Over a third of UK employees have inadequate access to corporate documents on their mobile devices

New data has revealed that despite 85 per cent of UK employees needing access to corporate documents and information on their mobile device, over a third (38 per cent) claim that their organisations are unable to provide the access they need. This is according to research released by M-Files Corporation, the intelligent information management company.

The findings from the M-Files 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report, a benchmark survey of 1,500 office workers across multiple global regions, reveal the document management challenges that affect the mobile workforce.

Findings specifically from the UK reveal over half (55 per cent) of UK employees found it challenging and time-consuming searching and accessing company document on their mobile device. Additionally, 55 per cent and 54 per cent of respondents reported that they would be unable to use their mobile device to share and collaborate on documents or edit files and documents respectively.  

Discussing these findings in more detail, Tim Waterton, VP of UK Business for M-Files says: “We’re seeing staff increasingly working remotely, either from home or on the go. This means that employees need to access corporate documents on their mobile devices but, as we have seen from our research, too often enterprises are not enabling their staff to do this.

“If enterprises fail to support their staff, in providing the necessary access to information needed from their mobile devices, employees working remotely will default to shadow IT to gain the access needed. This could have serious implications for the security of a company’s data and network.”

Functionality challenges when needing to access documents on mobile devices were also apparent. Of respondents who require the ability to share and collaborate on documents via mobile device, only 45 per cent say they are able to do so. Even fewer respondents are able to approve documents (40 per cent) or sign documents (23 per cent) remotely. The frustration that staff feel with the limited access they have to information when on the move is clear, with 75 per cent of staff reporting that their job would be easier if they could work with their documents remotely.

“Employees clearly want the capability to approve, sign or collaborate on documents while on the go, but many organisations are failing to provide even basic access to these documents,” said Waterton. “Organisations need to take a comprehensive view of their information management requirements and, rather than deploying piecemeal, quick-fix solutions and instead invest in future-proofed solutions that include innovations such as instant cloud access.”

Despite the reliance on mobile access, respondents name on average four different silos in which the documents and information they need are stored, including: email (68 per cent), shared drives/network folders (58 per cent), local disks (54 per cent), cloud-hosted files such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive (54 per cent), paper (48 per cent), file-sharing apps (44 per cent), external hard drives (41 per cent), Microsoft SharePoint (32 per cent), and DMS/ECM systems (25 per cent). Many of these platforms are unsuitable for mobile access, while others require specific applications.

“The significant increase in information stored across different silos and repositories makes it more challenging for staff to access the information they need from their mobile, as in-house silos replicate themselves in a flood of different apps on mobile devices,” said Waterton. “Businesses need to offer their employees uniform access across all information repositories, so that they can overcome the challenges of information silos, as well as providing the intelligent functions that staff need to do their jobs at their desk or remotely.”

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