Asia firms want mobile ERP deployments

More companies are looking for mobile access to their ERP systems as employees embrace working with tablets and value the advantage of having information instantly at their fingertips.

SINGAPORE--Mobile access to enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are increasingly requested for by companies in Asia as more employees use tablet devices for work and offer real-time monitoring and analytical capabilities.

Yiew Voon Ngee, managing director at ABeam Consulting Singapore, said more business customers in Asia are asking for mobility-based ERP tools during consultations, and most of those requesting this functionality are from Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. ABeam Consulting is a Japan-headquartered IT consultancy that helps companies with ERP deployments and specializing in SAP implementations.

He attributed this surge in demand to the emergence of the "tablet generation" in today's office environments, referring to the growing adoption of devices such as Apple's iPad among workers.

Additionally, mobile also promises real-time, "instant-on" capabilities, which is something employees have come to expect--after getting used to how content is delivered almost immediately online via social media, Yiew noted.

The speed of collecting and analyzing information using ERP systems will also determine the company's success in extracting business insights that will give them an advantage over their competitors, the executive added.

Get the basics right
However, he called on companies to first get their core ERP systems in order to get the most value out of the implementation and keeping costs low, before contemplating the inclusion of mobile access.

Yiew said ERP is the "backbone" of any company. While some organizations have been treating is as just another IT project, more enlightened management teams are paying more attention to how the system is deployed since it defines how the company will use it over the next 10 years, he said.

" ERP is common, but it's a major investment," he stressed.

The executive recognized the recent hype among enterprises has centered on social software, particularly with tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM), that focus on the front end of one's business. That said, ERP remains a necessity to be competitive as it improves efficiency, even if it is usually used for back-office operations, he pointed out.

Companies have also expressed thoughts on running their ERP applications on third-party hosting sites and data centers , but Yiew said the option of going cloud is evaluated on a case-by-case basis due to several factors at play.

These factors include the amount of confidential or sensitive data a company handles, the complexity of its business processes, and the tolerance for having less flexibility to make changes to cloud-based ERP applications, he stated.

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