Apple just released a toolkit for easily incorporating augmented reality into mobile apps. You’re not alone if you think this is an opportunity for mobile ERP. In fact, even before Apple announced its push into augmented reality, ERP makers already were busily working on ways to make ERP data more useful and accessible for mobile.
“A major innovation area for mobile ERP solution providers is the incorporation of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. “It is anticipated that AI and VR will find its way into more field service based apps as 2017 draws to a close.”
There was a time when mobile ERP meant clunky apps that have limited access to ERP systems while employees were outside the office. Those days are gone. Mobile ERP is evolving fast as it catches up to the fact that workers now carry their computers in their pants pockets and everything is in the cloud.
Augmented and virtual reality still is a year or more away for most businesses, but here’s how mobile ERP has evolved already.
While ERP systems still are complex under the hood, they no longer are necessarily complex for mobile end users.
“In the first stages of developing mobile ERP, a lot of vendors tried to emulate what they had on the desktop,”. “ERP quickly figured out that this was two different use cases, and started to simplify the screens, eliminate or automate steps in the process, and building to a simple task.”
This simplification also has led to faster on boarding, making ERP more accessible to employees especially Millennials, who expect software that just works.
“While traditional enterprise applications have concentrated on functionality with users requiring structured training on how to use the system, mobility solutions tend to offer an intuitive user interface similar to consumer applications that are familiar to the Millennial generation,”
The second evolution of mobile ERP has been the shift from accessing select data in the ERP system to entering data right at end points, whether this is on the factory floor or at a retail outlet.
“Mobility is allowing input of the ERP data closer to the transaction. Before advanced mobility functionality, sales reps wrote sales orders and then sent them to the accounting department to enter into the ERP system,”. “Now, with mobility, sales reps are able to look at inventory levels or production schedules and do CTP (capable of promising) and create the SO all while in the field next to the customer.”
Encryption no longer is something businesses must ensure is present in their ERP system; military-grade encryption and security features such as two-factor authentication now come standard with mobile ERP. This is opening up mobile ERP data like never before.
“The mobility revolution has evolved to the point where there are literally no restrictions on the data that can be shared seamlessly with the field,” “Medical records, financial data, proprietary business process data… Customers are deploying apps across the enterprise and across their network of customers that include these sensitive data as part of the standard business workflow in their mobile ERP apps.”
Another way that mobile ERP is evolving is the expansion of fully-customizable APIs that help businesses easily connect systems with new technology such as AI, more easily roll out apps that expose select parts of the system, and make ERP more widely accessible to field service workers.
“The processes themselves are what businesses really care about, not the ERP systems,”. “Our customers tell us [that] by adopting an API-led approach to connectivity and using APIs to extract data from their core ERP systems, they can allow multiple stakeholders to consume data from the same ERP. That reuse streamlines business processes while providing the agility and operational cost benefits that prompted them to adopt cloud solutions in the first place.”
Mobile ERP has evolved significantly in terms of being able to find data within an ERP system, too. Since navigation is constrained on most mobile devices, ERP systems have greatly improved their search functionality to accommodate.
While these are five ways that mobile ERP has evolved, don’t expect the evolution to stop anytime soon. AI and augmented reality definitely will shake up mobile ERP in the near future, not to mention the innovations nobody has thought up yet