Billions of dollars have been spent trying to enhance collaboration in the name of increased productivity with mixed success. There are, for example, thousands of implementations of document management systems. But most of them are challenging to use and there is not much in the way of integration between all the silos of documents that exist within an organization.

In fact, the frustration with all those systems is arguably one of the primary reasons there is so much reliance these days on shadow IT services such as Dropbox.

Naturally, there have been any number of enterprise content management (ECM) efforts made to unify all these disparate systems. But, in general, they are expensive to implement and have not done much in the way of actually reducing the complexity of the enterprise IT environment.

Looking to address that specific issue IBM this week launched IBM Navigator on Cloud, a cloud service that makes uses of various application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable solution providers to more easily unify multiple content repositories both in and out of the cloud.

Doug Hunt, general manager for Enterprise Content Management at IBM, said IBM Navigator software running on the IBM SoftLayer cloud is designed to make it easier to not only navigate IBM ECM software using an HTML5-compatible user interface, but also update files using mobile computing devices anywhere the end user can find a wireless network.

In addition to reducing the general pain associated with setting up an ECM system, Hunt noted that IBM Navigator on Cloud essentially presents users with a seamless experience regardless of where the document or file ultimately is stored.

Just about every organization out there is trying to cope with isolated silos of documents. In fact, most of the workflow in those organizations is about finding ways to share data across all those silos. All too often, that winds up being a manual process.

Giving organizations a way to leverage the cloud to streamline their workflow is a major opportunity for the channel. Beyond simply configuring the systems, the consulting opportunities surrounding workflow optimization should result in a much deeper relationship between solution providers and their end customers.

After all, it’s one thing to simply hand off a bunch of technology to a customer and wish them the best of luck. It’s quite another to transform their business in a way that makes everybody concerned a whole lot happier to actually being working there.