I've come across numerous use cases where enterprises need to enable employee access to internal document repositories when they're "on the go" and therefore not necessarily logged into the company network.
This frequently comes up in sales situations, where a colleague may be onsite at a customer location presenting your company’s solution. The slide below shows some of the requirements for salespeople, but could be generalized for all types of mobile employees:
Why not just use your incumbent ECM platform or document management tool for this capability? Well, numerous architectural and licensing issues can make it complicated.
Nevertheless you have several options, each with their own pros and cons. We’ll provide detailed advice in a forthcoming Advisory Paper, but for now, here’s a quick summary:
Option 1: Publish needed documents to an extranet Portal or CRM platform
In this option, you publish the required files to another platform — like a portal — that provides external access. Conveniently, a Portal can expose documents from multiple, and different document management systems. The main advantage is that your internal repository remains isolated from external access, but the obvious downside: your content gets duplicated. .
Option 2: Use a cloud file-sharing service in conjunction with your ECM tool
This option is getting quite popular and a number of ECM vendors have started to provide these services. Some of them (such as Oracle) have built these capabilities, while others have acquired. In either case, there’s a connector that allows you to publish content from ECM to CFSS service (in some cases, even bi-directionally). In some ways, it is similar to the above approach but it works best for ECM and CFSS service from the same vendor.
Option 3: Use “Hybrid ECM”
In this option, you use multiple instances of ECM — in-house and publicly accessible — and synchronize content between those instances. The main advantage is that you get a full set of capabilities for your external users, which is not possible with above two options.
Option 4: RYO or Roll Your Own
“API-First” is the new in-thing, especially in mobile and cloud-oriented use cases. Many ECM vendors also provide APIs that you can use to build your own interface that is accessible to the outside world. The biggest advantage here is that your content remains in one place.
Here’s the summary: