Anytime, Anywhere: Best Practices in Choosing a Mobile ERP Solution
Bring your own device (BYOD) strategies continue to gain ground in the office, with Gartner reporting 50 percent of employees will need to take their own devices into the workplace by 2017. Enterprise mobility provides many benefits for your organization, such as increased productivity and a better employee work-life balance, but you can’t fully realize mobility without getting your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution on board.
The shift towards cloud-based ERP solutions helps, with Forbes reporting the ERP software-as-a-service (SaaS) market expanding to $78 billion by 2016, while on-premise solutions are losing 30 percent of their market share. SaaS adoption helps improve the mobile ERP landscape, but the anytime, anywhere access model for these cloud solutions doesn’t always properly support mobile access. You need to take a few extra steps in choosing a mobile ERP solution.
Mobile ERP Functionality
Your employees don’t need the same ERP functions on their tablets and smartphones as they do on their workstations. Consider how mobile solutions come into play as part of your business processes, and choose mobile ERP functionality based on the real-life use cases your employees encounter. You avoid an ERP deployment failure by matching mobile functionality up with what the employee wants to do through a smartphone or tablet.
Mobile Device Selection
Your support mobile devices also play a part in mobile ERP selection. Not every vendor supports every possible mobile operating system or device. Check into software and hardware requirements, matching them against the devices used within your organization. If you don’t have an approved device policy for BYOD or CYOD (choose your own device), you may run into compatibility issues with a new mobile ERP solution.
Another mobile consideration to keep in mind with device selection is if you’re focusing on smartphones, tablets, or both. If you have a mixed device environment, you have many screen sizes available. In an environment with mobile ERP access primarily handled on tablets, you have more powerful hardware and a larger screen size to use.
Fully Supported Mobile Access
Cloud-based ERP solutions come in two basic categories: fully integrated with the cloud and remotely hosted by the vendor. Full cloud integration is developed for true anytime, anywhere access. These solutions make it easy to add mobile access, if it’s not already supported.
Remotely hosted ERP options require more effort to establish mobile compatibility. The systems may be too resource-heavy or have specific network access requirements, preventing mobile devices from easily using the solution.
Mobile as a Priority, Not an Afterthought
Some ERP vendors market themselves as mobile-friendly ERP solutions, but mobile access is tacked on without thought into what mobile users want. A mobile-first development mindset lets your mobile users access the features most relevant on smartphones and tablets, while keeping heavyweight analytical tools and other resource-intensive processes on laptops and workstations. These solutions focus on the mobile customer experience to create a seamless, productive environment.
Consider Custom Development
If an ERP solution is perfect in every other way except its mobile access, consider custom development. It requires a longer deployment cycle and resource investment than an out-of-the-box mobile ERP solution, but you gain the opportunity to create a mobile environment tailored to your employee needs.
Mobile ERP solutions keep your employees connected to the tools they need across multiple devices and locations. Not every mobile-friendly ERP solution is worth considering, so it’s important to know what to look for when you explore your options.