Skip to Content

GET THE SYSTEMS INTEGRATION FIGURED OUT

Systems integration is not something you hear much about in conversations about mobile user experience – yet it does have a major impact on the usability and performance of your solution.

How tightly you’re able to integrate your app with your backend systems and other data sources defines what features will be available to mobile users, and how much effort they’ll have to exert to accomplish basic tasks. For example, if your field service solution could not get complete parts lists and failure resolution codes from your ERP system, and instead required the user to type these in every time rather than select them from a drop-down list, then that wouldn’t make for a very usable field service app. Companies run into such hurdles more often than you may think, so pay close attention to your or your vendor’s integration strategy as you start your project.

The other way that systems integration may impact user experience is by eliminating unnecessary steps in data entry and retrieval. Modern mobile platform technology lets you create something that’s called “composite applications”. These are apps that are actually fed by several of your enterprise systems and data sources at once, while presenting a unified, seamless user interface to the mobile worker. For example, your mobile sales app may integrate with inventory management, CRM and purchasing systems at the same time, letting your sales person check inventory, close the sale and place the customer order on a few simple screens. The ability to create such integrated workflows and eliminate the need to toggle between multiple applications to get the job done is a major enabler of a highly usable mobile app.

Finally, the quality of your integration tools has a big impact on the basic performance of your mobile application. For many data-intensive mobile solutions, such as asset management or mobile sales, the app’s ability to quickly synchronize relevant information between the back-end system and the device is paramount. For example, solutions that are optimized to only synchronize changes, rather than the entire database at every sync, will perform much better when the data load gets high. Additional optimization may let you further reduce sync times by only downloading changes that are relevant to that specific employee. Remember, day-to-day performance is a crucial contributor to a trustworthy mobile user experience, and the quality of your integration technology is a big driver of that.

To report this post you need to login first.

3 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Matt Harding

    Hi Joe,

    Probably a left field question (that should potentially be posted in a Syclo forum) but related to your User Experience Systems Integration blog above is obviously the need to ensure that Single Sign-on is available for end-users so that they log into their mobile devices and never have to enter another password (unless it requires more security).

    That said, with Syclo, I’ve recently been advised by our SI that you need to use the ERP username/password for connectivity to the back-end (during syncing perhaps, but not sure exactly what use cases require it) and that AD SSO is not supported for SAP. Do you know if Syclo supports Active Directory password login through to the SAP backend, or X509 certificates for SSO or is only ERP username/password supported with an SAP ERP backend? I’m really hoping SSO options not requiring yet another password is supported on most devices.

    Cheers,

    Matt

    (0) 
  2. Joe Granda Post author

    At this point only ERP logon is supported.  SSO is an open feature request that will be reviewed by SAP/Syclo Product Development in the next planning cycle.

    (0) 
    1. Matt Harding

      Thanks for clarifying that Joe as this is really important for customers to know.

      I do have to state ironically from a user experience perspective, the first thing I talk about is that the ERP logon is dead (except for administrators and the like) and Active Directory or similar provides the only network password you need (and should only ask for it when logging in). Well I don’t say that to customers and more talk about passwords and SSO, but you get the idea. 

      For mobile devices, we would potentially use a different (short) password in conjunction with a certificate that is common to unlocking the phone or obtaining access to apps (e.g. SUP provides this already).

      In other words, in my opinion, this has got to be the highest priority feature you need as this is 2013 and I do honestly believe the ERP password for general users is and should be dead! Any detailed plans for release of this feature would be appreciated…

      Thanks again,

      Matt

      (0) 

Leave a Reply