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Until recently there was a clear divide in the enterprise between mobile devices and less portable computers, like laptops and desktops. The former was used primarily to consume content, while the latter was used to create content.

But those lines are blurring at a surprisingly rapid pace, according to a new report by bigtincan. In its biannual survey on tech trends, the company found there was a 37 percent increase year-over-year in content creation on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. (While laptops are, strictly speaking, also considered mobile tools, they were specifically lumped in with desktops in this survey).

In the simplest terms, that means more workers are using smartphones and tablets — their own or company-provided — to create work emails and documents as well as view them. There are a number of factors behind this trend, said David Keane, bigtincan founder and CEO.

Anytime, Anywhere

As more and more millennials work their way up corporate ladders, they expect to be able to work on whatever device they want – even when they want to create content. In addition, the productivity advances of mobile devices are widely accepted and expanding that functionality to creating content is viewed as the next logical step.

"One measure of productivity is the ability to work seamlessly from device to device and that includes content creation, not just being able to access an email or account information from the corporate database," Brian Cleary, Chief Strategy Officer at bigtincan told CMSWire.

Finally, mobile tools for content creation are improving functionality and security safeguards, prompting more companies to allow their use.

These are some of the reasons why international law firm Clyde & Co. has been refining its approach on the use of mobile tools. The company relies on, among many other applications, Workshare, a provider of document collaboration solutions for the enterprise, to keep its attorneys connected while on the road, its global CIO Chris White told CMSWire

"What we are finding now with the increasing march to mobility is that some of the newer features of Workshare are becoming more important," he said, referring to the application's content creation tools.

It is telling that White has spotted this trend because, in general, the attorneys that tend to travel the most are the least likely to actually create content. Such chores are usually left to the junior staff back at the home office. 

"But there is no doubt there is increasing demand for the ability to create documents from a mobile device. People expect they will be able to work from whatever device they have in front of them," he said.

BYOD, Unstructured Data

This trend, as it continues to unfold, will touch on a number of related developments. For example, it could win over Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) skeptics. As productivity increases, there may be more acceptance of workers using their own devices for work of all types. 

It will also increase acceptance of non-structured data in the corporate environment, such as custom-designed applications, interactive videos and on-the-spot interviews of customers or partners. "I am expecting to see a significant growth in other kinds of content as a result of this trend," Keane said in an interview. 

"It's not just about files and structured data any more. The focus will be more than ever on content as a whole," he said.

Indeed, the recent bigtincan report already captured an uptick in engagement with this type of data. In the time period studied, video increased by 25 percent and mobile PDF engagement rose by close to 30 percent. PowerPoint, Excel and Word also rose by respectable amounts. As for text, it rose by less than 5 percent.

Title image by Ed Yourdon  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.