Mobility – one of the hottest buzz words in IT at the moment – is not new. It’s been around for quite some time. Yes, it was bulky, big and heavy. But the ability to take the business everywhere has been an imperative for decades. What is new is how fast it’s growing. Over 1 billion workers – or close to 35% of the total global workforce – will be using mobile technology by 2013. Tablets and mobile communication networks have empowered sales forces, delivery companies, retail store clerks and even nurses at hospitals to have fresh information at their fingertips and to exchange this information back with the headquarters almost in real-time.
The proliferation of applications displayed in handheld devices ranging from laptops, though-books, tablets, and smart-phones is allowing businesses to easily remain connected and remain “on the road” with their customers rather than stuck back at the “home” office. One of my fellow Clarkston bloggers recently discussed the WOW factor in Mobility. This is certainly critical to define the business case and win the support from senior management. But after the WOW factor, mobility must deliver!
Success Factors in Mobility
One of the key success factors in mobility is connectivity and integration with the main ERP system back at the home office. Flashy and lightweight devices coupled with impressive apps are definitely enablers, but the main “bang for the buck” is being able to achieve seamless integration with the system of record. Think about everything that could be revolutionized and improved through the use of mobile technologies:
- Real-time inventory availability,
- Price changes,
- Volume discounts
- Delivery shortages
- Inventory allocation
- Order processing for next day replenishment,
- Competitive pricing
- Promotional activity
These benefits are only possible if the device has real-time integration with the back-end central information system. Many technology providers have jumped into the untapped Mobility market; ranging from network, hardware, software and service providers. From an enterprise system integration standpoint, SAP, Sybase, Afaria, Syclo, ClickSoftware, Sky Technologies and Antenna are considered to be leading the pack from an app to ERP integration standpoint. SAP’s acquisition of Syclo supports the emphasis they are placing on integration between the home office and the explosion of mobile devices.
As you continue to navigate the fast-changing mobile technology market and develop your mobility strategy (considering the WOW factor), make sure to integrate your mobile business with the one and only source of the truth: your main ERP system. In real time.