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Laserfiche Mobile Brings Enterprise Content Management to iDevices

Beyond email and Web browsing lurks a world where handheld devices are actually used for productivity. Yes, iPhones and the like certainly know how to have fun, but there comes a time when real work needs to get done. This is where apps like the new Laserfiche Mobile content management app remind us of the sheer productivity power of smartphones and tablets.

Laserfiche is in the business of enterprise content management (ECM), and has large- and small-business platforms (Avante and Rio, respectively).

So what does ECM have to do with wireless and mobility? These days, a lot. The relationship is impressive, but first a bit more on ECM. The content part of enterprise content management can be thought of as an organization's crown jewels--important and sensitive documents subject to policy, regulatory compliance and general good-handling practices. Given that many of Laserfiche's customers are government agencies and Fortune 1000 companies, you can imagine the importance of the collective file stores we're talking about.

With the recent release of Laserfiche Mobile, users now have a secure, feature-rich portal into organizational repositories where documents, metadata and even AV files can be accessed and manipulated based on permissions. Role-based privileges determine whether I can see or edit a document or just parts of it, and the control goes down to individual characters. Dealing with a document full of redacted text? Those with permissions will see the full body of the document, while everyone else sees that text has been blocked from view. Rather than docs flying around as attachments, Laserfiche also changes the culture to one of sharing links to docs in the repository. That may sound minor, but the control over corporate files when Laserfiche is used is amazing to see.

Back to the productivity thing: There are a slew of testimonials in the media about the transformative nature of mobile network devices, and Laserfiche Mobile throws its own into the mix. There's the Texas judge who runs his entire court from an iPad and Laserfiche, meeting all legal and common-sense requirements of paperless document handling. There's also the portfolio engineering firm that has completely digitized the account opening process, with Laserfiche Mobile hooks between iDevices and the company's CRM, SharePoint and portfolio management systems. And the list goes on.

As I spoke with Laserfiche, I was impressed to learn how many healthcare and financial companies are going down this road, which also raises audit questions. Regardless of whether Laserfiche is leveraged from the desktop or from the new Mobile platform, a trail of who did what (or tried to) to each document is meticulously kept, as iDevices become just another full-blown client on the system. But enterprise content management just seems so much cooler when run from the palm of your hand.

Laserfiche Mobile is a free download from Apple's App Store. (An Android app may be coming, but most Android platforms work well with Laserfiche from a Web browser.) Even non-Laserfiche customers can kick the tires with a fairly robust demo mode built into the app, and it's worth looking at to see what real business-class productivity is all about from a mobile device.

Note: Other than being fond of the word Laserfiche, I have no business relationship with the company.