Kofax jumps on the mobile band wagon

Kofax jumps on the mobile band wagon

There’s talk that the Amazon Kindle Fire will evolve into a phone and next year could see a Facebook phone launched as the dominant B2C players seek to protect their routes to market by adding hardware to their social networks and consumer ecosystems. It seems that everyone wants to have a piece of the mobile pie. But when Kofax announces that they’ve made an investment in MobiFlex to add mobile to their document capture offerings – the reasons for doing that aren’t exactly obvious. What is the serious business reason for using an iPhone as a business document capture device and are Kofax just jumping in the mobile band wagon?

Purchasing Insight logoTheir press release last week explains the benefits: “Field based case management applications like new account openings, order entry and incident tracking are the type of mobile capture applications where these new capabilities can enable point of origination gateways into Kofax solutions. This would allow businesses and government agencies to accelerate business processes and be more responsive to their constituencies, thus increasing their competitive advantage or ability to provide a better level of service. ”

I’m not entirely convinced. I’ve toyed with this technology and the quality of an image taken in the field with an iPhone is just not good enough to give reliable results often enough. On its own, being able to capture documents in the field isn’t going to change the world. However, putting workflow on the phone is another matter and here’s why.

It would have been unthinkable 5 years ago but it now looks likely that the days of business processes being run mainly on Microsoft based PCs are numbered. Handheld devices, tablets and the cloud have freed up the enterprise application architects to think about ways of delivering business critical applications without binding them to the desktop. The way businesses operate will fundamentally change. Workflow will move to the handheld. Homeworking will be more and more practical as users of business systems will be able to access them via a range of devices and platforms of their own choice including their phone. Need to order approve a purchase order? There’ll be an app for that. Need to send an invoice? There’ll be an app for that too. Need to attend a meeting?  You could be imaginative and use your iPhone as – yes – a phone!

The big four B2C players – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, have recognized their future dependency on the mobile platform. The big B2B players need to recognize it too