Only by living on Mars could one have avoided hearing about the iPhone or BlackBerry and their entrances into the corporate world. Millions of consumers and business people are testament to the popularity of the handheld devices that have made accessing the web on the move cheaper and easier.

The new iPhone 3G S could well hasten this trend as its applications can now potentially operate twice as fast.

The Mobile Web is a Success

There is no doubt people love the idea of experiencing the latest world news, sports results, music and movie releases whenever and wherever they are – as well as staying in touch with friends and family. Mobile devices like the iPhone have also enabled staff to work on the move, boosting the efficiency, agility and flexibility of businesses.

Corp Apps Have Some Way to Go

However, despite this revolution in communications, businesses have been alarmingly slow to capitalize. According to an e-Spirit survey of 100 CIOs, two thirds of UK businesses are failing to deliver high-end customer experience by not optimizing their websites for the latest devices. This means many are failing to accommodate this exploding demand for mobile communication, information and entertainment.

This scenario makes no commercial sense, especially as consumers are increasingly using the internet to make purchasing decisions because of the cost savings and convenience it can offer. This is doubly so in a time of economic difficulty when businesses must exploit the 24/7 global marketing and sales opportunities which the web brings if they are to survive and thrive.

Web Content Delivery Needs to Evolve

The trouble is that too much web content is designed for viewing on standard-size screens, so viewing them on anything smaller can result in a poor user experience. Too many web pages are laid out for presentation and navigation on desktop-size displays to exploit the capabilities of desktop-browsing software. This means information fails to appear in real-time on mobile devices such as iPhones and formatting tends to lose all integrity. The stark truth is that users no longer want to have to wait until they’re sitting in front of a computer screen for an optimum browsing experience.

The good news is that developments in web content management technology have enabled companies to deliver mobile-specific content more quickly and easily -- and help to enhance their customers’ interactions.

The Job of a Modern Web CMS

A modern Web CMS allows businesses to use content developed for other channels, such as standard web pages and delivers it to mobile devices without any loss of integrity. The beauty of this is that it not only means that content can be produced once, saving time and money, but also that customers enjoy the same quality of online experience no matter how they access the information.

Many CMS technologies also use content aggregators and device handlers that understand what content is available and the device it is being delivered to, allowing information to be rendered in a format that is device-specific and compatible.

These systems also have a range of innovative features, such as ‘Tell-a-Friend’, which allows visitors to send friends or colleagues a direct link via text message, enabling the recipient to open the mobile specific site with just one click.

On top of the mobile delivery capabilities, many CMS tools include automated database schemas and third party portals, providing companies with the ability to integrate content from subsidiaries across multiple legacy systems and databases, smoothly and seamlessly.

Keep it Free-flowing but Compliant

As with any free-flowing information, the issue of governance always remains high on the agenda. The freedom of mobile content has important implications for the business world, as critical information is leaving the confines of the firewall on a daily basis. This means that retaining control of who is accessing mobile information is becoming a pressing challenge for today’s businesses.

CMS technology helps achieve regulatory compliance and improves corporate governance of mobile content by using powerful audit tools to enable companies to roll-back a website to a previous point in its evolution, providing a complete history of content including the exact references, external documents and data sources.

Looking Ahead

There is no doubt that mobile content channels will continue to evolve and deliver new types of content. Mobile content will move away from merely delivering the sports results and breaking news to users, applications will get smarter, patiently monitoring your personalized preferences and delivering only the information you desire.

The challenge for businesses and mobile vendors is how to move with the times, modifying responses as technology evolves. Intelligent and flexible content management technology is a must for companies who face these challenges head on.