50 Questions & Answers about Mobile ERP

2013-08-29 by Marina Astapchik

Mobile ERP systems today are taking on and win over more and more followers. The success of this phenomenon is attributable to its numerous benefits such as usability and accessibility, as well as its ability to enhance productivity and provide high-quality service. Nowadays mobile ERP solution is an indispensable tool for company's prosperity and competitiveness and an integral part of its success. And below we provide questions and their answers that will help you to broaden your knowledge on mobile ERP and shed light on the phenomenon.

Q: What is ERP?
A: ERP (enterprise resource planning system) is business software that enables a company to use a complex of integrated applications in order to facilitate the managing of a business. ERP system involves manifold processes within an organization like sales, development, marketing, manufacturing, etc.

Q: What special benefits can mobile ERP system bring to a company?
A: Mobile ERP applications guarantee advanced service, heightened competitiveness, business relationships raised to a new height, easy access to the current data and the provision of exhaustive information. Moreover, it helps a company to adapt to the fast-paced market environment and customers' unstable demands.

Q: How does mobile ERP affect employees?
A: Mobile ERP enables workers always stay flexible and within reach. They can benefit from manifold possibilities ERP application offers both in the workplace and out of the office. Company employees have unimpeded access to necessary information, such as order history, purchasing details, and other specifications.

Q: How can mobile ERP add to information processing?
A: Mobile ERP greatly simplifies information processing as it allows to enter and alter data via a mobile device from any place an employee is currently situated. In addition, mobile ERP advances the process of scheduling and controlling working days, days off and holidays. Plus, it enables workers to update and manage their timesheets.

Q: How are ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) differ?
A: ERP is company-oriented as this software controls all departments of a company. When a small-scale business grows into a large-scale one it gets way harder to keep all the running processes under control. This solution manages heaps of information about customers, finance, shipping, manufacturing, payments, human resource, etc.
As opposed to ERP, CRM is customer-oriented. CRM is mainly centered on marketing and sales departments and takes care of its representation in the market. Thus, CRM deals with information about existing and potential customers and establishes relationships with them. So CRM is focused on tracing customer history, order details and data, and comprehending customers' demands.

Q: How does supply chain benefit from mobile ERP solution?
A: Production employees can be immediately warned about running issues or possible troubles. This can be incomplete execution of order, insufficient amount of the required products in stock or failed equipment. Mobile ERP solution keeps company's staff informed and they are always ready to take prompt actions. Having ERP access on their devices, production and operation workers can introduce changes into the implementation of this or that order.

Q: What applications can ERP offer to manufacturing companies?
A: Being on the cutting-edge of innovation and technology ERP is prone to present a wide range of mobile applications such as Document Control, Inventory, Draft Constructor, E-Signatures, Customer Relationship Management, Labeling, Maintenance Facilities, Storage Management.

Q: What impact does mobile ERP have on sales & marketing department?
A: Mobile ERP renders an invaluable service for sales & marketing department. With ERP software installed on their devices sales staff can now be aware of the profitability of a deal. Plus, there are proper links to manufacturing and finance sections.

Q: Can customers have a possibility to make changes to their order as well?
A: Yes. Customers can adjust their solution to their individual demands. And sales staff, in its turn, are able to set delivery time according to actual scheduled manufacturing.

Q: What modules does ERP solution typically consist of?
A: ERP solution usually combines all principal business processes, thus enabling company's personnel to constantly access up-to-the-minute information from all functional departments. ERP software typically consists of modules such as Financial Management, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Resource Planning, Human Resource Management, and Customer Relationship Management.

Q: What does statistics say about companies that have already introduced mobile ERP into their business?
A: A recent research revealed that companies that have already adopted mobile technologies have undergone up to a 45% improvement in productivity and up to 44% improvement in operational efficiency.

* The official source of the statistics data: Mobility in the Manufacturing Workplace by IQMS

Q: Is it really possible to increase ERP ROI (return of investment)?
A: ERP systems are aimed at optimizing all business processes and boosting revenue. But this can be reached only when business operations are launched properly, match internal processes and are clearly understood by the people who work with them.

Q: Is mobile ERP strategy widely used by companies around the world?
A: According to the survey, conducted by IDC and sponsored by enterprise apps company IFS, of 455 IT leaders across Europe, the US and Australia, over half (54 percent) have a plan for mobile ERP.

Q: Enterprises have been embedding new technologies in mobile devices for over a decade. What's so special about today's mobile ERP?
A: Today's mobile ERP is able to manage and utilize to advantage employees' personal devices they use in the workplace. Another special feature about mobile ERP is that although some companies forbid workers to use their own portable devices at work (even when used on business matters), others grant these devices to their employees for work purposes.

Q: Is there a drastic difference in using ERP application on a mobile device and on a PC?
A: Certainly. For example, the order entry function on a mobile device differs greatly from its look on a PC. This difference is determined by a less loaded interface and the fact that instead of exposing full desktop capabilities only relevant capabilities are offered.

Q: What fields of production are most suitable for using mobile ERP on tablets?
A: Tablets with installed mobile ERP are best tailored for being used in:

1. Information delivery. Managers often need to update mobile status or check product details on the spot. Thus, there are situations when company's personnel need immediate and explicit information.
2. Shipment. Shipping department is where employees have been using portable bar code readers a lot, and tablet computers with mobile ERP can be of extra help for them in making quick and adequate decisions.
3. Safety and traceability. Mobile ERP installed on tablets can prove useful for safety and traceability, as frequent check-ins are usually wanted during the manufacturing process.

Q: Do personally owned mobile devices reduce IT training?
A: Yes. Many employees feel at ease using their own smartphones and they are very resourceful when it comes to adoption of new features and functions. So when a company allows to connect handheld devices to corporate database, it can not only significantly reduce IT support costs but also provide greater user satisfaction.

Q: What should I do to understand if any mobile innovation with installed ERP software is needed in the enterprise?
A: To understand if your company needs any data-integrity improvements you should examine jobs and workflows and figure out mobility requirements. Be aware of the fact that mobility is vital only for some production functions.

Q: How to adopt a mobile ERP system without detriment to the business process?
A: Proper planning is the driving force of smooth transition to mobile ERP. Management should have a clear conception of business issues as well as determine efficient distribution of duties.

Q: What is the right way to teach staff about extending ERP systems?
A: Again, proper planning can provide successful implementation of mobile ERP, helping to avoid unfavorable spending. Employees can be trained remotely, or by applying step-by-step tutorials. These measures will bar costly travelling and teaching personnel in practice.

Q: Does any company can benefit from mobile ERP system regardless of its scope of activity?
A: Yes. For example, when we are talking about food production or pharmaceutical sector it is essential to make it possible for the employees to have access to the general data about the clients, order history, credit situation. In logistics or distribution areas a mobile ERP solution facilitates the control and management of the delivery. As far as the industry sector is concerned, mobile ERP enables managers to be in the online mode with the personnel and send their reports in the system directly. As for the chemical and medical areas, mobile ERP is needed to have unobstructed access to clinical history, quality processes control and to modify information whenever needed.

Q: How to turn mobile ERP capacities to company's best advantage?
A: To increase the benefit from using mobile ERP a company needs to make sure that provided service corresponds to its business goals. Moreover, a company shouldn't disregard the possibility to take advantage of the analysis service and detect how exclusively the system is tailored for company's needs and requirements. It's good to know that a great number of mobile devices can be automatically adjusted.

Q: Is the process of data entering and following information processing trustworthy?
A: Certainly. All the processes are 100% secure. The transferred information is necessarily coded and in order to have access to the database users undergo three stages of authentication.

Q: Can mobile ERP reduce the risk of error during information processing?
A: Taking into consideration that all administrative processes are automatically controlled, there is a chance to save time and money, and to reduce the risk of error when entering information in the ERP database.

Q: What is the most appealing benefit of using mobile ERP?
A: One of the most appealing benefits for the users is to dispose and update information from the ERP database or other ERP application in real time. In addition, managers can have unhampered direct communication with employees under their authority and exercise continuous control of their activities.

Q: Is it possible to formulate an inquiry online?
A: Obviously. These inquires will be necessary to get the approval and digital signature of a client, to process orders, complete invoices, and request information about products in stock, order history, personal matters, etc.

Q: What is the main requirement for mobile access to an ERP system?
A: The major prerequisite for an ERP system to be available via mobile devices is laying out information in manifold formats. It's attributable to the fact that different browsers, which are installed on different devices, support different formats.

Q: When starting building my own mobile ERP system what tips are there to remember about designing mobile applications?
A: The first thing to be considered is the screen size, as this is what differs mobile ERP from a regular ERP system. The next aspect to be paid attention to is keyboard. The speed and the quality of typing on a traditional keyboard are not to be compared with the speed and the quality of typing on a mobile device. So, special applications are needed to deal with the task as good. And one last point to think over is the environment in which the devices will be used.

Q: What do hot lists serve in mobile ERP systems for?
A: Hot lists enable users to make shortcuts in order to have the easiest possible access to the most active customers or to the most frequent customers' orders, as well as to create a daily contact list when a user is planning to work remotely or out of the office.

Q: What features can mobile ERP bring to sales orders?
A: With mobile ERP users can undertake the following actions:

1. Take an order whenever a user and a customer are ready
2. Enter item data via automated line item entry
3. Scan barcodes
4. Place new orders
5. Create new quotes.

Q: Why do I need mobile ERP?
A: There are several reasons why mobile ERP is an indispensable condition for a company on its way to success:

  • Boost in productivity
  • Increase in sales
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Round-the-clock access to ERP database
  • Cost reduction
  • No need in introducing changes in the current ERP solution
  • Immediate response to customer requests
  • Available product catalogs and inventory
  • Anytime access to long-term information.

Q: What are the main characteristics of mobile ERP solution?
A: Here are the major characteristics of mobile ERP solution:

  • Information displayed in the form of a graph
  • Intracorporate chat for in-company communication
  • Easy-to-use search engine
  • Functions able to be used with social networks (Facebook, Google, Twitter) without special adaptation or modification
  • Trustworthy information security
  • Online monitoring of changes introduced in common documents
  • Checking on account activity before making calls or heading for meetings.

Q: Are there any shortcomings in the implementation of a mobile ERP system?
A: One of the disadvantages of mobile ERP is the decrease of personal time. Due to the fact that employees have permanent access to corporate database and all the information needed for work, they start paying excessive attention to their mobile devices and neglect their social lives.

Q: What information about a company is needed before implementing mobile ERP?
A: To implement mobile ERP software it is important to apprehend company's business goals, business policy and business requirements. Among others it's vital to understand:

  • Information management
  • Corporate infrastructure
  • Business model
  • Operational side of a business
  • Departments and divisions
  • Current ERP system
  • Supply chain management
  • Business needs.

Q: How does using mobile ERP add to business relationships?
A: Constantly having up-to-the-minute information on hand makes it possible for employees to deepen and mature business relations.

Q: What hardware can mobile ERP be installed on?
A: Any hardware can be equipped with mobile ERP. So a user can either keep a current mobile device or change it.

Q: How is firewall useful while working with mobile ERP systems?
A: Via firewall a user can get access to a company server and connect to ERP. This enables an employee to get things done remotely from home instead of carrying tasks out in the office.

Q: What is remote ERP connectivity?
A: Remote ERP connectivity gives an opportunity to deal with everyday duties anywhere there is a network. For instance, warehouse workers can use portable scanners to record transactions and check inventory.

Q: Why is connectivity essential for an organization?
A: Connectivity is essential as in case of failure it can have an unfavorable effect on the whole mobile ERP implementation. So organization's management should pay special attention to such characteristics as quality of service, reliability, speed of connection.

Q: With the coming of mobile ERP face-to-face communication tends to languish. Is it always bad?
A: No. Communication between a client and a provider/vendor is not always smooth. Cultural peculiarities, different languages, misunderstanding of contract terms can be taken the edge off during indirect communication.

Q: Why is it important for a company to standardize its software before embedding mobile ERP?
A: It is important for a company to standardize its software throughout its divisions and make sure it's identical. Otherwise, it will have issues with data, storage and integration.

Q: Are there any mobile ERP applications developed exclusively for android or iOS?
A: Yes, there are. Relevant mobile ERP applications make interface lighter and increase usability. Due to these capabilities a user can look through a report or enter information in real-time.

Q: How to avoid mistakes during mobile ERP implementation?
A: To avoid mistakes during mobile ERP implementation companies need to thoroughly examine and fix the most precarious spheres in its manufacturing system.

Q: Does a mobile ERP application have the same database as a conventional desktop application?
A: Yes. A mobile application has the same database and, what is more, the same IT infrastructure as a conventional desktop application.

Q: Why is mobile ERP adoption inevitable today?
A: Technological revolution has reversed the established status quo and entailed unprecedented boom of mobile device users. And the number is constantly growing. To follow the mainstream and keep their heads above water, companies need to correspond to customer demands and requirements and adapt to the shifting situation. Therefore, ERP systems also need to be adjusted to users' mobile behavior.

Q: What is BYOD?
A: BYOD is short for "bring your own device". This expression is usually applied to address employees who use their own computers or mobile devices and connect them to the corporate network in the workplace. This phenomenon proves useful and is very common nowadays. To use this popularity to its best advantage companies strive to advance their business and install ERP systems on mobile devices.

Q: What aspects are there to consider before introducing mobile ERP into business?
A: There are several points to consider before embedding mobile ERP:

  • Selection of mobile equipment for your personnel
  • Knowledge needed to master the system
  • Protection and security applications
  • Employee notification about the innovation.

Q: What do I need to use mobile ERP solution?
A: Using a mobile ERP system isn't a painstaking unmanageable process. It doesn't require more efforts or skills than a traditional computer version does. As any other technology which is new to a business it requires time to figure out its special features. It is necessary to determine a mobile device and a mobile application and enlist the support of a user manual. It is also essential to allocate proper time and money for coaching and training.

Q: Mobile ERP is based on cloud computing. What does Cloud Computing really mean?
A: Cloud computing is a virtual model that provides modes to deliver applications, business processes, etc., as a service in real time and in any place wanted. Similarly, when we are talking about mobile ERP as a business solution based on cloud computing, the term "cloud computing" implies that the internet is used to deliver software as a service.

Q: How can mobile ERP reduce print costs?
A: It goes without saying that company personnel frequently address to printed materials. Indeed, mobile ERP allows to cut costs when it comes to documentation and printouts. Moreover, when workers don't resort to the use of paper copies and use their online versions instead, information is guaranteed to be credible and up-to-the-minute.

Industries and Technology Areas

Industries: Manufacturing, Information Technology

Technology Areas: ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, custom software development




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