Mobile applications are already part of our everyday standard - whether private or professional. However, we are still at the beginning of the development. Even in the area of ERP systems, we have by no means exhausted the possibilities in the mobile field. However, it is slowly becoming necessary for most future-oriented companies to deal with the use of mobile applications. The fact that this is often done in a hurry has to do with short-term modernisation measures and an underestimation of the introduction. However, the implementation of mobile applications is just as complex as any other system project and requires good planning. Here are nine steps on how to approach the introduction of an (additional) mobile ERP system:1
Step 1: Define goals and align with company focus
At the beginning of a mobile ERP system project, there is always the goal setting. This is not only so that a realistic project plan can be drawn up, but also to create motivation for the implementation. This is also necessary when implementing mobile applications. It is hardly worth the effort just to say 'we can also do mobile'. What is important is how the mobile application relates to the corporate goals and whether a common objective can be focused on. It should always be kept in mind that mobile development does not stand still.
Step 2: Communicate with (future) users
Especially because of the rapid development, it is important to clarify who uses the mobile application and where. In doing so, it quickly becomes obvious what requirements are placed on the handling of the mobile means. It is important that there is conscious communication about the use and benefits of a mobile ERP solution. Training is always a good way to get started with this communication.
Step 3: Generate processes in a customer-oriented way
In contrast to the ?normal? ERP system, customer contact plays a very important role in the mobile version. It is not uncommon for mobile applications to be used, for example, to create and illustrate calculations directly at the customer's premises. In addition to the safe handling of the system, it is also important to create an awareness of which processes should be visible to the customer and which should focus on the result.
Step 4: Analyse functionality
Compared to the previous points, the focus should also always be on functionality. Just because certain processes can be implemented on a mobile basis does not mean that this also makes sense. It is also important that the functions that can be implemented in mobile processes are also supported by the corresponding end devices.
Step 5: Ensure usability in the mobile ERP system
Mobile applications only make sense if they are usable. We are used to our everyday 'mobile apps' being self-explanatory. This is always synonymous with the success of a mobile application.
Step 6: Match technologies with previous points
The offer determines the question here: Which end devices are used with which OS (Apple, Android, Windows)? Web technology (e.g. as a browser app) is also defined here. This leads to the question of where which access to which company data is to be created. Here there are as many answers as there are possibilities. Therefore, the objective, user definition, usability and the corresponding functionality must serve here as a benchmark for the corresponding solutions.
Step 7: Set offline functions sensibly
The great shortcoming of mobility: nothing works without a network. However, many mobile applications also offer the option of using important functions offline. Here it is important to determine which areas must also be available without the internet. However, these offline functions should be kept in moderation, because they also harbour risks (see P.9).
Step 8: Decide and plan development
Of course, it is also possible to develop your own mobile ERP application. However, if you don't have an in-house IT department, the chances look slim. And even so: experienced providers who have made their experiences with the system and mobile applications are often the better alternative. Especially if the application is to remain updateable with the system.
Step 9: Putting the safety factor first
Of course, the top discussion factor with mobile applications is always the security of the data. From data misuse to mistakes by employees, there are a number of risks. It is important to create awareness of the security situation and to make clear the consequences that the company will face in the process. The risk can also be limited to the extent that, for example, only the data that is actually needed is available on mobile devices and no data is stored offline on the mobile devices.1