Mobile users are increasingly looking for ease of access to ERP information to perform their jobs on any device at any time. In this age of “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD, smartphone devices and tablets are becoming more secure, accessible and affordable. To meet these needs, mobile solutions must handle different mobile devices and applications for different roles/jobs and also have the ability to be used by staff with limited computer or language skills in adverse conditions (i.e. variable lighting, distractions/interruptions or potential for device to be damaged).
There are many different mobile device options available today and choosing one to fit your mobile strategy depends on a number of factors. Cost, environment, signal access, security, and function should all be taken into consideration for this decision. Some commonly used types of mobiles devices include:
- Handheld. Handheld mobile devices have been around for many years; typically they have a gun or PDA form with a scanner. Usually these can be found in warehouses or shop floors because they stay within the organizations infrastructure and not meant to be used in the field.
- Purpose built device. Purpose built mobile devices are usually built around either specific company requirements or functional requirements and tend to be very expensive and used for both internal and external processes.
- Smartphones. Smartphones are easy to acquire and use, and consumers are looking to use these devices to access and process ERP data. This is one of the main drivers for companies to start developing mobile strategies outside of the typical mobile needs.
- Tablets. Tablets, like smartphones, are easy to acquire and use, but are more powerful and have larger touchscreens. Tablets today, can and do take over a lot of ERP functionality that was traditionally done on workstations back at the office. They are seen as the next evolutionary step in this process.
Instead of having to go to a traditional workstation to access certain items, mobile users are quickly able to engage in their day-to-day activities and work more efficiently. Aside from user pressure to be able to access ERP data, we also see influence from companies to gain operational efficiencies and the ability to provide a competitive differentiation as drivers. Mobile use allows better communication and collaboration for the whole organization, and by having these real-time transactions in executive hands, there is a shorter time for decisions, which helps gain the efficiencies that are required by the organization.
Users are demanding to be able to interact with their ERP data anywhere from any device. Balance that with the need for organizations to secure the data to make sure it is accurate by applying workflow to business processes. Mobile access will become more common and the primary way end users will access ERP applications. As this becomes more mainstream, companies are already reaping the benefits in increased productivity, greater efficiencies and lower cost.
Posted by Sanjay Ejantkar, Sr. Manager, Product Marketing