ERP involves collating and integrating information from a plethora of sources, to infuse transparency, and to make decision making easy and seamless. While traditional ERP uses conventional desktops and laptops, mobile ERP entails integrating the same capabilities using mobile devices.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are soaring in popularity, and the tremendous benefits that such devices offer, prompt enterprises to replicate all possible functions to such devices.
However, a direct replication is difficult. Unlike standardised desktops and laptops, the mobile landscape is fragmented, and the BYOD environment further complicates things.
Such diversity poses a great challenge to implement mobile ERP. Mobile devices are geared to download small apps that serve a specific purpose, and not the complex Virtual Private Network (VPNs) associated with ERP.
ERP, for instance, involves, the accounts team, making their journal entries into the accounting module of the ERP software. Using the mobile for such a function is too complex. Moreover, the functionality delivered on the mobile screen look radically different from the ones delivered on conventional desktops and laptops.
How the Cloud Helps
The solution to such impediments is a cloud based ERP platform. Like all cloud solutions, a cloud based ERP has its software and databases stored in the remote server, with the users connecting to such servers using a web or app interface.
This would facilitate users to link their web app or desktop app directly to the integrated cloud database, overcoming the dichotomy that comes with using mobile devices for ERP.
ERP vendors can actually leverage the cloud to make their offerings more flexible and robust than before. ERP vendors would do well to use the latest enterprise-to-mobile tools that connect directly to existing enterprise applications and data, and thereby eliminate creating discrete mobile apps.
This will not just enable easy and seamless bi-directional connectivity to the ERP system, but also empower the rank and file staff, even those without much technical knowledge, to configure, and connect, to the system, with ease.
The Need for Customisation
The successful implementation of mobile-optimised cloud ERP requires customising the systems rather than using the pre-build system delivered by the vendor.
The enterprise would especially do well to custom-build the mobile interface and integrate the same to the overall cloud-based ERP system, to ensure that the mobile component gels in seamlessly with the overall ERP system.
Such customisation is required to ensure that the small-screen of the mobile device gets a more simplistic interface to the ERP, compared to the desktop or laptop interface, without sacrificing or doing away with any of the core functionality or features of the system.
However, at the same time, the optimal custom build app would deliver only the tasks and workflow that are relevant for that employee. The advantages, however, extend far more than providing a clean interface for the mobile device.
For instance, a mobile ERP app for the scheduling department would entail a menu driven tablet based app that goes directly to the relevant section of the cloud, without having to navigate through a labyrinth of other functions, such as, say operations. Such a lean and agile system that promotes speed and simplicity contributes to improved efficiency and results in more powerful decision making.