A quick reality check: our content & collaboration systems have been with us since we first put PCs on desktops. Today, these systems are pervasive in our workflow, our work lives, and our work cultures. Need proof? Here are some data from our recent survey of 4,985 US information workers:

  • 91% of information workers use email. Email's still the most ubiquitous and important collaboration tool, but hardly the only one that people use.
  • 58% of information workers uses their employee intranet portal. This vital resource is in the flow of daily work, particularly among Sales people and in the enterprise.
  • 40% of information workers spend an hour or more per day creating documents. We spend huge amounts of time capturing knowledge and process in documents.

Now here's another fact: 35% of US information workers use a smartphone for work. And here come the iPads. Your employees expect to be able to get to your content & collaboration systems from their mobile devices.

So here's the question: How can you effectively and efficiently mobilize your existing content & collaboration applications? The answers are many and varied, among them: ways to extend your existing applications with mobile support, techniques to analyze and prioritize your mobile application needs and outcomes, and tolerating consumerization of IT where the payoff is clear.

Let's put a shovel into the ground to dig into the first one: How can you extend your existing applications with mobile support? Box and Newsgator do this for Sharepoint. IBM Notes Traveler does this for Notes and Connections. HTML5 enhances the mobile browser experiences. Citrix Receiver and VMWare View virtualization technology lets desktop applications show up on mobile devices.

That's just the first shovelful. There's a lot more to say and to learn about how to mobilize your content & collaboration applications so they serve the new reality of a workforce empowered by smartphones and tablets.

My colleagues and I together with a coterie of IT professional and industry experts will be tackling these questions and the broader mobile landscape at Forrester's Content & Collaboration Forum on September 22-23 in Boston. Join us to spend two days plotting the future of your mobile workforce and the roadmap to get there.