Magazine article Information Management

Mobile Devices: Catalyst for Better Records Management?

Magazine article Information Management

Mobile Devices: Catalyst for Better Records Management?

Article excerpt

For anyone involved in records management, the influx of mobile devices into the workspace has created a wide variety of challenges including, but not limited to, integration, access, security, compatibility, privacy, and compliance.

While this is true of many smartphones, tablets, or laptops, it is the i Pad and its huge popularity and the resulting user behavior that provide a real-world focal point for addressing those same key challenges, as well as emerging trends and best practices. So, whether you are a fan or remain non-committed to any particular technology, the issues raised by mobile devices for records management, records infrastructure, and, often overlooked, litigation readiness are worth considering as we move into an increasingly mobile world.

Tablets Produce Three RM Trends

Whether you are a fan of the Apple iPad or not, it's impossible to ignore the fact that Apple has created a hugely popular product and is dominating this blue ocean market for tablets. With the introduction of iOS 2.0, Apple took the i Phone (and subsequently the iPad) into the business environment by offering key functionality related to MS Exchange, MS Office, device tracking, and remote wiping. As a result, the iPhone and the iPad are gaining increasing traction and inroads into corporate America.

Some of these are through the consumerization of IT - the purchase of devices by employees who then petition IT to allow their integration into the corporate systems. Some of these are through official corporateequipping programs or subsidized "bring your own device" (BYOD) programs that allow users to purchase the device(s) of their choice subject to particular choices, policies, and/or registration requirements.

Over a year ago, in February 2011, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer stated, "[. . .] over 80% of the Fortune 1 00 are already deploying or piloting the iPad, up from 65% in the September quarter. Some recent examples include JPMorgan Chase, Cardinal Health, Wells Fargo, Archer Daniels Midland, Sears Holdings and DuPont."

The adoption of the iPad is leading to several trends - changes in:

* The way that users adopt record management policies,

* The way that users are participating (or not) in normal software acquisition processes

* The way that companies are allowing and supporting mobile devices

* The overall information storage architecture of companies with related changes to sustainability, security and, ultimately, litigation issues.

Centralized Storage

One trend, which this author calls the "two-device effect," gives the iPad more potential than any other product to effect true change and compliance in information lifecycle management.

How is this possible? While the laptop is used more as a replacement for the desktop, the iPad is often a second, complementary, device. But rather than being like the person with two briefcases, two wallets, or two handbags - always looking for something in the other location - iPad and laptop/desktop users are actually seeking and using methods for centralized storage and synchronization among their devices.

This change in behavior is dramatic because it is user-driven rather than policy-driven. Because the user wants to comply with central storage systems, this will lead to true behavior change.

In this sense, it's not that everyone has to own an iPad. It is not the iPad itself, but the behavior that it represents and the behavior that it enables that is a harbinger of a new way for users to interact with corporate systems. In this future method of access, users may have two, three, or more systems they use on a regular basis, including a desktop at work, a laptop at home, a tablet while traveling, and a smart phone in a pinch. Users will want (and do want) access to their information from whichever device they are using at the time.

Users will have access from multiple devices only if they participate in corporate programs for the centralized storage of information. …

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