The business world has changed with the introduction and acceptance of mobile technology. Companies who incorporate mobile capabilities into their processes are increasing efficiency and performance. Companies who do not take advantage of the benefits mobility can provide, may begin to lose business to competitors who have lowered costs and improved the customer experience.
Mobility is firmly entrenched in today’s business operations. In a 2013 survey of 752 companies, CDW found:
- 94% say mobile devices make them more efficient
- 89% of business employees use mobile devices for work
- 67% would be less competitive without workforce mobility
ERP Integration Reduces Chaos and Complexity
Since workforce mobility greatly increases the number of devices used by your systems, it could generate complexity and chaos. To mitigate these risks, your mobile strategy should include an integrated IT system such as Acumatica Cloud ERP. When data needs to be available anywhere and everywhere, a common technology platform and database will help enable information integrity and accessibility. Data transparency allows visibility and insight as you empower all levels to make better decisions and act responsively to changing business needs.
The requirement for workforce mobility integrated with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is supported by recent studies conducted among IT leaders.
- 88% of CIOs prefer an integrated IT solution rather than a “best-of-breed” approach
- 10% of IT budgets are already being spent on mobile ERP
- over 50% have a plan for mobile ERP
Key Considerations for Mobile Implementation
If you are looking to add mobility to your workforce, what other things should you consider? In your ERP selection, there are a number of mobile capabilities to evaluate including functionality, usability, compatibility and security.
- Functionality: Simple reporting and dashboards have been available on mobile devices for some time, but now companies are moving toward conducting business processes on these devices. Employees will need to have the same functionality on their mobile device as they would on a desktop computer.
- Usability: At the same time, the interface will need to be optimized for smaller screens. The interfaces must be simple and easy-to-use to eliminate employee frustration.
- Compatibility: The technology must work on a variety of devices. While there has been some push-back toward BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), the trend of BYOD has taken off and is becoming the norm in workplace mobility.
- Security: Increased data accessibility helps improve efficiency and responsiveness, but it creates more data security issues. Care must be taken to secure data both internally and externally.
While mobile devices are being used in all areas of a company’s business, there are some areas that are more impacted than others. Mobile ERP applications are most important in functions where employees work more effectively away from their desk. Key areas include: human resources, warehousing, manufacturing and sales.
Challenges of Mobile Technology
While there are significant benefits to implementing mobile technology across all areas of business, there are certainly challenges that you will need to address.
- App Management: The proliferation of apps available on smartphones and tablets could create a hodgepodge of unrelated systems.
- Data Security and Sharing: As more employees have direct access to your ERP data, you will need a strategy in place to ensure your sensitive corporate information is secure.
- Employee-owned Devices: Over 70% of mobile employees will conduct work on their own devices by 2017. Having a wide variety of devices all accessing your network will increase operational complexity.
- Cost: Creating an infrastructure to support mobile ERP will require an initial cost.
In spite of these challenges, mobile capabilities should be included in your technology plans. ASI offers a proven software solution with mobile functionality, Acumatica Cloud ERP. Built on the best cloud and mobile technology, Acumatica delivers a suite of fully integrated business management applications that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device.