Archive for the ‘Content Management’ Category
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
A recent survey by the hosting company Rackspace reinforces the idea that saving time and money are critical components in the minds of those making the switch to cloud computing. Respondents named freeing up of dollars and time for reinvestment into other product and service innovation of the highest priority. This trend of moving into the cloud, driven by cost savings, is highlighted yet again with recent news of the U.S. Navy moving into cloud computing,(following in the footsteps of the CIA). The obvious savings of time and money can be an excellent goal for any company, but the challenge lies in not discounting all the other benefits a well-designed cloud content management system can provide.
Let’s look toward hospitals for an example: Facing increased needs for electronic storage of patient files, many hospitals are considering cloud content management systems as an efficient and economical way to deal with patient records without having to build an internal I.T. infrastructure. This establishes cost and time savings. What are some of the other ways in which moving to the cloud could have a positive effect on business processes?
More efficient collaboration: With easy access to the files of shared patients, specialists and other healthcare providers can work together to provide a better quality of integrated care, while reducing the chances of duplicating files.
Controlled access and organization: By giving staff access to only the records they need, you eliminate potential security loopholes. In addition, when needed information is organized and easily accessible, employees can do their jobs without wasting time wading through records.
Eliminating opportunities for error: A content management system can do much more than just store files, it can be used to automatically fill in repetitive fields across documents (such as name, address, etc) reducing the opportunities for needless errors, streamlining document handling, and eliminating a frustrating and time consuming task from employee workloads.
The cost savings involved in moving your content management to the cloud can be the first reason that you contemplate a change, but don’t let the dollars of this strategy distract you from the good sense of taking advantage of all the benefits the cloud can offer you.
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Incredible advances in medicine over the last 50 years have provided many of us with the chance to live longer and healthier lives than the generations before us. Progress often creates its own set of challenges though, and coping with additional information and procedures are an unavoidable trade-off. Every new drug treatment brings with it the need to monitor for conflicts with existing medications. Each advancement and use of new medical imaging technology ushers in one more set of scans to examine and include in patient files.
As healthcare becomes more holistic, professionals are required to work across their specialties to develop comprehensive treatments for patients. Effective and efficient care requires a system that permits not just storage of information but also content collaboration on patient files. Faced with limited IT budgets and increasing needs, more hospitals and health care organizations are turning to the cloud to provide them with the storage and content management options they desperately need to keep up with the rising tide of information being generated.
According to a report by Markets and Markets, the market for cloud computing in the healthcare field is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 20% between 2012 and 2017. Moving to the cloud is a logical choice for those in the industry because cloud storage for files and cloud content management for people working with patient files is far less expensive and far more efficient to implement than installing a full new server system for each organization.
Concerns about secure document storage and patient privacy prevent many organizations from making the transition into using cloud content servers, despite the many obvious benefits such a transition would hold for them. Secure cloud storage is quite possible, it’s just a question of design. The real obstacle is a lack of confidence. Building that confidence in using the cloud won’t happen overnight, but as we mentioned in last week’s article, The Cloud Is All Around Us, we’re already using cloud storage and cloud content management in many areas of our personal lives successfully. As we travel the road of medical advancement, the cloud on the horizon is increasingly coming into focus.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Many businesses and managers are reluctant when it comes to replacing familiar systems that already exist in the office. When it comes to transitioning content management systems to the cloud, a major concern for most companies is confidence. Business owners and executives want assurance that the new structure can handle their unique needs with functionality and security. This confidence can be bolstered in several ways (check out our previous article-Simplicity Rules in Document Management), but the most telling factor in boosting our faith in the usability of such systems is to look at all the ways these platforms have already crept into our daily lives.
In many ways, the same technology that we are avoiding in our professional lives has become the technology that we seek out in our personal ones. Take Apple’s iCloud for example. This program allows individuals to store content such as photos and music remotely, and then access it from any of their Apple devices such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Microsoft accomplishes something similar with their SkyDrive, a free service for storing, sharing, and editing files online. Offering comparable services under the Google banner, is Google Drive. If we want to look even further, we can see cloud storage offered in the form of Box, Dropbox and other online cloud storage providers. In the basic sense, many of us have been using online webmail as cloud storage for years, emailing ourselves files that we can later access from other locations as needed.
It may come as a striking realization but when you look past the brand names and the marketing, many of us are already using cloud computing for storage and content management in our own personal lives. The cloud is all around us- most of us use it everyday. As an already trusted resource, isn’t it time we start using cloud content management in a practical business sense?
Next week, we’ll discuss exactly just that – trust, cloud based applications and sensitive or confidential information.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
IT departments are like the unsung heroes of the business world, often keeping our computers running smoothly without many of us ever knowing their inner workings and goings-on. They are ignored when everything is working well, and called upon (sometimes in a panic) to fix any issues that arise when something goes wrong. A large amount of the IT department’s time and effort needs to be devoted to maintaining and updating your company’s content servers, ensuring that the life blood of information continues to flow between all the different arms of the company.
This leads to one of the most seductive questions about moving your information onto cloud content servers: what could you do if your IT department gained a much needed resource- more time? The topic of discussion when it comes to cloud servers is often hardware. Lets not forget the human element. What potential can you unlock in your IT staff if they suddenly had more time?
While cloud content servers are not maintenance free, you are essentially paying another company to handle all hardware related issues and challenges on your behalf. Along with this extra time frequently comes extra money. Depending on how your servers have been functioning in the past, the time and budget savings can be substantial.
Now, imagine you are no longer budgeting to maintain and upgrade hardware resources. How could your IT department actively contribute to the rest of your business goals if they were freed from a purely maintenance role? The economic challenges of the last few years led many small and medium business to operate with “lean” staffing. The sudden addition of more staff time and the chance to re-allocate some of that budget can have an incredibly positive impact on many different aspects of your business.
It’s time to dig up those old wish lists and think back to everything you’ve always wanted to do if you had more IT staff time and resources. Moving your content servers into the cloud might be the key to unlocking the potential of your IT department!
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
The cloud offers amazing potential for most businesses, but cheap and easily accessible cloud storage can be a dangerous option if not kept in check.
When you have the space to store anything, it’s very tempting for many businesses to save everything, and that’s when problems can start.
In ages prior to computer storage, some companies would keep giant records rooms full of files. Depending on the size of the company, an entire department could be devoted to keeping the filing process running smoothly. To keep records systems current and accessible, a lot of organisation is needed, whether your files are in paper form or digital. Cloud storage is like a filing cabinet or records room. The structure might be in place but the contents and their arrangement can determine how efficient your business will run.
Computerized filing can lead us to become digital hoarders. As tempting as saving everything and their duplicates may be, it can add incredible amounts of complication if your company is ever faced with a lost file, a legal or regulatory audit, or must comply with a new or revised law regarding information security and storage. While business growth and changing operational environments may require larger amounts of information to be collected and stored, the solution isn’t just MORE storage, but rather BETTER storage – specifically, cloud content management.
A well designed cloud content management system keeps files properly organized and accessible so that users can access files quickly when and where they need them. Systems can also be designed to streamline or completely automate common file elements (such as inputting a customer name on multiple forms), reducing the chance of errors and confusion in the future.
So, while the new year and the wonderful world of cloud computing hold a lot of promise, if you move to cloud storage, be sure to consider a content management system to match. You will be thanking yourself in the future.
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Hydro electric power, waterworks, natural gas…they are either spaces on a Monopoly board, or bills we have pay to various utility companies each month. Either way, they are essential services that although at their inception were not commonly available, we now access with ease and couldn’t imagine living without.
Merriam-Webster defines a utility as:
a service (as light, power, or water) provided by a public utility.
Consider a new utility on the rise, which in a couple of years, might become the next vital role in the functioning of your business: infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS).
IAAS is the name given to organizations that offer cloud services. They pay for and run the infrastructure on their end, supplying servers and hardware. Users of the cloud simply pay for the time and resources they require, rather than purchasing expensive and often bulky equipment outright. This typically leads to lower purchase and maintenance costs for businesses, freeing up funds, allowing for growth and flexibility in the face of changing circumstances.
In the early days of electricity, if you wanted to run an electrical appliance or process, you would need to generate the power yourself, usually costing both time and money. With the creation of reliable electrical utilities, amazing opportunities opened up for business. Now, even though many parts of the world still struggle with reliable electricity, it would be hard to imagine any part of North America disconnected from the grid for more than a few hours at the worst of times, say due to a storm or a downed power line. If we want our lights to turn on, we simply flick a switch, not giving it a second thought.
It is absolutely amazing to imagine what sort of impact IAAS and cloud computing in general will have as it moves further into the field of being a utility. Perhaps in the future, having your own hardware on site will be like having a generator on hand for emergencies – an exception, rather than the common way of doing business.
Move over Water Works, there is another space on the Monopoly board.
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
The man in the red suit is settling down after another successful year. With billions of names on his naughty and nice list, a harrowing production schedule of untold numbers of elves and a strict delivery schedule for more inventory than you can shake a candy cane at, Santa has become one of the most demanding content management users you will ever meet.
It’s obvious that Santa and his team must have an incredible system in place, but how do we know he is a cloud content management system user? Well, let’s look at the evidence:
- Browsing Large Archives On The Go: With all the names and deliveries he needs to keep straight, Santa certainly can’t use a paper list anymore. His cloud content management system lets him keep everything organized requiring only a mobile enabled tablet (or WiFi on his sled)!
- Mobile Document Management: Santa has long distances to travel on Christmas Eve, and he needs to make sure he is updated on all last minute changes such as addresses of people who have moved, revisions to the naughty and nice lists, and all of the other complications that can occur when you attempt a project as big as delivering presents all around the world.
- Secure Content Management: The contents of Santa’s naughty and nice lists are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world. Those on the naughty list have been trying for years to alter Santa’s files and move their names onto the nice list. Santa can’t afford to lose confidence in the accuracy and integrity of his records.
- Process Management: As amazing as he is, Santa can’t be everywhere at once. So, in order to manage all of the different processes at the North Pole that are required as part of getting ready for Christmas, the next best thing to being everywhere is having all the information come to you. A well-designed cloud content management system can help you handle complex online business processes through a web portal.
With evidence like this, it’s pretty clear that the cloud is an important part of how Santa helps keep the magic of Christmas happening while the world keeps growing every day. If a content management system in the cloud can help run a venture as complicated and important as delivering millions of toys to good little girls and boys-on time, what can it do for you?
We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Content production is going mobile at an incredible pace, are you able to keep up with your management of it?
With increases in processing power, many activities that used to be associated with fixed locations are now mobile. Technology has made it possible to create pocket sized machines that can now replace larger ones. One great example of this is Square. Square is a payment processing system that lets people scan and process credit card payments on Android and iOS mobile phones. The portable Square reader plugs into your smartphone, and is available for free by signing up on the company website, or for a small fee from the Apple Store. While mobile payment systems have existed before, they required more expensive and cumbersome equipment. The Square reader works with an ordinary smartphone and an app, making the technology more accessible.
Processes are not the only thing going mobile. Many of the machines we previously knew as bulky permanent fixtures are becoming portable. The FDA has recently approved an iPhone case that functions as an EKG (electrocardiogram) machine. Simply by placing the phone case against your chest, you can produce a scan of your heart that is similar to one produced by the much larger and less portable equipment found in hospitals.
These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg and are the first part of a more complex challenge. In the past, if you had an EKG machine or cash register, content management was a relatively simple proposition. One source of information was easy to track. Now, however, every employee (and perhaps even every client) can be generating content, which can lead to older content management systems being overwhelmed.
Simply put, modern and mobile content production systems require equally modern mobile content management systems. The way the current technology trends are going, in the near future, every employee and client could be producing content that you need to monitor. Will your content system be able to keep up?
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
A business continuity plan is your company’s backup plan (and a best practice) for what to do in case of power outage, storm, or any other set of circumstances that keeps people from undertaking “business as usual”.
Current events and coverage of crisis’s as reported in the news often prompt businesses to review and update these plans in order to remain prepared for any situation. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, some businesses are re-evaluating their plans. Others are only now just realizing the need for a continuity plan.
Why You Need Cloud Storage In Your Continuity Plan
One of the lessons that all businesses can take away from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is that mobile computing is crisis resilient.
When areas of New York went without power recently as a result of Sandy, people migrated to places that had electricity, bringing their mobile technology with them. There were many pictures in the following days of groups of people charging phones and tablets in public locations. Duracell even brought in their new Rapid Responder, a truck which delivers batteries and acts as a charging station for mobile devices. As a result of these actions, many people were able to find power for their mobile devices even if their homes or businesses had none. Some businesses had power, but due to storm effects on public transit (such as flooded subways) many employees were unable to commute to work. In both of these instances, a cloud storage system might have enabled employees to continue working from home (or from wherever they found power).
Cloud storage saves your information remotely, freeing all users from geographic restrictions. A connection to your server to read and manage your content is no longer necessary; all you need is an internet connection. Users can work from a wide range of locations, in any number of diverse circumstances, whether the crisis is a result of natural disaster, or anything else keeping you from “business as usual”.
In terms of business continuity, cloud storage of information is an incredibly valuable tool, helping to keep your business flexible and able to respond to unexpected surprises.
Does your company have a business continuity plan?
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
A fuse was lit with the invention of smartphones and tablets. Now this spark of change is travelling along rapidly, ready to detonate in a burst of exciting possibilities, challenging our modern working world and how we view mobile document management.
According to a recent study by Flurry, the pace of adoption for smartphones is 10 times the rate at which people adopted PC’s in the early days of personal computer technology.
Your staff are going portable at an incredible pace, and whether or not you are prepared for it, chances are your content is already being viewed and used on mobile technology.
If you don’t have a mobile document management system in place, and your team members are working on mobile systems, there are a number of challenges you might face:
1. Multiple Versions:Mobile users often email themselves copies of a file so that they can work on it from a phone or a tablet. This means that you immediately have two versions of the same file. If someone makes changes on the original file while another person is working on a copy while mobile, this creates a version conflict.
2. Out of Date Information: For people working off of a mobile device that isn’t connected to a main network, copied files can potentially become out-of-date the moment they are copied to another device such as a smartphone or tablet.
3. Security Issues: If users are circumventing existing security procedures to work on content with mobile devices, you’re leaving yourself open to problems. A well-planned mobile document management system can help you limit security risks while keeping information flowing.
Mobile technology offers incredible opportunities for increased efficiency and flexibility in your business, so welcome it into your company with a mobile content management system. The spark of technological change has already ignited, so sit back and enjoy the fireworks.