Analyst Joe Shepley has raised some important points in his recent articles on Mobile Enterprise CMS this month in CMSWire. The Feb 2 article Enabling a Mobile Workforce: Technology is not Enough, calls out the need to segment different types of users in an organization, and how different types of information workers necessarily interact with content uniquely in a mobile context. His Feb 16 piece points out the important synergy between mobility and openness. Each of these topics deserve a deeper discussion.

The New Generation of Enterprise CMS is Built for Mobile

No doubt, the “-as-a-Service” descriptor is on the verge becoming Buzzword Bingo center square, but the new generation of Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM) are indeed being designed to be mobile, customizable on-demand, and architected to meet both cloud and on-premise needs equally.

21st century content management technologies, designed for the lean, social and mobile work habits that are gaining adoption do more than just inspire new kinds of content apps -- they let us redefine who is an information worker.

The 20th century licensing model that emerged in the era of client-server persists even in the web- and mobile-centric ECM vendor paradigm today, especially with the large, 'leaders'. This means that typically a majority of the employees in a large enterprise go without access to corporate content management systems.

Getting Access to Enterprise CMS

Information workers -- those deemed worthy of the $100s+ spent per seat of traditional ECM licenses -- are those who work in an administrative or management function: desktop PC owners, the spreadsheet jockeys creating regulated content most often subjected to compliance rules, contracts managers.

But what about the customer-facing service reps? The retail workers, field reps, sales people, inspectors or transportation workers? Who really believes that they are not knowledge workers? This have/have-not dichotomy does not need to exist in the new world of open source and Software-as-a-Service alternatives.

This majority often don't get corporate-issued desktop systems. But they are the bread and butter of the knowledge-based service industry that fuels modern digital economy. These critical employees interact with their corporate systems primarily from smartphones or web-based portals, often personally-provisioned or from kiosks that are shared. These customer-facing staff need to engage, transact, learn and follow policies even when not provided with corporate email addresses, network accounts or company laptops.

Retail, front-line, customer service knowledge workers need to be able to get cost-effective, accurate access to content management systems from smartphones and web apps to fulfill their essential client engagement duties. Execution of contracts, agreements, digital signatures in a safe, compliant manner on an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry means exponentially more productivity than running to a regional office or printing and faxing from the 24-hour internet cafe.

Mobility & ECM-as-a-Service

ECM-as-a-Service platforms means large organizations can design, build and deploy content applications for all of their key employees -- not only those tied to traditional desktop PCs and office suites.

Consistency of applications, engagement and delivery of customer services is the core of the new generation of ECM platform. The Enterprise CMS landscape has evolved, and is ready now for those vendors that can deliver application design environments specifically for business users in both web and mobile environments. Arbitrary license and business model restrictions from last century's ECM leaders no longer need to inhibit or restrict the evolution of content-centric applications in today's digital economy. ECM-as-a-Service? It's EaaS-y...for both the developer and mobile information worker.

Editor's Note: Additional articles on the Mobile Enterprise: