Mobility experts say it’s important that when you think about mobile content management, you think big. But what does that mean? We consulted with AirWatch’s resident content expert, Spencer Reagan, to find out. His answers are below.
How can companies consider long-term content management needs when shopping for a mobile content management solution?
Reagan: There’s no doubt about the proliferation of tablets. Statistics show that by 2017, the number of tablets people own will triple to 1 billion. The only doubt is: how are we going to empower the users to have what they need on the tablet at any given moment?
Where is content management headed?
Reagan: The sky’s the limit. We’re in the infancy of this. Did we think we’d be here two years ago? No. This is the beginning of the mobile revolution, and what is mobility without empowerment? If you’re not getting the content to the devices, folks are going to find a way to do it themselves. You have to give them a certified, compliant way for them to use these technologies.
How will tablets continue to change the way people work?
Reagan: Beyond the portability factor, you’re going to be looking at things like broadcast; channels. When there’s a meeting it shows up in your content locker on the left side and you just click on it and join. So we’ll support both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, where everybody is looking at the same documents and working on the same things at the same time.
What does it mean to have a scalable solution, and why is that important?
Reagan: We think about scalability in two ways: about technical scalability and operation scalability. Technical means you can have X number of devices connecting to your system, operational means it’s usable at that point. The scalability strategy that AirWatch has always embraced is the multi-tenancy, which is the ability to have units inside larger units. We’re a global company with operations in North America, APAC, EMEA, and within each of those we have smaller units: sales, services, development, etc. and inside of those we have smaller teams. So to be able to build units to exactly match those units and delegate responsibilities to the same resources inside those units is the only way you can take something that is tens of thousands of devices and actually make it usable.
Why is it important to think of MCM as part of a mobility platform?
Reagan: We like to think of EMM as a platform. A good analogy is the Office Productivity Suite – it’s a suite of tools. Different people within an organization use different programs, but each of these is part of the same suite. The programs work together and are more powerful because they’re part of the same suite. You can copy and paste and open things in between them. And to have a platform with individual tools within it, you really multiply the power of each tool because of the platform, the interoperability and the familiarity with the users. If you’re using MDM and you’re looking to a new and different vendor to supply a content solution with a new interface, and a new connection to your directory structure, that’s something new to learn for your users. With AirWatch, it’s already familiar to my users, and it’s already connected to my directory structure, and multiple solutions – a secure browser, email client, and content management system – are locked together as a platform that provide a seamless user interface across apps. But even if you used each one of these separately, there is still the benefit of a single user interface that becomes familiar over time, and people are more likely to use it if it’s familiar to them.
With a one-off solution, there is no compatibility with email and browser, so they can’t get their email attachments into the content management app, and they can’t click links on documents and open them in a secure browser. And suddenly they realize with AirWatch, it’s no work for that to happen.
What is the importance of a global solution, and how can a company execute on that?
Reagan: The importance is a foregone conclusion if you’re a global company, but how to execute on a global solution is more complicated. AirWatch is now in 16 languages and 150 countries. So you can have the same instance of the application appear to someone in Spanish and someone else in another country in his native language.
AirWatch made a huge push early on in globalization. If you look at the console, every word that you see is just an index number. And in the database, there’s an entire library for each language. So the system goes and looks up the correct language based on the user’s information and location. Plus we’ve made sure it’s not some paint-and-spackle language translation, it’s actually usable and makes sense. That capability, plus things like the support we have make, executing a global strategy easier. We have local dial-in numbers in 50 countries and 24×7 support.