Home > 06.10.19 Using ERP Mobility to Streamline Business Processes

Using ERP Mobility to Streamline Business Processes


Turning deskbound business processes into ones that can be performed anywhere increases agility and enables new ways of doing business. That makes intelligent use of mobile apps a big win for any business.

The catch? Delivering simple, usable mobile apps is not necessarily simple when you need to connect to a back-end system such as an ERP. That is particularly true if you rely on tools and methodologies that tend to magnify, rather than reduce, complexity.  

The good news is you can avoid committing to long mobile development projects that will explode your budget and exhaust your staff.  

Creating and Maintaining Mobile Business Apps

Often, the greatest potential for using mobility for competitive advantage lies in mobile access to custom reports and business processes, not just standard ERP application reports. Even some standard ERP functions may not be readily available to mobile users through the apps and frameworks provided by ERP vendors.

By following your own Business-Driven Roadmap for mobility, rather than depending on an ERP vendor's product roadmap, you can deliver the apps that will make the biggest difference for your business. The trick is figuring out how to create those apps within a reasonable budget and level of effort.

While there are many mobile application development tools on the market, most of our clients aren't eager to go down a path that requires them to hire a team of developers and train them on a mobile application development framework, followed by months of development.

That's why we introduced Rimini Street Mobility, which is designed for maximum simplicity. Instead of coding, you do a quick field-by-field mapping of web-based ERP screens to mobile app screens using drag-and-drop tools. Customizable templates minimize development effort. In most cases, we can show you a complete proof-of-concept app within a few days to a week.

The other pitfall to avoid is the need to continually patch apps in response to mobile OS updates, performed ad hoc by device providers, which have the potential to break your apps. If you let your organization get trapped in a cycle of continually patching to mitigate mobile OS upgrades, ERP mobility applications can quickly go from "convenience for the user" to "headache for IT."

Cure Your Mobility Headache

Use of Rimini Street Mobility can help avoid OS update glitches. Based on a managed cloud solution, Rimini Street Mobility continually adapts to changes in the mobile environment, eliminating the need for you or your staff to worry about app patching.

Common ERP mobility apps include checking inventory updates and processing customer orders, as well as processing purchase requisitions and purchase orders. In many cases, you can improve essential business processes by simply mobilizing them. Give employees and executives immediate access to corporate information ⁠— with the ability to act on it — from anywhere.

To protect ERP security, each mobile named user must be credentialed with a user ID for the back-end application. Because it works with each sanctioned user's access ID for authorized application access, access is determined by the same ERP security permissions and access roles.

Credentialed access can also limit potential sources of "indirect access" in relation to mobile interaction with SAP applications.

Credentialed apps mimic the ERP back-end transaction or report functionality from a mobile phone or tablet user interface, with forms and fields that adapt to the screen size of each device. Development tools are agnostic, working with one or many web-accessible ERP applications.

Our observation is that ERP vendors tend to reserve their best mobile functionality innovations for those who have upgraded to the latest cloud product versions and applied all the latest patches. Rimini Street's clients  frequently seek to get off the treadmill of paying steep maintenance contract fees in return for upgrades they don't need and support that is often slow and inadequate.

We help you get more value out of the ERP products you have already licensed.

Example: Employee Convenience, Processing to Completion

One of our construction industry clients has been using Oracle's iExpense application, along with Oracle's Time and Labor Reporting application for years, processing transactions exclusively from laptop or desktop devices. This client considered Oracle's mobile app for expense reporting and determined that it would be too difficult to implement.

Using Rimini Street Mobility, our team validated a mobile app for expense filing with a guided proof-of-concept for mobile phones and tablets. The app replicated ERP functionality, creating a streamlined process that allowed employees in the field to create template expense reports requiring a minimum amount of data entry on the mobile device. That allowed employees to file expense reports more quickly, with greater convenience, and resulted in better efficiency for accounting and labor management.

Rimini Street applies the same mobility deployment approach to any web-based ERP applications. We also help you deploy mobility judiciously. Not every ERP function needs to be accessible to mobile users, and users can easily be overwhelmed by too many apps or too many functions in a single app.

For example, when we were working with a client on a time off approval app, we realized there was little to be gained by making the manager approval process accessible via mobile app. The bigger payoff came from letting employees see in a calendar view when their request overlapped with time off requests from their colleagues and make adjustments as necessary.

What you want to deliver is targeted mobile access to information and transactions that improve productivity and efficiency, boost sales and disrupt what deserves to be disrupted in your industry. Most clients can think of several such scenarios without trying very hard.

A Faster Payoff from Mobility

Competitive advantage requires companies to operate more efficiently, more effectively and with a greater passion to reduce complexity, than their peers. Mobility is a powerful tool for achieving those goals.

In our guided proof-of-concept, we help you validate each mobile use case and provide direct evidence of compatibility with your business processes.

Rimini Street Mobility is offered exclusively to our clients, with subscription and project development costs that  fit within your budget. Apps can be developed and deployed within days, not weeks or months. Contact your account manager for details on how to add Rimini Street Mobility.

Watch our webinar, Rapidly Deploy a Hybrid ERP Mobility Solution Across the Enterprise, for a deeper dive into how you can scale your mobility opportunities.

Rapidly Deploy a Hybrid ERP Mobility Solution Across the Enterprise

Learn how you can deploy a mobility solution in weeks, not months and directly impact orchestration issues that typically cause delays in workforce enablement – without complexity.

Jerry LoCascio

Jerry LoCascio, Director, ERP Manufacturing Applications

Jerry LoCascio was an IBM Product Manufacturing Engineer / Product Development Engineer for 15 years before beginning a career in SAP Software Development and Implementation Deployments, also at IBM. In more than 20 years of SAP consulting, he tackled many merger and acquisition projects as well as conversions from Oracle to SAP applications. At Rimini Street, he applies that insight to helping clients manage and enhance their ERP applications, adding features such as mobility and improved analytics and by enabling improved support for business teams and innovations for business processes.