Advantages and Limitations of Mobile ERP

By Vijay Bhat, CIO , Metenere Group

Today most of the business leaders especially CIO’s prefer to have an integrated ERP system to cater all organizational needs to have seamless and more stable business processes. CIOs prefer to have all business processes mapped on a best approach that uses multiple tailored solutions. Mobile Strategies are beginning to take form all the small to medium business ERP. Most of the people use mobile devices like laptops, smart phones, tablets which makes it possible to work anywhere anytime which helps workers to use their ERP applications on their mobile devices and to take advantage of business capabilities.

Companies get benefited from greater productivity, competitive advantages, deeper business relationships and data capturing. Most of the companies have also started developing mobile ERP applications for reporting and dashboards. In coming years companies will demand for more mobile solutions as end users seek to carry out ERP processes on the move via their smartphones or tablets.

Ubiquitous nature of the mobile devices / Smart phones is the biggest benefit of the mobile ERP as more than 99 percent of the workers or employees use mobile devices which reduces the IT investment cost. The major advantages of the mobile ERP are:

Real-time accessibility: Most of the companies are using now ERP as the central information hub for the business. The employees can enter any piece of data from anywhere which is available for any one this also reduces errors by entering the information immediately.

Flexibility and efficiency: Real-time access from anywhere naturally increases efficiency. Mobile ERP creates a consistent, always-on communications network. While on the warehouse floors mobile ERP application can increase the productivity further by accessing the necessary data. Mobile ERP allows staff to be more flexible with their time, increasing efficiency and reducing wasted time.

Remote workforce: Most of the companies have remote workers working either operating vehicles or manage sites in distant areas, these workers benefit from having mobile access to the central ERP platform. With the Mobile ERP, upper management can stay connected to the business.

Customer management: For companies that deal with customers in retail environments, mobile ERP is becoming a significant differentiator at the point of sale. Staffs are able to scan inventory items and make a transaction without sending the customer to a long line at the register, companies outside the retail sector can experience this benefit. Greater flexibility brings products to customers more quickly, which increases satisfaction.

Streamlining BI and processes: The ability for manufacturers to use consolidated data to generate powerful insight is key to overall business performance, and considering this process is leveraged on real-time data, having mobile capabilities is key. From customizable dashboards to graphical charts, mobile technology arms decision makers with information to make improved decisions about planning, forecasting, production scheduling, supply chain management and more.

Communication gains: Not only does a holistic view of manufacturing data improve internal relations, but it can also improve external communications. Supply chain visibility shrinks the time people spend on paperwork and messages, which become automatically available to keep suppliers well informed.

Limitations

There are various aspects that need to be considered while implementing the mobile ERP system. Business risk is one of them. While there are certain advantages mobile ERP have some disadvantages also.

• Application management is the major concern if IT functions approach the subject with the traditional paradigm.
• Everyone has a different mobile device, which has a higher impact on standardizing the application platform to make things easier for IT functions; this becomes a biggest challenge for management. 
• Managing the maintenance and updates of the applications is another management challenge.
• Security is the major risk, mobile devices can be easily stolen or lost and confidential information subsequently put at risk.
• Cell phones are also susceptible to malware and viruses just as any other computing platform is.
• The Mobile Enterprise depends entirely on the Internet as its infrastructure. The system breaks down when a user cannot connect to the Internet.
• If corporate data is accessible via a personal mobile device, organizations suddenly lose a great deal of control over who can access that data.
• Because the IT department has less control over the devices used by staff, much of the responsibility for security will be with the individual. For example, they will have to ensure their devices are patched, perhaps encrypted, and have up-to-date antivirus software running.

Mobile ERP brings decision makers closer to internal processes through automated insight, improving productivity whilst developing crucial business information. The ability to access information on the move is likely to have ramifications over how the workforce is run, particularly as orders start to pick up and overseas competition intensifies the requirement to streamline operations and stay productive.

There is a distinct possibility that information overload – the point at which there is so much data available in real time that random variation and true problems are indistinguishable – could do more harm than help. One thing is certain however: businesses will figure this out.

 

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