The New Expectations of ERP: Mobile Reporting and Analytics

Daniel Erickson, Director of Product Strategy, ProcessPro
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Daniel Erickson, Director of Product Strategy, ProcessPro

Daniel Erickson, Director of Product Strategy, ProcessPro

There is no doubt that people today are consumed by their relationship with digital devices. Gartner, a leading global information technology research and advisory company, notes that more than 50 percent of digital media users will use a tablet or smartphone as their first choice for all online activities by 2018. Today, individuals are accustomed to using digital media (smartphones, tablets, laptop computers) at home and in their cars, on airplanes and in restaurants. But people aren’t solely using devices for music, entertainment, or socializing. They enjoy the personal freedom to access information on-the-go. Employees are using digital devices to conduct new business, perform job-related activity away from their place of employment, and for executing their job tasks on-site at multiple locations. And if you believe digital media is the purview of sales and finance executives only, think again. Digital prowess is driving the demand for more digital options in the workplace by mid-level managers and front-line employees. This trend is affecting manufacturing in the area of mobile reporting for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

What Businesses Are Embracing This Trend?

Of course, manufacturers are still focused on other top priorities, such as planning and managing production, and handling costs, according to the “2015 ERP Snapshot” from Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), a neutral third-party advisor to companies making an ERP software selection. However, after surveying a group comprised of 57 percent small manufacturers, 31 percent midsized manufacturers, and 12 percent enterprise organizations, TEC discovered 40 percent of survey respondents planned on pursuing mobile initiatives, including exploring the possibilities of mobile ERP.

According to Gartner, “every employee is a digital employee.” Their preference for BYOD - “bring your own device”—is shaping how they want to interact with information systems. Again, it’s not just being seen in the boardroom or limited to sales. Production, supply chain, and warehouse operations managers want, even expect to use digital devices in conjunction with their jobs. Here’s why: 1) mobility means quick access and simplicity, 2) allows for targeted, meaningful visualization, 3) data interaction, and with the right tool 4) almost any device can be used for analytics and reporting.

Quick Access and Simplicity

Accessing your ERP solution’s mobile reporting and analytics software via a smartphone, laptop, or tablet mobile device can be as simple as an Internet connection and proper credentials. There is no need to be tied to a desktop PC located on company premises. Work activities can take place in a home office, on the deck, at the beach, or on the golf course. With mobile reporting and analytics, a CEO can conduct an analysis prior to a meeting, a sales manager can interact with a team member in the field or ascertain the profitability of a pending deal, and a production manager can receive alerts about any problems or trends that may be impactful to the production line.

"BYOD is a growing trend as is the tendency for employees to work off-premises or while traveling"

Meaningful Visualization

Employees on the move and out of the office can access the mobile reporting and analytics software for meaningful real-time data to assist with analyses and reporting that might present a competitive advantage. Using key performance indicators (KPI’s), business intelligence (BI) metrics, data analytics, and more, managers can see the numbers and visualize outcomes through the dash boarding of historical and real-time data, as well as the grouping, sorting, filtering, and graphing of information. This analytics reporting capability also allows the user to drill to the most meaningful data elements to spot trends. For example, a production manager might want to conduct trend analysis and generate a report comparing production volume from last year to this year, or a food inventory manager might want to monitor the efficiency of various food lines month-over-month.

Interaction

The real-time access to information on mobile reporting and analytics software allows managers the ability to interact with the data from anywhere and at any time. Data at their fingertips means managers have access to analytics that matter, recognizing and evaluating trends or problems across the organization such as seasonality changes, production performance, vendor issues, growing inventory value, gaining key insight with the ability to drill into the details. A production manager may want to monitor production output while sitting in the reception area of the doctor’s office or at his child’s soccer practice. A sales manager may want to view sales or shipping trends while on vacation. This immediacy increases response times and strengthens business relationships with customers, vendors, and other supply-chain personnel as well.

Any and All Devices

BYOD is a growing trend as is the tendency for employees to work off-premises or while traveling. This accessibility by employees with their smart devices and Internet technology, and the demand for more flexible modes of work have driven more companies to consider investments in mobile reporting and analytics software. Having remote access to this software solution can help manufacturing companies who want to increase employee engagement, efficiency, and productivity through the ranks and at all levels of work responsibility––from CEO and executive management, to sales, production, warehouse, and supply-chain managers, to ERP key users on the production floor. An ERP solution’s mobile reporting and analytics software offers simplicity of access and usage, meaningful visualization, real-time interaction, and delivers flexibility on any device and any browser.

Is mobile reporting and analytics with your ERP in your future?

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