Although there are other candidates, like Cloud and Big Data, most accept that the hottest trend in IT right now is the rise and rise of mobile devices.
Where are the best revenue opportunities to be had? Generally, as ever with IT, these are in solutions rather than hardware. Tablets are gradually replacing laptops and desktops, as the value to making users productive outside of the four walls of their office becomes obvious to organizations. Companies are starting to realize that productivity spreads beyond checking your emails, browsing and taking notes in meetings. These are things that are incidental to most people’s working lives, rather than tools that are at the core of a company’s operations.
Additionally some companies are alive to the benefits of allowing their staff to bring their own devices to work, saving the company on capital expenditure and the cost of looking after the devices, but creating a security nightmare.
So, why do most vendors seem to be behind the curve in addressing these demands?
The reasons are primarily technological. Core operational systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management, take decades to make fully functional, and the choices made by vendors at the start of their development prevent them readily rising to the challenge.
As a vendor, there are three ways to put your legacy system on a mobile device. If you have browser technology available, you can have users browse. So far, most vendors have failed in delivering complete solutions this way, given problems with performance, security, and most importantly converting the interface built for traditional computers into one that feels intuitive for the device user.
For the significant majority of vendors, choices regarding platform and development methods make it impossible for them to port a single line of their existing code onto any mobile device. On average most ERP vendors have about 25 years of legacy code built up, and their only real options are to start the huge process of coding anew on a specific mobile platform, or to hope no one notices that there is no real mobile solution available – cost issues mean most vendors have chosen the second option! Those that choose the first option address a few, key features with limited function, “role-based” apps that talk to their core systems, and trust in vaporware to bridge the gaps in customer demand.
For a lucky few vendors, like HansaWorld, it’s possible to port across code in entirety, to any mobile platform – leaving just the improvement of the interface to be done. This requires the software to be written in some variant of C, the platform-specific code to be isolated in such a way that it is readily replaced between platforms, for it to have the small footprint necessary to fit onto a small device, and for it to be fast enough over a cellphone network to support true mobility. Not surprising, then, that there are no obvious competitors who have their complete suite of ERP and CRM running on iOS, Android and Windows 8.
So, if you’re looking to move your business into this obviously lucrative area, your best choices seem to be to become an iOS developer and write apps that are specific in their functionality, or work with a vendor like HansaWorld that can offer customers a complete solution out of the box on almost any tablet and modern smartphone.
VAR Office Suite has selected HansaWorld as one of their ERP partners because of its comprehensive functionality, Worldwide installed base and its mobile connectivity. As VARs become more mobile, it is great competitive advantage to have access to their business data anytime, anywhere.
While this ERP solution can help VARs with their general accounting, HR and CRM needs, keep in mind that it can also help your SMB clients too! VARs who use this ERP technology can resell the solution to their clients and generate a significant revenue stream.