With mobile hand-helds like iPads and cell phones working in conjunction with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, mobile communication has been credited with being instrumental in actually creating national uprisings and revolutions. The advent of mobile communications, in fact, has literally revolutionized the entire world, whether it's having emails sent right to your pocket wherever you are, checking an online app to find the nearest parking spot, or looking to find the latest weather forecast, sports scores, or stock prices.
However, these are mostly just small potatoes. With an estimated six out of the seven billion people inhabiting our planet now having access to some type of mobile device, mobile communication has become a huge enterprise and mobile enterprise applications are being created for a seemingly unlimited number of purposes. Whether it's for social use, entertainment, informational, or strictly business related, mobile enterprise applications are here to stay and are, in fact, just getting started with the way they're influencing the way we do the things we do.
It's All in the Clouds
What you may not have realized is that all of this developing mobile communication has been a direct result of the existence of cloud computing. Without cloud computing you would likely still be tethered to your desktop computer running desktop applications and having to invest in new hardware and software every time the technologies were even slightly upgraded. Now, with all that hardware and those software applications existing out there somewhere in the cloud, all you really need in order to stay in touch and stay current is some type of appropriate communicating device and an internet connection. This is having a huge impact on business, especially in the area of creating a more level playing field for smaller enterprises that have heretofore been reluctant to make large capital investments in IT equipment.
ERP, CRM, and Mobile Enterprise Applications
If your company has adopted a system of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as a way of reducing inventory and material expenditures, lowering labor costs and improving sales, cash flow and customer service, then enterprising mobile applications present a great opportunity to improve things even more. This is especially true when applied to the areas of sales, customer relationship management (CRM), outside field work, and shop floor manufacturing activities.
ERP, which has the great advantage of facilitating the real-time flow of information across various business functions and throughout the different departments within your company, is greatly enhanced when certain mobile applications are added. Take, for example, someone working out in the field at remote locations, moving from one spot to another collecting data. With a mobile application tied into your enterprise's ERP set-up and available to this individual, he or she could input the collected data on the fly while in the field, rather than having to take detailed notes and then come back to the office in order to input the information into the system.
You can see in the above outlined scenario that access to a mobile application makes the field services employee's job easier and quicker and presents less of a chance of errors being made. It also allows for the collection of important data to be entered in real-time, providing access to others immediately, rather than having to wait for the lag time occurring between data collection and input.
Another example of the benefits of your enterprise employing applications that are mobile is on the manufacturing floor. A manager going from one area to another used to have to take notes and then go back to the office in order to transfer that data into the system. With a mobile application, this data can be entered while on the go, from whatever location the individual happens to be at the time.
Software as a Service
With more businesses moving their IT emphasis away from hardware as a major factor and since cloud computing makes the need for on-site hardware and software much less important, systems are becoming more "application-centric." This simply allows the functionality of your basic ERP system to be more agile and flexible than before and to provide an even tighter real-time factor to many of your cross-departmental communications.