Mobile ERP: Social & BYOD Baggage

Mobile ERP is on the rise. The big ERP vendors are all scrambling to release their own mobile apps. But this technology comes with it’s own baggage.

A recent report from Gartner suggests that half the world’s companies will mandate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) by 2017.

If we allow or encourage employees to bring and use their own device, how do we control that use of mobile ERP and who pays for it? How will security measures be implemented? Miguel used his own device to connect to his company’s ERP at the St. Louis airport. Let’s assume his company has provided him with security hardware and software to protect the ERP. Does he turn these off when he wants to snap a photo and email it to his wife?

There is a lot of conversation on the web about BYOD and mobile ERP. Cisco says they can manage your systems. Intel has their vision too. Oracle has software too. Canadian Tire, on the other hand, has issued 3,000 Blackberries to their employees which is another kind of answer to the question. ZDnet sponsored a debate on this more than a year ago and I don’t think we have a complete agreement yet on the right way to go. But the move toward BYOD does seem inevitable. It probably is for your ERP too so move cautiously. But keep moving.

Social Strategy

One last piece of mobile ERP is social networking. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all the others are popular and for good reason. One likely place to hook into these is the contact management module of an ERP system. Your prospect list probably should be kept apart from your beer buddies. But there might be some way to integrate the power of social networking to advantage.

Will it be defensive? You could use brand monitoring to assess your customers posts which reference your company. Is that sentiment negative? Get customer relations on it. Is that sentiment positive? Get marketing on it.

Mobile ERP is definitely here and now, but still on the way. It will definitely be part of your future ERP plans so start now and figure out how to use it to your advantage. Work hard on understanding the baggage which comes with mobile ERP, whether that is BYOD security issues, or social monitoring, and you will reap the rewards.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller