Information mobility: Why your business can’t be without it

25 Oct 2021

Information mobility. Makes you think of phones, doesn’t it?

I mean, it even has the word mobility in the title. Mobility, mobile – it makes sense.

And yes, information mobility includes the world of mobile technologies. But it’s so much more than that.

What is information mobility? It’s being able to digitize decades worth of records, so you can find what you were looking for on your tablet.

It’s going to bed each night comfortable knowing that your IT infrastructure has the latest protections from hackers, viruses and trojans.

It’s waking up at 5 a.m. in a hotel room half a world away and being able to access your company’s shared drive.

It’s having the know-how to manage a team that includes a 23-year-old college grad and a 30-year company veteran so that both can succeed and be productive.

It’s being able to transform your paper and digital documents into any format you need, and then back again whether on the go or at the office.

It’s using big data systems to index, archive, organize, and understand your historical data to glean insights that could inform future decisions.

It’s about having the technology you need, understanding the new world of work, and knowing how to cut through the noise to have anywhere, anytime access to your critical business information.

That’s information mobility. And in today’s changing world, it’s what your business needs to succeed.

A long time coming

Back some 25 years ago, the concept of mobility was very different. Collaboration, efficiency and productivity were just as important then as now, and to their credit, businesses made use of the day’s technologies as best they could. You could jump on a red-eye flight cross-country to meet a client in person. Or you could send a document via fax machine when mail was just too slow. Workstyle innovations that helped to revolutionize the way we work, yes. But these businesses didn’t have anything close to true information mobility.

After all, companies were still storing their records on paper. Printers were slow and costly. Fax machines were even slower. And the phone was the only way to collaborate in real time with a colleague, whether they were a room away or in another country.

Today, we finally have the technology for businesses to enjoy full information mobility. Such as video conferencing that lets you talk to someone face-to-face in real time. Or digital records management that’s revolutionizing the way doctors treat patients, giving them immediate access to a patient’s medical history and helping to save lives. Or multifunction devices that can print tens of thousands of documents in the blink of an eye. And of course, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

We are still in the mobile industry’s infancy, and yet, we have already seen just how they have changed the way we work. Business apps have given us the ability to automate processes that used to take hours, giving workers more time to concentrate on projects that directly affect a business’ bottom line. Tablets have become de rigueur for everything from email to notetaking. And people now have anytime, anywhere access to their work.

Unintended consequences

But information mobility is more than just using technology to accomplish business goals. It’s also understanding the impact that these tools are having on workers. Maintaining work-life balance has become a significant challenge. Many are struggling in an increasingly technical world that they feel has passed them by. And a changing workforce is driving trends that have created some rifts between generations, as so-called millennials enter the job market and become the colleagues of older, established workers. The results have been tumultuous, to say the least. One needs only to look at the much-parodied Time magazine cover profiling millennials to see that.

It’s not just generational differences, either. Even among workers in the same age group, differences in workstyle can create significant challenges. From the tech-savvy to the technophile, from the person who prefers to write everything down to the person who takes their iPad wherever they go, these differences abound in the workplace. Knowing how to understand them – and make them coexist together in a way that’s mutually beneficial? That’s a challenge.

Because the mistake that far too many companies make is that they don’t consider the human element of their work. They talk of enterprise mobility and technology driving innovation, but they forget that, in the midst of all the corporate jargon and paying lip service to the trends driving their industry, people are still at the heart of every business. And before you can take advantage of all the shiny new gizmos, you need a workforce that can communicate and work together. A workforce that is content in the challenge and reward their job provides. A workforce that approaches projects with efficiency and speed. A workforce that, well, works.

Because without the people you need, you can’t have information mobility.

It can change everything

Having the technology you need? Good. Understanding that actual human beings drive your business? Wonderful. Now, how do you make information work for you?

Because when you think about it, information is at the heart of everything we do. Every business, no matter how big or small, is driven by information and how we access, use and share it in this new information economy. It’s the basis of every project we attempt, every business venture, every innovation. Information is at the root of it all. But not just data. Information. Useful data. Wading through the hayfield to find that one needle that could change everything for your business.

Effectively managing your information – finding what’s important and being able to quickly act on that information – is what separates successful businesses from failing ones. And having information mobility is always being one step ahead.

The million-dollar question

So, how does my business get information mobility? The answer is as unique as your business.

Because one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. An enterprise-level company isn’t going to have the same needs as your typical small business. Every business is unique, but all share the same need – to make information work for them.

In general though, your business needs three things:

  1. Technology that lets you stay connected, and gives you the ability to access, use and share information in the format you need it in – whether that’s paper or digital, video or text.
  2. An engaged workforce whose needs, workstyles and idiosyncrasies are understood, to better create processes that give them the best chance to be successful.
  3. Information that is securely and safely managed throughout your entire company.