Multi-channel Implications for ERP

I attended a recent presentation by the Australian Financial Review, where they presented some research finding that they had done with Frost & Sullivan.

The study, called e-commerce in a multichannel world, conducted by Financial Review Business Intelligence and Frost & Sullivan and sponsored by technology provider NetSuite, shows that more than 50 per cent of Australian businesses now use the Internet to place orders, and well over a quarter are using it to receive orders.

The current market is estimated to be of the order of 12% of GDP at AUD$180bn and forecast to grow to AUD$300bn by 2017. The survey looked at both B2B and B2C use of e-commerce and it appears that the typical mid-market wholesale/distribution company uptake of e-commerce has been solid, with B2B usage now greater than B2C

However, businesses are struggling to evolve their e-commerce strategies due to the increasingly dizzying array of digital channels and devices used to access the internet.








Some 69 per cent expected internet inquiries and 68 per cent expected internet purchasing to be the most rapidly expanding channels in the next two years. However, little real progress is being made with concernsincluding:

  • Changing internal processes to support online
  • Expense of running a transactional website
  • Concerns about cannibalisation of existing channels via e-commerce

The great drivers of multi-channel developments, the smartphone and tablet were poorly supported with less than 50 per cent of businesses told the study they had websites optimised for modern mobile devices. Only 43 per cent were already comfortable, whereas 34 per cent said they would be up to speed within two years.

How prepared is your business for mult-channel e-commerce?

Why Mobile is critical to your ERP

If you want to be successful marketing at senior levels of B2B prospects you need to enable you web presence and systems to:

  • Handle web queries via Mobile
  • Market to visitors on Mobile devices
  • Deliver relevant content to a mobile enabled device
  • Drive the “buyers journey” on a mobile

Mobile is hot, but generally considered in the context of B2C rather than B2B businesses. A couple of new reports/graphs summarised here indicates that B2B and particulalry senior B2B executives have jumped ahead of the mass market.

The drivers behind this are:

  1. High penetration of smart-phones in senior management
  2. Lack of ‘desk’ time means that senior management needs access whilst mobile

The key behind success in this markt is to deliver a good mobile expereience across ALL phases of the sales cycle. Here’s a couple of data points to support the argument.

One-quarter of B2B ecommerce professionals around the world said the mobile web was one of the most influential touchpoints for their customers.

Key content

28% of USA B2B C-level executives used a mobile phone to research business purchases, compared to 25% of those outside the C-suite.  This was even more apprent on tablets, where 21% of the C-level used a tablet compared to and 12% for those outside the C-suite.

Compare Mobile and Tablets









Mobility and Enterprise Software

Whether you are currently evaluating an ERP/CRM solution or looking to modernise and align your current  platforms, mobility will or should be high on your criteria list.

The business drivers include

Higher productivity – of customer facing sales and support staff whilst out of the office

Better response times to customer queries – we expect the same response times of suppliers, wherever they are

Complete information at hand when on the road – if there is any doubt, a customer can order off Amazon and it will arrive at an expected date – you need to at least match that experience

Analyst firm Forrester forecasts that 82 million consumers will own tablets by 2015. That the average smart device owner currently has 30 to 40 apps, and one-third of owners download new apps monthly. These apps are not just small bits of functionality but are increasingly connected to and dependent on a limitless supply of data through wireless technology and the cloud. These Mobile Apps will require significant change within an organisation in order to deliver the high value expected.

The interesting element is that Mobile does not mean phone or email – they are projects already completed. Mobile functionality being envisaged now expects that ERP and CRM projects to be available and complete. The next generation of  Mobility covers:

  • Business Process Management/Automation (BPM projects) – extending out the business process
  • Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) – allowing ‘what-if ‘questions and powerful query
  • Location based services – such as GPS

Just as the web has radically changed some industries and what a successful business model may be, the Mobile worker and device will likely affect the operating models of businesses in the short term before radically reshaping business models.

If you are interested in reading more, download our Mobile CRM Guidebook, or add it as an area in your ERP Checklist.







Mobile Devices and Enterprise Applications – 2012 Trends

CRM for Mobile


This article from Mobile Enterprise looks at the Top 10 applications for Mobile’s within the Enterprise. Key take-outs:

  • Mobile is Number 2 application behind Business Intelligence
    • Email, Calender and Contacts that was number 1 focus in 2011 is down at number 9 (last year’s project)
    • Most of these CRM systems will be built using 3rd party software( less than 12% ‘built’ by the Enterprise)

Download the “Choose the Right Solution” Guidebook for more information.





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Mobile – trends and implications

The top 20% (of ERP installations) by aggregate performance scores also enjoy an 80% advantage in having access to ERP with mobile devices.

Sales is in transition, with laptop/computers being replaced by tablets. However, they are not ‘just’ screens, but  mobile applications.

Such mobile applications offer sales organizations a mobile sales tool kit with up-to-the minute videos, brochures, pricing, statistics, technical information, contact management functions, promotions, information on competitors and tools for creating proposals, quotes and contracts.

Those mobile applications are not a one-size-fits-all product. They are replacing the generic ERP/CRM mobile client with a more wholistic toolset that is

  • Visually Appealing
  • Easy and Intuitive
  • Easily updated
  • Content rich
  • Consistent
  • Includes real-time data

Mobile apps improve productivity according to the Yankee Group and this is covered in more detail in Mobile Productivity gains.

Mobile – Productivity Benefits for ERP

A recent Yankee Group survey “Anywhere Enterprise–Large: U.S. Mobility and Applications Survey”  identified that businesses can realize the following advantages from mobile business apps:

* Increased field selling time: 28 percent

* Eliminated redundant activities: 27 percent

* Increased win rates: 26 percent

* Reduced sales calls costs: 25 percent

* Increased forecast accuracy: 25 percent

* Decreased administrative time: 24 percent

* Decreased sales cycle: 23 percent

However, point solutions seem to be back! I mean that the generic front-end of the ERP you choose won’t ‘cut the mustard’ these days. These applications are new, often tablet based and:

Such mobile applications offer sales organizations a mobile sales tool kit with up-to-the minute videos, brochures, pricing, statistics, technical information, contact management functions, promotions, information on competitors and tools for creating proposals, quotes and contracts

If you need Mobile productivity, then add it to your list of requirements in this ERP Checklist.

Mobile ERP

A mobile workforce with access to information in real-time is key for “At the Coalface” credibility for sales and customer service staff. Here is an example from SAP and their Business One package. It looks at how they integrate with the iPhone and shows in a short demo the sorts of capabilities you may need – such as Business Intelligence and reporting.