Using mobile applications in a small and medium sized business (SMB) allows the streamlining of business processes for on-the-go employees and executives and creates efficiency across the organization. There are many processes and areas within a SMB that can use mobile applications. There are also various ways to deliver mobile application solutions across the company. These various solutions use either Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs), a vendor supplied mobile solution, writing a special mobile application, or using thin client functionality.
Within a SMB, there are many different uses of mobile applications. Here, are just a few of them:
• CRM Integration
• Supply Chain Management
• Field Sales
• Preventive Maintenance
• Equipment Monitoring
• Shop Floor Management
• Asset Management
• Production Status
With this wide variety, it’s important to have a system in place to manage them. If we are looking at a mobile application strategy across an enterprise, a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) is useful in the process of developing, deploying and maintaining.
Use A Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP)
Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs) are becoming more popular, and Gartner believes that, in 2012, more than 95% of organizations will pick a bundled mobile application vendor or a MEAP for their principal mobile development platform. A Mobile Enterprise Application Platform is for those companies looking for a long term strategic approach to first developing and then deploying mobile applications. But it goes beyond just developing and deploying mobile applications, MEAPs allow companies to test, develop and manage multiple mobile applications across the company. A company may have many different networks, devices and user groups in the organization. Therefore, MEAPs will help manage all that diversity long term, unlike many standalone apps. However, it is important to note that a MEAP strategy takes years to deploy.
Write a special mobile application for a specific situation
Another method for developing mobile applications is to have them written inside of the company for each specific situation. By hiring a mobile application developer, the company will be able to dictate the specifics for the project and develop them right into the application. This is an ideal method when there isn’t a standard “out of the box” solution, and if the company prefers to retain control over the code.
Use a vendor supplied Mobile solution
Using a vendor supplied mobile solution is just another option when bringing mobile applications into the organization. There is a variety of vendor supplied mobile solutions for various problems. Many of these are out of the box and can be customized to the company’s specific needs. Some vendor supplied solutions give the option to the customer for additional support. This is a good option if the company is going to start with one mobile solution and it’s a common one that already has vendor developed and supported products.
Use Thin Client functionality
Using Thin Client functionality is a great option when your mobile application can be dependent on the server processing. The mobile device would send the data requests to the remote servers. The remote servers would process the request and send it back to the mobile device. While using the Thin Client functionality, a Service Management Framework is recommended to maximize user quality and experience. Service Management Framework manages the resources from both the client and server side to ensure the environment is working correctly.
Mobile applications are essential for the manufacturing industry as they help increase productivity, efficiency and streamline processes. There are various areas within the SMB that would benefit from a mobile application, including compliance, CRM integration, procurement, supply chain management and so on. Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs) are one way of deploying and managing a mobile application across the company but this takes time. The other options are to develop a mobile application in-house, buying a vendor solution or using thin client functionality. Each of these options has different benefits; therefore, it’s important to evaluate each one to find the best solution for the company.