Everyone is telling you that your business should be going mobile. But should it? And if so, where do you start?
Last month we began a series exploring ways to develop mobile strategies to leverage your ERP system. Let’s look at how you can move forward to get started.
When making a decision about introducing any new tool that hooks into your ERP system, you should be reasonably sure of a few things first: Will the solution being automated be reliable? Will it be flexible? Will it be useable?
Because no one can afford to be in a customer facing situation and not have their application perform as designed. If that happens to you, you might as well hand them the phone numbers of your competitors.
Because not every company has the same needs; not every user in a company has the same needs; and needs change over time.
Because ERP automation needs to be intuitive and inviting to the user for a successful roll-out.
Reliable, flexible, usable. Keep these characteristics in mind as requirements for any ERP app–especially when moving to mobile processing.
ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS GOALS.
With this trio of key characteristics in mind, your first big step is to establish your business goals.
I recommend starting by asking the big questions first, such as these:
- How can we accelerate growth?
- How can we create a competitive advantage?
- What are all of the processes that lend themselves to mobile?
- What is unique to our industry that can allow us to stand out?
- Are there new ways to sell and market our offerings?
Engage with the more creative members of your team to brainstorm with these kinds of questions as a jumping point to produce ideas. Garnering feedback from those with various viewpoints can likely generate solutions worthy of further exploration and discovery.
Next, do your best to articulate measurable goals, such as these:
- Drive revenue growth.
- Eliminate redundant tasks.
- Accelerate the entire sales process.
- Improve accuracy.
- Streamline processes.
- Improve customer service.
- Improve decision making.
Drive revenue growth. Consider how you might be perceived by your customers and prospects if you could offer a mobile app to allow customers to check order or inventory status, or even place an order with you directly on their smart phone or tablet.
Eliminate redundant tasks. We’ve all dealt with handwritten orders faxed or hand-delivered to the office only to be manually keyed in by a person. Do away with unnecessary work.
Accelerate sales process. If you can place an order faster it only holds that you may be able to pick, deliver and collect on those orders too.
Improve accuracy. No one is as familiar with the deal details as you and the customer. If you can book the order when you are in front of them, especially if you can provide an email or print confirmation, you are likely one step ahead in terms of accuracy.
Streamline processes. This means fewer hands in the kitchen. ‘Nuff said.
Improve customer service. Why not consider a mobile app for all of your customer facing staff that provides them any time, anywhere access to critical customer information? If you can answer a customer’s question now as opposed to the next time you’re in the office, you probably just made that customer happy.
Improve decision making. Imagine you’re closing a deal and you are able to show the customer what the product looks like and when you can deliver it. Wouldn’t that be cool?
We’re just scratching the surface here and could go on about payment acceptance, automating sales at trade shows or special events and so on. For today, though, our hope is that we’ve sparked your imagination with ways to define business goals to ignite a mobile ERP process.
Look for our next post in our mobile ERP apps strategy series focusing on functional needs by user.
See you out there.
By Paul Ziliak, co-founder, xkzero