In today’s connected world, mobile devices have brought in a cultural change at the work place, home and even when you travel. Enterprise app vendors are innovating and developing mobile strategies to transform businesses.
In the current scenario, the social network usage can be considered to be a leading indicator on how human habits are evolving when it comes to technology. Reports suggest that more than 50% of Facebook as well as e-commerce traffic comes from mobile devices and this is growing at an aggressive rate. The reason for such a massive popularity is the fact that the whole engagement characteristic has changed, be it ‘Facebooking’ or online shopping.
We all use smartphones and the moment we get idle time, we tend to pull out the smartphone from our pockets and check our Facebook wall, follow news, check for WhatsApp group messages or even do a window shopping at Amazon. We may not buy, but we look around, thereby increasing our chances of buying.
This is clearly a shift in human habits and this shift cannot be ignored in the enterprise world because at the end of the day it’s the same set of people who use a smart phone, tablet and other connected devices to carry out the day-to-day work in enterprises. “The Social world has changed and so must the enterprise world”. Let’s look at how the mobile will have an impact on some of the key enterprise applications like ERP, CRM, BI, Project Management, Process Management (BPM), Document Management, Content Management etc.
Enterprise Social Software: How Mobile has transformed Enterprise Applications to Enterprise Social Applications?
Traditional Enterprise applications were merely systems of records, which consisted of true transactional records and typically consists of a UI using which we can do some particular tasks. This worked well and for a long time these systems have been hailed as legendary innovations that defined how we work at enterprises.
But the modern day men & women have different expectations. They come from a world where a smartphone or a tablet is part of their personal space. They use it for socializing, shopping and their day-to-day work. It’s only natural that the same expectation & experience crosses over to the enterprise space.
This is why some of the Enterprise applications have started to acquire social capabilities like messaging, VOIP, Videoconferencing, sharing, tagging, productivity tools etc. to enhance the user experience, increase the productivity of employees, share the information anytime anywhere to end users and enhance customer support. Let’s take the example of an HRMS application which has undergone a radical transformation to bring in the social capabilities like access to walls, view profiles, share pictures, tagging, commenting, start discussion threads etc.
These new social capabilities need to be accessed anytime anywhere and hence mobile devices become a natural device for accessing such new age enterprise social systems. Studies prove that such systems have increased inclination towards HRMS systems and hence increased collaboration between employees and in turn resulted in
No wonder why new age HRMS systems like Workday and Silk Road are getting such huge adoption rates.
Field Services: ERP softwares were not able to provide an efficient solution that could enhance the productivity and assist the field service workers who work on the field without Internet connectivity or those who have to use the traditional laptops in tunnels, high rise buildings, construction sites etc. Extending the ERP to mobile by building capabilities like offline access etc., the field workers have found they can perform day to day tasks even in the remote areas where there is not Internet connection. The tasks get synced up with the server when the user gets connected.
Logistics: Fleet management solution providers usually have the telematics devices in their vehicles to track their location etc. and hand held devices for delivery confirmation from customers. These devices have limitations because of the lack of software integration to provide real time data to customers and vendors. With GPS enabled smartphones, both tracking of the vehicle and the delivery can be managed using a mobile solution. This will enable real time information exchange between the vendor, its partners and their customers.
Manufacturing: Manufacturing units have started moving away from the old HMI controllers which used to control the automation process, as these controllers did not have the capability to interface with different Enterprise apps. Smartphone apps can be written to control the machines directly and also connect with enterprise apps for information sharing in a better way.
Content Management: The content management system can leverage the GPS technology and deliver location based contents. Content management systems have transitioned to Mobile Content Management systems (MCM). Also with the help of mobile devices a retailer can send information on new arrivals, discounts and offers to the customers in real-time.
Document Management: Print and access documents securely anytime anywhere. Nowadays, printers are technically equipped with features such as wifi, Bluetooth and NFC built in. Connectivity with smart mobile devices allows you to print these documents anytime, anywhere.
Business Processing: Smartphones allow employees and managers to process business transactions like Invoice approval, Time sheet approval, leave request, monitor the servers remotely, receive notifications etc.
Enterprises have extended their business processes for the mobile workforce. Users can easily enter customer data using such apps. They can process transactions, send documents and photos securely to an ERP system, accounting software or an Insurance systems, Let’s look at how a smartphone can help the 24/7 insurance team which takes care of processing the insurance claim for an vehicle from an accident spot, The workforce can take photo of the vehicle, fill the details on the accident area, scan the police report and license of the driver, and process the transaction for claim.
Analytics: Analytics has been used to provide better services to users and partners but it was earlier used mainly by the key people alone. But now, they are used extensively. At present, analytics is only available for desktops and laptops and floor level users like a remote yard manager, store manager working from one corner of a larger store and in this scenario it becomes difficult for them to take decision in real time.
Analytics on mobile will transform this field level decision making progress. Let’s also look at some of the mobile technologies
which can transform the enterprise app business.
Virtual SIM: Many telecom vendors have started providing Virtual SIM where an employee can have multiple office numbers other than his personal SIM number. Since the numbers are linked to the virtual SIM, the same number can be used by many employees who do support operations etc.
WebRTC: This technology allows voice and video conferencing for mobile users in an organization.
IOS Touch ID: Touch ID technology allows secure connections to the organization systems and data.
IOS Continuity: This technology allows users to access content by switching seamlessly between devices like Mac, iPhone, iPad etc.
Oracle mobile app framework: Oracle provides this framework to develop apps quickly and has seamless integration with Oracle suites of products.
NFC: NFC technology allows mobile communication with other devices like printers, robots and other machines.
Mobile Camera: Mobile camera and OCR can digitize the content processing.
LTE: High speed data connection for mobile phones to access more amount of content.