out in the dark.