Monday, September 22, 2008

ECM and the iPhone – Enterprise Solutions on the Way?

There still seems to be generous discussion regarding whether the iPhone can become a trusted enterprise tool and not just the latest consumer fad. I have to admit there are lots of really fun things I like to do with my iPhone, but I also think we’re soon going to see plenty of business oriented solutions designed to take advantage of its unique capabilities. I had an opportunity to get a peak at what these solutions might look like while meeting with members of the press and analyst community last week in Boston, MA.

MyACU is a web portal intended to serve the various needs of faculty, students and other members of the Abilene Christian University community. Its kind of superstore of information about everything you need to know on campus, including general services and data unique to each visitor, like class lists and account balances. What makes MyACU exciting and unique (at least for now) is how easy it is to use with an iPhone.

The IT team at ACU has taken considerable advantage of Apple’s iPhone developer toolkit and open standards based applications to deliver many of MyACU’s services in an easy to navigate format on the iPhone. Google Apps provide some of the basics like email, while Xythos is used to manage and share more sensitive content. As a result, faculty researchers can now review and update study results from practically anywhere, knowing their data is safe. ACU is also providing this fall’s incoming class with their choice of iPhone or iTouch devices, so I expect the MyACU mobile service will catch on quickly.

What’s also remarkable about MyACU mobile is how quickly their IT team developed it. They didn’t even have to spend anything extra to customize their ECM solution (Xythos) in order to deliver it as a web service for iPhone users. That’s a strong argument for open standards-based technology and robust API’s.

It will be interesting to check back with ACU in a semester or two and discover how their user community is putting this technology to work. In the meantime, take a look at www.my.acu.edu if you want see the public-facing part of their service and please let me know if you’ve got plans to manage content using iPhones.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I'm surprised more organizations haven't done this. I don't personally own an iPhone yet, but I know many people who do and have raved about how Outlook works. I could picture several enterprise applications working on the iPhone through a content management app.