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In a previous article, we shared some insights into the rapid ascendance of mobile devices as key components in today’s ERP solutions and some of the high-level benefits that manufacturers can reap from their use. Entitled “The Top 5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Mobile Solution,” we supported the widely accepted premise that mobile apps, when integrated into ERP solutions, improve efficiencies and help reduce costs. What we didn’t mention in that blog is how mobility increases ROI.
Take the sales rep who is offsite visiting a customer. Having remote access to the ERP system data back at the office (or in the cloud) is absolutely a must in today’s fast-paced business environment. You can easily imagine the potential lost business if the rep can’t instantly access applicable customer and inventory data from a phone, tablet or laptop to determine pricing, availability or delivery information while the customer is waiting. Customers are accustomed to Amazon-style order fulfillment and they’re likely not going to wait very long before moving on to a competitor. Speed and accuracy rule the day and the laggards had better catch up fast.
There’s no question that ROI is going to be significantly improved in this area alone if sales reps are properly equipped with mobile ERP vs. without. More sales and greater customer satisfaction and loyalty translate to both short- and longer-term success.
How about the ability to respond to production-related issues instantly as opposed to having to call the office or wait until you physically get back there to resolve an issue? With mobile ERP, you can set up alerts to warn if parts are not going to arrive on time and initiate immediate action to ensure that production proceeds on schedule. Other issues related to equipment failure or maintenance or shipping can be handled right away because all the relevant information is available on demand.
If you want to know the latest status of a production line or whether additional raw materials need to be ordered to complete a process, your mobile app will be your best friend. As a result, production runs more smoothly, downtime is minimized, orders are delivered on time and, as noted above, customers are happy and more likely to return. Put it all together and ROI will rise with mobile on-board.
Of course, measuring actual ROI between ERP with mobile vs. ERP without mobile is imprecise at best, but one highly knowledgeable writer, Nick Castellina, Vice President and Research Group Director for the Aberdeen Group’s Business Planning and Execution practice, has delivered the most compelling case that we’ve discovered to date.
The data for Castellina’s widely disseminated August 2014 report entitled “Mobile ERP: Taking ERP ROI into Your Own Hands,” was based on results from Aberdeen’s “2014 Business Management and ERP Benchmark Survey,” in which over 200 organizations were surveyed to learn, among other things, adoption rates of mobile ERP and to illustrate the benefits that mobile access can provide. A wealth of revealing information was gleaned from this report and we’re going to summarize the relevant pieces below.
The report establishes a premise which can serve as a foundation for the inevitability and soon-to-be ubiquity of mobile ERP – “Today’s business leaders just do not have the time to wait for reports to be created and sent to them or to wait until they are back at their desk. Therefore, the ways in which employees interact with ERP must change.”
Clearly, the trend toward mobile ERP is in the process and it’s no surprise that the more successful businesses are utilizing it. For starters, the survey revealed that 56% of Best-in-Class organizations provide access to ERP on mobile devices for their employees, in comparison to 24% of All Others. More evidence of the trend toward universal adoption of mobile is that another 37% of all organizations plan to implement mobile ERP in the near future.
For example, according to the report, organizations with mobile ERP are over twice as likely to enjoy real-time visibility into the status of all their business processes. Whether it pertains to production, financials, inventory or other areas, decision-makers can utilize real-time data to make the best possible decisions. Yes, it’s hard to quantify, but we believe that this also contributes to a better ROI.
The following table from the Aberdeen Report does quantify the gains that businesses receive from using mobile ERP.
When you look at the totality of the survey results in this table, you see concrete evidence of improved efficiencies, lower costs and enhanced customer satisfaction with mobile ERP – all of which team up to produce a significant boost in ROI.
With so much data supporting the benefits and enhanced ROI of mobile ERP, it’s only a matter of time before businesses in nearly every industry jump onboard the bandwagon. The question we have is this – if you haven’t done so already, what are you waiting for?
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