Is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a fan of this app?

Why Mobile ERP, Why Now?
a blog series by xkzero

In the previous blog, “Establishing Trust with Mobile ERP,” we discussed automobile diagnostics as a metaphor for the evolution of technology, so we’ll continue with the driving theme. Did you know that Chicago, where I live, has the nation’s most expensive parking meters? That’s not the worst part, though. The true source of stress is the lofty ticket prices for expired meters.

Meter-Paul_ScreenAs you might imagine, I get zero sympathy from Mayor Emanuel. He doesn’t mind at all if I don’t pay the fee on time because late penalties mean more cash for the city coffers!

There is now a mobile app, though, that keeps me out of trouble. It’s called ParkChicago and functions like a mind-reading, convenient dream.

How does it work? First, I pre-fund my account, so I only have to tap a few buttons whenever I park, which comes in handy when I’m in a hurry to get to that dentist appointment.

My favorite part—perhaps because it feels so personal—is that it sends a phone alert when my meter is running out! (Can we attach this functionality to regularly used household items like milk or toilet paper, please?)

That means, when I’m parked on a city street while having a nice dinner with my wife, I don’t have to interrupt our date to leave the restaurant and feed the meter. I simply excuse myself for a moment…tap, tap, tap, swipe…and the conversation barely skips a beat.

It’s convenient all year round, but this is the first Chicago winter we’ll have the option of not bundling up to run outdoors and fumble with cold quarters in gloved hands. That is quite exciting to locals and visitors alike!

This mobile app positively transforms the experiences formerly interrupted by manually feeding a meter. It also helps prevent the expensive disappointment of finding that orange and white ticket envelope adhered to the window.

The possibilities of mobile are life changing, for sure. (Is it weird to say that a mobile app “gets me?”)

Lovely Rita, meter maid, our time is up.

Think of all the little conveniences you can provide your business customers with mobile. Want to brainstorm about this? We’d love to hear from you.

Why Mobile ERP, Why Now?
a blog series by xkzero

This article is part of a series based on xkzero co-founder Paul Ziliak’s talk at Sage Summit 2014 called “Why Mobile, Why Now?: A Decision Maker’s Guide to Business Success.”

Paul Ziliak, xkzero Co-Founder

Through our blog, we bring to you some of the ideas initially shared in this talk. We will also continue to add new insights about why mobile for ERP is here to stay and how you can get the jump on your competitors by incorporating everything special about mobile technology into your business now.

You may also like this story from the series: Is your B2B industry about to go mobile?

Manufacturers & Distributors: A Checklist for Evaluating Mobile Sales Apps to Best Fit YOUR Needs


By Paul Ziliak, co-founder, xkzero

Your company has decided take the lead this year in your industry and plans to modernize your sales team by equipping them with smart phones and tablets that do more than automate email, calendars and address books. Ownership has given the green light to you as the sales manager to find and acquire the best mobile apps for your business that actually integrate with your ERP system. Excited? You bet you are! Nervous? More than a little, because even though you have spelled out the goals and calculated the ROI, you don’t want to get this investment wrong. Frankly, if it doesn’t work you are going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Decision points abound, but the field of mobilized ERP for sales people is not rife with how-to guides and requirements checklists, so we hope you will find this useful. Can we guarantee that you will find the perfect fit for your distribution needs? No, but we do know that the more informed you are the more likely your project with succeed.

Mobile Snapshot
Here are some capabilities to consider when selecting a mobile app:

  • First, confirm that your ERP/CRM system can integrate with available mobile apps out-of-the-box. Remember that a mobile app designed to “integrate with any ERP” is not designed to integrate primarily with your ERP.
  • Integrate customer info
  • Integrate inventory info
  • Allow mobile selling
  • Enable B2B mobile self-service
  • Accept customer payments
  • Provide survey management
  • Allow photo tagging
  • Enable route management
  • Automate order delivery
  • Optimize trade show sales
  • Support bar code scanning
  • Provide credit card swipe support
  • Accommodate a pricing system that works for you (user-based, device-based, by company, etc.)

Goals for Mobile
Evaluate whether a mobile app can improve your business in these ways:

  • Increase/accelerate revenue
  • Provide employees flexible options
  • Enable customer self-service
  • Improve customer service
  • Speed up order-delivery-payment process
  • Streamline various processes
  • Eliminate redundant processes

Mobile Management
Determine which of these specifications that are right for your company:

  • Native ERP-based data management vs. Cloud-based data management
  • Ability to control features and data by User/Role
  • Multi-language support
  • Multi-company support
  • Inherent business intelligence/reporting

Intended Use
Think through these ways that your company may utilize the app:

  • Access at a customer or prospect’s location
  • Access at a trade show or conference
  • Access anywhere outside the office
  • Connect with sales or service counter from your office
  • Conduct retail point-of-sale transactions
  • Use for event selling

Mobile Customer / Contact Features
Decide which of these actions are important to your company:

  • Organize by customer or by contact
  • Add customers on-the-fly
  • Add contacts on-the-fly
  • Integrate with map
  • Integrate with email
  • Integrate with phone
  • Integrate with calendar
  • Display multiple ship-to locations
  • View customer/item last purchase/history
  • View open sales orders
  • View open accounts receivable
  • Control fields displayed by User

Mobile Inventory
Decide which of these items you need to view when tracking inventory:

  • Item warehouse quantities
  • Item images/drawings/diagrams
  • Miscellaneous non-inventory items
  • Price and cost information

Mobile Sales and Delivery
Select the processes you would like to handle for sales and delivery:

  • Manage by route
  • Manage by territory
  • Manage by vehicle
  • Manage by user/sales rep/driver
  • Create quotes
  • Create orders
  • Create invoices
  • Create credits/sales returns
  • Create inventory exchanges
  • Conduct inventory check-out/check-in with inventory reconciliation
  • Reconcile payments
  • Follow native ERP pricing rules
  • Capture signature
  • Print and email receipts/orders
  • Control price overrides

Mobile B2B
Decide which of these business-to-business-friendly features you need:

  • Provide select customers with self-service app
  • Support rules regarding data access

Mobile Payments
Determine which of these mobile payment methods and features you prefer:

  • Receive payments against open invoices
  • Accept payments against new orders/invoices
  • Check
  • Credit card
  • Cash
  • Supports payment reconciliation

xkzero creates technologies to further the success of companies with supply chain management and distribution needs. Our specialty is Sage ERP and our focus is creating functional and technological solutions that are simple to deploy and have a powerfully positive impact on your bottom line.

Our guiding force is the experience of the Sage user and their customer on the other end. Our featured applications include:

Accelerating sales, improving margins, your products delivered for less–and time savings for everyone. That is the xkzero experience.

If we can help you grow please contact us at