How to implement a mobile ERP with minimum disruption

We all want mobile applications today.  We want to use our ERP as easily as Trump tweets.  How can we do implement a mobile ERP with minimum disruption?

Develop your own app?

Your mobile ERP application can be developed in-house.  People with the basic skill are available and some would like to work for your company.  Many ERP systems already come with mobile applications ready to be used.  If those meet your needs, that could be a better path.  But if your ERP provider wants an arm and a leg for an application you could develop in two days you might reconsider.  The right answer is different for each company.  Vendor-provided apps will have a common look and feel.  In-house apps should be designed with a similar familiarity.

Customize your mobile ERP

If you can’t or don’t want to develop your own app, make sure the one you are buying is fine-tuned to your needs. ERP is a huge tool and it makes no sense to reproduce what works well at a computer screen with transactions that will be cumbersome on a small hand-held device.  You might consider designing mobile ERP workflows to specifically fit the devices you use - this makes good business sense.

Use this step-by-step guide to ERP implementation to install new software with minimum disruption

For example, your salesperson is at a prospect’s place of business and has just received a credit application.  Instead of scanning the entire document, enter only a URL and link it to the account number for that prospect.  This action can trigger the credit department people to approve the new account and set a credit limit.  The approval can be a reply on the salesperson’s mobile device.  Think carefully about what is right for your business.

Set concrete expectations

Your users should understand that transactions input on a less powerful hand-held processor will take longer than they are used to.  Have your users participate in testing.  They will let you know which transactions are better on the mobile device even though they take more time because the immediacy is valuable.  They will also see which transactions never make sense even though they are possible.

Ensure the system has a good UX

You can easily shrink the page designed for a monitor to such a tiny size it fits on that mobile device.  Or, you could strip away unneeded fields and break the transaction into components that fit nicely on that small screen.

Decide on a suitable operating system

There are two primary operating systems for mobile ERP.  Will you support only one?  Which one?  Or, is it necessary to support both?  Deciding on the one that fits your mobile personnel will keep the disruption minimized.  Add another system later if it makes sense.

Mobile is a requirement now for many of our ERP systems.  Look carefully at the options and make improvements with minimum disruption.

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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

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Tom Miller

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