Saturday, July 16, 2011

Extending Mobile Deployment With Mobile Apps

The Gartner's Magic Quadrant for ERP in the mid-market places Microsoft Dynamics AX at the top spot which is testimony to the growth of the ERP solution. Gartner's Magic Quadrant is basically a graphical representation of how selected ERP vendors measure a given ERP solution in terms of functionality, usability, and technology for a marketplace.

In terms of the trends we see for new initiatives for existing AX customers, most tend to fall into a small set of categories. These include extending AX functionality through the use of mobile apps or implementing real-time integration to other applications in the business. Additionally, the creation of BI dashboards and adding new business features through AX customization are also receiving attention and funding. Finally, with the rapidly impending release of AX 2012, many existing AX customers include an upgrade in their IT plans.

You can transform the business through mobility on the Customer side by identifying new intelligent products and on the Employee side through process innovation and new styles of collaborative work. Mobile apps help grow business by providing new channels and communities to Customers and by supplying role specific applications to Employees.

Lastly, mobile apps help you run the business by providing light weight communication options to your customer and also provide basic productivity tools such as mobile e-mail and connectivity to your Employees. Managers and Executives typically desire mobile apps on their smartphones that deliver information, including key performance indicators, dashboards, financial data and results, and compliance requirements.

When it comes to the sales force, the mobile imperative lies in order processing, inventory and price verification, customer profiling and customer relationship management. For Plant personnel, mobile apps may be used for order picking, inventory tracking, supplier relationship management and goods receipts. The Field Service team can use mobile apps for work recording, service execution, contract reference and route and travel planning.

Selecting the right platform for a smartphone depends on a variety of parameters ranging from library of apps available to native features and functionality. Additionally, you will want to consider ease of communication, design and performance factors, and security and reliability issues. As you determine your mobile app requirements, inevitably you must consider the question of whether you should buy a mobile app or build it. On the benefits side, you need to account for both tangible and intangible returns. Tangible returns include incremental revenue, repeat business, improved productivity, faster inventory turns, a reduced sales cycle and targeted promotions. Intangible returns typically include improved customer satisfaction, competitive advantage over your competition, improved reporting, and improved employee utilization, quality of life, satisfaction, and retention.


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