CRM/ERP Mobile Capabilities or MADP ?
Evolution of mobility as a channel has added a huge set of opportunity to the functionality available in ERP / CRM systems. Till a few years back, it was pre dominantly a web based and a desktop / laptop based application with majority of the functionality available online. Wireless Technology as a channel has added a lot more complexity to already complex ERP / CRM systems. Below are the typical questions that any ERP/CRM product company faces while providing functionality on the mobile channel
- What functionality will make sense on mobile platform?
- What are the devices to support?
- How to keep the support up-to-date for ever changing mobile devices and be future proof?
- How to cater to the data required from sources outside of ERP / CRM?
- How to handle Mobile Device Management?
- How to handle offline and synchronization capabilities?
The basic strength of any ERP / CRM solution is in handling a business process seamlessly. It provides all the data, validations and safeguards related to any particular function like HR, finance, procurement etc. Mobility as a channel for ERP / CRM is an emerging one right now and has not become mainstream as a desktop / laptop based web application. So it has been observed that the mobile offering which is provided out of the box by any CRM / ERP provider has strong points like integration with backend being readily available, output on selected devices readily available. However because of the inherent nature of the offering it has some constraints also as follows
- The offering is tightly integrated with ERP / CRM at the backend. It is not flexible to integrate with back ends apart from ERP / CRM itself
- It typically targets only specific devices / handsets. So the device diversity which is a hallmark of the mobile world is a challenge to handle
- Many times the offering is available only on one channel. E.g. browser channel. If one has to extend it to the other channels like native or hybrid, that capability is either not present or one has to spend a lot of effort for extension
- The offline and synchronization capabilities are limited
- For extending the capability on SMS / Push / USSD channels, there is a custom development required
The usage of a Mobile application Development platform (MADP) can address majority of the issues mentioned above at the same time providing simplicity in development. It provides one with faster and smarter way of building mobile applications for not just the ERP / CRM application, but any consumer or enterprise application.
Finally the choice of a particular approach for developing mobile applications based on CRM / ERP is really driven by the business need of the mobile application, the target user segments and devices, type of channels one wants to utilize, time to market and many more. One has to evaluate the options available keeping in view the long term view and comprehensive mobility needs of an organization.