Today’s mobile technology allows us to accomplish pretty much anything you can do in the office from a mobile device at your kid’s soccer game. While most of us won’t be, or shouldn’t be, working from that game, the vast majority of workers need to be able to perform our jobs on the move.
Where in years past we’ve relied heavily on email to allow us to accomplish this, we now know that email is unruly at best and a disaster at worst. A recent study by Royal Pingdom states that, “on average corporate employees sent and received 105 e-mails per day.” Companies constantly struggle to “control” that email, but as we’re all discovering, the email is increasing and the control is failing.
So the question becomes, if email is not the answer to the mobile office then what is? Well for strictly correspondence, most of us have at least experimented with other communication like instant messaging, Yammer, Twitter, Chatter or any of the other platforms out there that allow quick conversations to happen right from our mobile devices. But what about all of those attachments? Are you using your email for document collaboration? Invoice approval? Expense report submission? Luckily there are any number of ways you can use document management tools to be a part of the workflow from anywhere, anytime. Here are just a few:
Invoice approval – “Yesterday” - someone from accounting would send or walk over all invoices for my approval and they are left in my inbox on my desk. When I got back to the office and I got around to it (and of course we always do because approving and cost coding invoices is a high priority on everyone’s to do list!) I’d go through the stack, scribble my information and sign. If I needed to see corresponding documentation, I’d go through my computer or file cabinet to find it. If I was out of the office, I’d call someone and interrupt their day for the request. Didn’t get to them? Well hopefully someone somewhere is keeping track. If not, payment was late. “Today” – incoming invoices are scanned in and status stamped for my approval. I receive a notification that invoices are waiting. I go to the app on my mobile device, review the invoice, click a link for any corresponding documentation, and stamp it approved, denied, with a cost code and/or with a reason. If for some reason I don’t do my job (which isn’t an issue, see above), accounting has a dashboard of what I’ve done that they can view from anywhere. By the way, you can insert your human resources, timesheet approval, etc… into the above process easily.
Expense report submission – “Yesterday,” when I got back to the office I filled out my expense report by hand or online and printed it out. I made copies of everything, with the receipts and submitted it to accounting via interoffice mail or scanned and emailed it over. I knew it had been received and processed when I got my check. “Today,” I fill out my expense report from anywhere in a form, scan my receipts, or take a picture of them, and email them to an address that is always monitored by the document management software. My request is received instantly and I can log in from anywhere to see where it is in the approval process, i.e. waiting for approval, approved, paid.
Collaboration – “Yesterday,” when multiple people were working on a document, a copy was emailed to each person. He or she made the changes and emailed them back and/or around to other collaborators. Tracking changes and who had the latest version was next to impossible. “Today,” I receive notification that there is a document ready for my input. I click a link that takes me straight to the document and work on it from anywhere. When I’m finished I put it away and the version automatically clicks up, older versions are retained, and other members of my team can go to that same document to make changes.
We’re no longer tied to our office desks in order to complete important tasks and accelerate processes. In other words, today the world is my office.
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International