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By admin • November 15, 2016

ERP in the Age of Mobility

mobileerpIn today's market place, business moves faster. People and businesses want to be closer to their data and their customers than ever before, and they are leaning on their mobile devices to connect with such. However, it is absolutely business critical that businesses consider a mobile strategy that is right for their business. The following 7 guidelines, adapted from industry-expert opinions, can ensure that you are well on your way to doing so.

1. Take time to develop a purpose-based mobile ERP strategy

There shouldn’t be many limitations to the ways businesses can extend the value of their ERP systems through mobility; however, in order to achieve optimal value, it’s necessary to start with a strategy. A lot of organizations are jumping on the bandwagon of mobility and implementing solutions without a clear purpose or strategy in mind. Unless you have got cash and time to burn, try to avoid this ‘shoot until we hit something’ approach.

2. Craft a strategy based on your users and their needs

A strategic approach includes researching the mobile needs and benefits of three key enterprise audiences: employees, vendors, and customers. It also includes exploring some fundamental topics like security, scalability, and innovation. Such considerations may show that delivery and warehouse systems, CRM, and business intelligence are all areas that are ripe for mobile solutions. But let the strategy drive the conclusions.

3. Mirror your company's operational reality

One of the key goals of ERP is to process transactions and issue recommendations that drive meaningful operational value. To successfully achieve this goal, an ERP system has to mirror or prototype the company’s operating reality. Mobile technologies empower timely, accurate data capture and analysis by extending the enterprise to places that are not easily supported by workstations, including: warehouses, shop floor, field service, and off-site sales. As organizations become increasingly dispersed, remote, and virtual, expect them to increasingly rely on mobile solutions to ensure ERP data accurate reflects operating realities.

4. Enable mobile devices to function as workstations

It is important to ensure a point of reference. So you have an ERP system, it has workstations and users who simply process, insert, update, or view queries. The key to effective mobility when implementing ERP software is to ensure the user understands the mobile device is just another tool the user must understand and use as a workstation.

It is not the mobility as the tool, but the mobile device. Once the device is properly configured, it can be used just as easily, and in some cases, more conveniently, as a desktop computer. This need not necessarily be while on the road. It can be on the shop floor as well, where the updates, corrections, and demands can be entered by the supervisor who is making his rounds on the shop floor.

5. Educate end-users on the importance of securing company data

Mobile devices can really speed up processes on the shop floor as well as on the road. Other than making sure all your ducks are in a row with the device and ERP, make sure your staff is aware that the security of the device is most important to ensure that the security and integrity of the company’s database remain intact.

6. Serve the needs of those outside the organization - the customers

Mobility in the enterprise software arena is not necessarily new; it’s the prevalence of high-power mobile devices with a low barrier of deploying applications that is new. This puts ‘(almost) always-connected’ computing devices into the hands of people inside and outside of the organization. One specific pattern that has a lot of legs is customer self-service. For example, auto-insurance claim initiation by policyholders has the potential to speed up the claims-adjudication process, reducing costs, improving process speed, and (hopefully) improving the total customer experience.

7. Take advantage of the timeliness and accuracy of mobility

Mobile technologies provide opportunities to ensure that MRP makes recommendations based on both timely and accurate data. From a timeliness perspective, handheld bar-code scanners give companies opportunities to record inventory movements as soon as they happen. From an accuracy perspective, mobile technologies provide opportunities to minimize data recording errors. Many businesses first record material and labor movements on paper, then transfer those records to a system later in the day (perhaps at the end of a shift). This type of double-entry system is not only inefficient and delayed, it creates risks of data entry errors.

The moral of the story?

Modern companies need ERP solutions that offer all the advantages of ERP performance while maintaining simplicity, flexibility, and scalability in a fully integrated, cost-effective, end-to-end solution. And, like so many modern, generation X employees, the solution has to be modern and support mobility features to enable employees to work flawlessly anywhere, anytime. Heeding the advice in this report can help your business realize the myriad competitive advantages that adopting a mobile-savvy ERP solution affords.

To see how SAP's world-class ERP solutions are empowering businesses globally with mobility, register for a demo offered by SAP's #1 Cloud Partner, Navigator Business Solutions.