With the growing number of mobile professionals, it's only fitting that they be able to make more critical business decisions from their mobile devices.
And SAP, a widely popular maker of client- and server-based business software, specifically enterprise resource planning software, can now be as close as a cell phone.
3i Consulting Group has rolled out the Mobile Workplace Server, which extends the SAP Business Workplace to any web-enabled mobile device from BlackBerry, Palm, Pocket PC to a host of others. SAP users can access SAP Workflow to execute any decision-based task from anywhere, including purchase orders, requisition releases, invoice approvals and quality notification reviews. Users receive an e-mail on their device and make the decision there. The information is immediately sent to the SAP server for processing once a decision is made.
Alon Raskin, principal for 3i Consulting, said extending untethered SAP access fills a void in a market where several key business applications are already pushed to mobile devices.
"This allows people to use their BlackBerry or Palm to make critical decisions right on their device," he said.
With mobile SAP, Raskin said, an out-of-town manager can make an invoice payment in real-time, which could mean the difference between paying a higher or lower price.
"With Mobile Workplace, users can now review and approve [or] reject almost anything, whenever they want and wherever they are," he said. "Just because an engineer is out in the field or a manager is on the road does not mean that work has to stop."
Right now, the Mobile Workplace Server is in pilot testing in North America and is available for sale. The cost will vary by the number of users.
Raskin said using SAP requires entering a username and password, then scrolling to the specific application. There is a small amount of difference in the screen appearance, he said.
The server requires minor configuration on the SAP server side and has to be run on a 32-bit Windows machine, Raskin said.