We wrote just the other week about the potential of using devices such as Apple's iPad for accessing enterprise documents. What seemed like good idea for the future turns out to be almost in the here and now. A small start up called SNAPPS has designed and launched a free app for the iPhone that provides secure access to IBM Quikr and FileNet P8 documents; unsurprisingly an iPad version is in the works.
We have little doubt that this will be the first of many, and that within a year or so most document management vendors will either have launched or will put in development something similar. What is particularly interesting here is that the application was made by a third-party vendor, not by IBM itself. We have long argued that the document management sector will go through many changes in the future and is far from mature. Innovation and opportunity is still out there for the enterprising to challenge established ways of working.
For buyers of document management software, there is no harm in asking your shortlisted vendors how they currently handle secure access to documents in mobile environments. But it should not be a reason to exclude a vendor from a shortlist if they have little in the way to answer these questions. These are after all still early days for mobile document management, and future solutions may not come from the major vendors themselves -- but rather from enterprising little start ups that are yet to emerge.