Almost overnight, mobile devices, the cloud and social media have created massive changes in consumer behavior and expectations. With the surge of user-friendly conveniences like Amazon® same-day delivery, Apple Pay™ and Uber, there is no question that today’s consumers are constantly connected, community-oriented, and design-conscious—not to mention impatient. Not only do these consumer behaviors describe our clients and prospective clients, they describe each one of us. Because we are all part of this shift, it is time to ask ourselves whether we are keeping pace. Mobile document management is one tool firms should be looking at.
Many people use “Mobility” and “Cloud” interchangeably, but they’re not really the same thing
Cloud technology is the technology behind all our mobile experiences. It enables and enhances our mobile experiences. Without the power of the cloud, we have very little mobility. You can certainly have a mobile phone that doesn’t connect to the Internet. However, the phone’s capabilities would be very limited if all it could do is make and receive calls. Hint – We call them “dumb phones” for a reason!
But once you add the power of the cloud and the Internet, a dumbphone suddenly becomes a smart phone. And that’s when users get to have great mobile experiences like searching for a restaurant, reading the news or shopping. Cloud technologies make all of these experiences possible.
What to look for in Mobile Document Management Technology
Mobile apps should lead to gains in efficiency. They should provide small snippets of information or functionality for those in-between moments. They should not necessarily duplicate desktop software, although some desktop functionalities might make sense on mobile devices as well.
When evaluating mobile capabilities of a document management system, there are a number of features to look for.
First and foremost is access to your data anytime and from anywhere, provided you have an active Internet connection. You’re looking for instant answers while on–the-go, so things like client details or notes, A/R Balances and more are important. Some other things to look for might include adding/recalling favorite clients, and exchanging files through a portal.
Access to client documents is also important. Being able to add, search for, open, and send files to clients electronically will save lot of time. You’ll also be able to provide those instant answers anywhere, giving you a leg-up on your competition.
Ensuring that your mobile app supports your workflows is also important, though it may not be all that clear in the beginning how mobility fits your workflow processes. And that’s okay. As more and more staff become mobile and access to the DMS becomes simpler, you will be able to figure out which workflows are best suited to mobile devices versus full-fledged PCs. Great examples of mobile-enable workflows include assigning file-related tasks to other staff and importing files uploaded by clients to their portal.
Mobile Document Management and Client Collaboration
Over the years, the line between document management and client collaboration has blurred somewhat, since in many cases you’re talking about file management – regardless if it’s in a DMS or in a Portal. You may want to look for a solution that supports client collaboration such as file sharing, e-signatures, secure messaging and even invoice presentment and bill pay. Providing these types of features to your clients, and allowing them to access these features from their mobile devices may help your firm stand out from the rest. Clients will recognize that your firms is keeping current with the times, and will appreciate your firm enabling mobile access for their data.
To learn more about selecting the right mobile document management system, download our whitepaper, Document Management Strategies: New and Upcoming Trends.