Now You Can Access Your Mobile Apps Through A Desktop
Having decided on your mobile application to replace paper forms and pep up the performance of your field based workers the other equally important consideration is the back office software non mobile staff use.
The mobile app is often thought to be the first and only consideration in an enterprise mobility project.
But having the ability to access your mobile apps through a desktop can add value to the remote workforce and can help the business move away from the rudimentary Excel or paper based systems in the back office that are so common.
The back office system is usually the hub of a business. Without it office staff cannot enter customer orders, find customer information, check the status of jobs in or assigned out to the field, manage users, view reports send invoices and edit stock. Even with the rise of mobile products and apps it is likely that people are still going to be sitting at a desk doing business oriented tasks for some time to come.
Traditionally Back Office Systems Are:
1. Paper based forms.
2. A database built locally made up of Excel sheets or in MS Access.
3. Billing/Account system like Sage.
4. CRM/ERP i.e. SAP and MS Dynamics
Many companies still run their businesses on reams of paper or may have progressed to using Excel or Access. So building a mobile app to increase the effectiveness of remote staff is a real opportunity to think about the back office in a new way.
An accounting application such as Sage is very good at accounting but has no real functionality to create jobs assign them to a mobile worker or create a PDF report on job completion.
Similarly if a customer has spent ten’s of thousands on a large ERP system it will contain all the backend features/data required so only integration between the mobile app and ERP system is required. In some scenarios further data processing is required before it is transmitted into the ERP system. A desktop app/batch process can be developed to create this functionality. The issue with custom development within a CRM or ERP system is simply cost. It can be very expensive to have a custom function developed and any further changes are very expensive.
Desktop Portal Benefits
Even when accounting or CRM/ERP systems exist a specific desktop app as in our Pest Control product will allow a user in the office to enter new customer details straight into the desktop and using a built in scheduler deploy it to the most suitable worker at the appropriate time slot and manage changes dynamically. The management of ongoing activities and production of reports can also be managed through this desktop portal.
In just about every case the ability to access your mobile apps and critical business data through a desktop portal on the mobile side can prove just as useful as having mobile devices in the first place. It also ties in well with managing permissions for mobile device management MDM.
How to Build it ?
As ever there are a few options. A software house can custom make an office solution you could buy off the shelf or if you have the skills and patience go DIY. The other option is to use the platform being used for the mobility project.
After all it uses the same approach to data management and the reports will be derived from the data being generated in the field anyway. With these tools the provider can quickly develop applications for PDA and desktop pulling from the same resources. Applications can be viewed on a desktop via a native OS client or browser based.
Whatever your application we can show you examples of how you can access your mobile apps through a desktop portal.