A Complete Guide to Mobile ERP Development
Written by Nataliia Kharchenko
Adopting ERP software is a great solution for companies looking to increase productivity, efficiency and gain a competitive advantage. Not only does adding mobility features to your ERP system build on this, mobile ERP applications also allow companies to benefit from improved quality of service, deeper business relationships and more accurate data capture – not to mention access to important data from any location at any time.
In an attempt to bring you the best content within leading enterprise technology categories, Solutions Review editors search the web high and low on a daily basis for insights that can have real impact and help you to move the needle. We often share best practices that inform IT and business leaders on what to do when it comes to selecting and deploying ERP software.
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We recently spoke with Nataliia Kharchenko, technical writer for Cleveroad, a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine, about mobile ERP development and what it can do for your company. Below, Kharchenko provides us with a complete guide to mobile ERP.
Why Use Mobile ERP?
The first and foremost benefit of mobile ERP is the possibility for employees to access and operate with your company’s data whenever and wherever they are. For instance, an employee from the sales department can check inventory levels or even close a sale from home or while on the road traveling. This convenience of accessing ERP data from your phone, laptop, tablet, etc allows for employee productivity to increase while giving them the tools and information they need to conduct business.
Another important feature of mobile ERP that Kharchenko touches on is fast and informed decision making. In case additional information for solving a problem is needed, employees can simply look for it in the ERP application. As a result, employees can come up with the right decision in a shorter amount of time with real-time information.
Aside from increasing employee efficiency, mobile ERP applications can improve the efficiency of separate business processes too. For instance, a manufacturing business may often run into risks of production delay because of delivery issues. Mobile ERP can dramatically shorten such risks by sending notifications about delivery troubles. In turn, employees will be quickly informed in order to search for the best solution to avoid losses of time and money.
This can also increase your customer relationship strategy. Employees can easily communicate with customers at any time and place, so if there happens to be an issue with shipping/delivery, employees can contact customers about it letting them know they’re working on it and to be aware delivery may be late. Keeping customers informed goes a long way, believe it or not.
It’s also possible for them to regulate problems without having to go to the main office – these factors accelerate business processes and ensures good relationships with customers, all while giving the company a competitive advantage.
Key factors of creating good workflow are detailed planning and discussing work moments with colleagues. It becomes easy with mobile ERP apps, which notifies other employees about new tasks waiting for approval. Without ERP applications, workers waste time scheduling meeting. With such software, however, the task is approved via smartphone without losses of time.
Building the right strategy
To create useful ERP applications, Kharchenko suggest taking the following steps:
- Think about functionality: It’s important to consider some of its technical peculiarities. You create an application for smartphone and tablets, so keep in mind that their processing power is lower than on PCs. To solve this problem, choose most relevant application features.
- Define target audience: Define which of company’s department needs ERP app most. Also, think through possible problems employees can face (connectivity, usability, data security etc.) and try to soften these issues.
- Don’t neglect user experience: This point relates to the previous one. User Experience (UX) focuses on the needs, values, abilities, and limitations of users. Take care of application performance. In case application for your employees works much more slowly in contrast with consumer app, UX will suffer greatly. Then you’ll just waste your money instead of increasing efficiency.
- Pay special attention to data security: First, you need to be sure that your application is protected enough from information leakage. To prevent that, tell development team to pay close attention to cybersecurity. The rest is a matter of developer’s expertise.
Second, if all employees have equal access to data, it’s hard to control it. Which data can have offline-access and which can not? How to make tiers, so that certain employees have access only to data they are supposed to manage? What to do in case of employee left his or her smartphone? Discuss this questions with your development team.
- Think of connectivity issues: Imagine that your employee is on a business trip, but have a poor internet connection. He cannot use the app, so has a lack of needed information. To make sure that it won’t happen, allow them to save data offline. But don’t forget about data security.
- Choose the right platform: Android and iOS development require different professionals, so developing for both platforms can cost you a pretty penny. Define, whether it’s important to develop app for both Android and iOS. If a company provides staff with iPhones, there’s no need for Android development and vice versa. But in case you allow employees to install ERP app on their own, development for only one platform can result in considerable part of staff cannot use it.
- Outsourcing vs. in-house development: Before developing ERP product, you should hire the mobile development team. It can be an in-house team or outsourced one. The in-house team is inconvenient and time-consuming. Outsourced team could be challenging to manage, but sometimes will cost you less.
Today, ERP vendors have started to develop mobile ERP applications so works can take advantage of the functionality, data, and benefits of their ERP application not only in the office, but also on the road or at home. As mobility will only become more and more prevalent in the workplace, organizations should choose a system that can scale with their business and have the flexibility to integrate with new solutions.
Looking for more? Download our ERP buyers guide for free and compare the top-24 products available on the market with full page vendor profiles. The guide includes four key capabilities to look for in an ERP solution, plus five questions to ask yourself and five questions to ask the software provider before purchasing. It’s the perfect resource for anyone looking for the right ERP for their business/organization.