LONDON – TECH – Workers at all levels are becoming more mobile, a trend that has many benefits for the organization as well as the individual. While mobility offers many advantages, it also poses a few challenges. Enterprise systems, networks and security need to keep pace to accommodate the growth of mobility in a safe and effective manner.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have generally been accessible remotely through a laptop or PDA. There is now a huge demand for ERP to be available across the board on all mobile devices. This will only lead to greater productivity, better customer service and improved data capturing. These advantages will strengthen client relationships and give your company a distinct competitive advantage.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages mobile ERP will provide.
Many people choose to do work outside of normal business hours and on weekends. Other workers might be traveling between destinations or waiting at the airport. By allowing remote workers access to the ERP system, they will be able to utilize their time in a more productive fashion. It makes sense to allow and encourage this. Communicating with the internal enterprise systems can only lead to greater efficiencies. It also caters to the flexibility demanded by many workers.
When the individual gets back to their desk, there is no catch up necessary as they have been keeping themselves and the ERP system up to date along the way. This also means internal reports are accurate in real time, not lagging hours or even days behind. Cloud-based ERP systems go hand in hand with the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and their impact on workplace productivity. In 2011, Intel found that each of their 17,000 employees who used personal smartphones to work gained 57 minutes of productivity each day on average.
Better Customer Service
Having the necessary tools on hand to access real-time, relevant information whenever and wherever needed will enable employees to provide better service to the customer. Employing mobile ERP can speed up workflows and informational exchanges.
Improved Data Capture
By eliminating the repetitive process of capturing data in the field only to have to re-enter when back in the office will not only speed the process up but will reduce errors. This will save a great deal of time and minimize the overall opportunity for redundant errors. It also means that the system is constantly updated and reports are in real-time.
Stronger Client Relationships
The improved flow of information, faster response times and improved service will lead to improvements in business relationships.
Enhanced Reporting Systems
Having access to accurate, up-to-date information and reporting will enable business leaders to make better decisions based on the improved relevance and availability of data. It will also assist in spotting opportunities as well as identifying potential threats.
Your company can customize reports and display them as dashboards or infographics for better planning, scheduling and control.
As ERP systems become the main hub for information, communication and workflows, real-time accessibility will become crucial to your business success.
All of the above factors will combine to give your company a competitive advantage if mobile ERP is implemented and used effectively.
Risks and Limitations
The advantages of embracing mobility for ERP applications are clear and obvious. It does pose a few challenges that need to be considered before implementing mobile ERP.
Application management and device management will pose challenges to the IT department as workers use a range of devices to access the system. Updates and maintenance will now have to extend to the mobile users as well as internally.
One of the main concerns is security. While it is always important to control security, this task becomes more difficult with more devices on the network, more access points to the system and the risk of mobile devices falling into the wrong hands or being compromised by a virus or malware. The IT department will lose a certain amount of control and some responsibility will have to be shifted onto the individuals. With the correct protection and sufficient checks and balances, this risk is manageable, just as it is internally. Before allowing employees to use mobile phones and tablets to access your ERP, identify vulnerabilities in your security system and update accordingly to stay on top of cyber safety.
While the implementation and control of mobile ERP will pose a few challenges, the benefits far outweigh the additional effort required by the IT department. Mobility allows your company to conduct business on your terms from anywhere in the world.
Mobile ERP will streamline communications and workflows, improve productivity and empower mobile workers to perform at their best. It might just be the edge your company needs right now.