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The Rise of Mobile Access to Your ERP Data – Part 3 in a 7 Part Series

  • 13 November 2013
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In today’s environment, mobile solutions are seen as core drivers of organizations pushing to gain operational efficiencies over their competitors.  According to a recent report from Aberdeen Group, “enterprise mobile apps in 2013 are no longer ‘nice to have’—they’ve become essential enablers of organizational transformation, by increasing operational efficiency, accelerating time-to-decision, deepening customer engagement, and streamlining workflow processes.” (Source: Aberdeen Group,
“Enterprise-Grade Mobile Apps: Powering Organizational Transformation,” by Andrew Borg, April 2013.)

Cre8tive Technology (www.ctnd.com) will be posting a weekly seven part series on The Rise of Mobile Access to Your ERP Data.

Part One            Introduction

Part Two            Who is a Mobile User?

Part Three       Types of Mobile Devices

Part Four           Why the Shift?

Part Five            Why Epicor?

Part Six              Benefits to the Company & End-User

Part Seven         Future of Mobile

Types of Mobile Devices

With so many smartphones, tablets, and other types of mobile devices, it can become confusing to know which will work best.  That answer depends on a number of factors; cost, environment, signal access, security, and function should all be taken into consideration when deciding what mobile device to use in your mobile strategy.

Handheld:
Handheld mobile devices have been around for many years; usually they have a gun or PDA form with a scanner.  They will run a few different types of operating systems, but the standard is Windows CE.  This type of device is found in warehouses or shop floors and because of the function and price of them, they stay within the organizations infrastructure and usually are not meant to be used in the field.  For manufacturers, they are used for scanning a job traveler or other job documentation, to see what needs to be done and document what is done on the shop floor. For distributors, they provide efficiency in the warehouse for picking, packing, shipping, and receiving.

• Windows OS support
• Long battery life
• Long model life
• Ruggedized outer shells
• Expensive
• Small screen size
• Limited upgradability

Purpose Built Device:
Purpose built mobile devices are usually built around either specific company requirements or functional requirements and tend to be very expensive and used for both internal and external processes.  These devices take many different forms, depending on environment and how they will be used.  They are great for a workforce that have rigid processes or need a simple device that does exactly what they need.

• Custom built for company
• Built for specific functions
• Long battery life
• Designed to be used outside and inside the organization
• Difficult to upgrade
• Usually single purpose
• Expensive

Smartphone:
Today’s smartphones are becoming just as powerful as most desktops and are inexpensive.  With the ability to connect to the Internet and download applications on them, more and more end users are purchasing smartphones for their consumer needs.  Piggy backing on that move to general smartphone use, consumers are looking to use these devices to access and process ERP data.  This is one of the main drivers for companies to start developing mobile strategies outside of the typical mobile needs seen for years.  With major technology companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google backing this market, we are seeing pressure to be able to support these devices in company’s mobile strategies.

• Fits BYOD (bring your own device) policies
• Separates hardware from software
• Easy to use
• Inexpensive
• Small screens
• Have to maintain multiple device configurations
• Short battery life
• Not made for harsh environments

Tablets:
Relatively new to most end users, tablets have been used for a while, but with technology enhancements and price points coming down, they have become more mainstream.  “In just three years, tablets have overtaken smartphones in the amount of traffic they drive.  ” (Source:  Adobe Digital Index, “The State of Mobile Benchmark,” Q2 2013).  Ease of use, more powerful mobile hardware, larger screen size and touch screens are the main drivers to adaption of this platform.  Tablets today, can and do take over a lot of ERP functionality that was traditionally done on workstations back at the office.  Just like laptops have taken over desktops as the way to access ERP, because of the need to work remotely.  Tablets are seen as the next evolutionary step in this process.

“While tablet and smartphone consumers are both mobile users, they behave differently.  Tablet users actually behave more like PC users in the way they browse and engage. ” (Adobe Systems Incorporated, 2013)

• Fits BYOD (bring your own device) policies
• Separates hardware from software
• Easy to use
• Inexpensive
• Large screens
• Have to maintain multiple device configurations
• Not made for harsh environments (Can purchase cases at extra cost)

Follow this series and other previous postings on www.ctnd.com/blog/.

From an Epicor White Paper

About Epicor

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

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