Most mobile computing devices such as tablets are primarily used to consume rather than create content. But as time evolves, it’s apparent that as these devices become more robust, it will become increasingly more feasible to create content on them. The challenge will be to then figure out how to synchronize files created and updated using tablets with the documents residing in the content management system (CMS) residing on a server.
At the Dreamforce 2012 conference this week, Alfresco, a provider of an enterprise CMS that can be used to manage workflow under a range of business applications, is showcasing a new file synchronization capability that it has developed for its namesake open source CMS. According to Paul Hampton, director of products for Alfresco, that file synchronization capability makes it possible to update any file on a mobile computing device, and then have that same file be automatically updated within the CMS running on a server.
As mobile computing continues to evolve, it won’t be too long before more files are being created and updated on these devices than on traditional PCs. As more employees continue to work outside the traditional confines of an office, the ability to easily update files remotely will become a central tenet of the productivity promise of mobile computing, regardless of whether those files are hosted on a server in a data center or in the cloud.
In recognition of that, Alfresco is also changing the way its software is packaged. The company announced an Alfresco One subscription that covers cloud and on-premise implementations of its software in addition to all the desktop and mobile computing clients. Hampton says the idea is to reduce the licensing complexity associated with managing software deployments in a world where organizations now prize flexibility.
To obtain that flexibility, many IT organizations have been resorting to using services such as Dropbox.com or Box. Hampton says Alfresco eliminates that need by providing a built-in file synchronization utility that makes mobile computing devices a natural extension of the CMS environment. That capability then takes a host of compliance and security issues off the table, adds Hampton.
Clearly, as organizations begin to increasingly adopt a “mobile first” mindset, they are going to shift towards applications that make the lines between on-premise, cloud and mobile computing as seamless as possible. The real issue facing IT organizations is that in the name of productivity, workflow processes are now being extended across cloud and mobile computing platforms in ways that are unnatural, costly and insecure. IT organizations, unfortunately, are running out of time in terms of crafting an actual strategy that would bring those already over-extended processes back under control.