The use of mobile solutions in German-speaking countries was the focus of a recent study by T-Systems and the University of St. Gallen. Four out of five users surveyed (82%) were convinced that apps improve efficiency in our day-to-day working lives. For users, it’s more about having personal aids that make their day-to-day lives easier, and less about the welfare of their company. This is not surprising, but what does this mean for the strategic integration of new mobile solutions in a company? Will we see a renaissance of standalone solutions in company IT landscapes?
While IT departments struggle to find the right strategy for mobile enterprise applications, a lot of users are already employing apps for business purposes. After all, they know best what they need to perform their daily tasks. So IT departments will have to create a framework on which users can find practical apps quickly, install them easily, and use them properly and safely.
There is already a huge selection of apps on the market. And about 200,000 of these little helpers are designed for business use on tablets such as the iPad. We review five of these on the following pages.
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1. SAP RealSpend
Analyze and manage budget and expenses
The SAP RealSpend mobile app for the iPad keeps users permanently abreast of their current budget and expenditures. The app connects to the SAP ERP enterprise application and allows departmental and cost center managers to extract, analyze, and manage expenses from their iPad. With SAP RealSpend, users can analyze and compare spending data by department, project, or expenditure type, for any time period. The notification function informs team members immediately in the case of expense-related issues, thus enabling them to solve those problems quickly. SAP’s proven role and user administration regulates access rights and ensures that data remains secure.
To use the SAP RealSpend mobile app with your business data, you must be using SAP ERP (Service Pack 15 or higher) and need to have your IT department enable the Mobile Services scenario. You can first try out the app with sample data.
For more information and to download the app, see the SAP RealSpend page in the iTunes App Store.
2. miCal HD
Intuitive entry at the touch of your fingers
The calendar was already a standard function on most cell phones before the term “smartphone” came about, and is already a basic app on most tablets. Nevertheless, it can still be worthwhile to look for special solutions. The miCal HD calendar for iOS is a great example. This prize-winning variant for the iPhone impresses not only with its looks, but above all with its numerous integrated special functions, such as a comprehensive three-day weather forecast including sunrise and sundown graphics and other practical weather information. The app has an intuitive, clearly structured dashboard and five different views to choose from – simply by tapping the screen. You can set up events easily and quickly thanks to customizable templates. Exporting events in iCal-format allows you to send events via e-mail to users of other calendar applications.
To download this app, see the iTunes App Store.
3. SAP Customer Briefing
Customer Relationship Management in real time
Direct customer contact is essential in customer relationship management. But often there is no time to prepare for a customer meeting thoroughly in your office. The SAP Customer Briefing app for the iPad gives sales people mobile access to the facts and figures they need when meeting with customers. The app connects to the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application and provides a detailed, real-time view of the customer’s business. Users can use their iPad to call up information about the customer, its key people, and relevant news from external Web service providers at any time and from anywhere where there is Internet access. From internal issues that affect customer satisfaction, to open, won, and lost opportunities: you can display it all.
To use the SAP Customer Briefing app, you must be using SAP CRM and need to have your IT department enable the Mobile Services scenario. You can first try out the app with sample data.
For more information and to download the app, go to the iTunes App Store.
Tap and slide your way toward visual documentation
Many companies use the mind map method of creating and structuring information to document brainstorming sessions, manage projects, and organize processes. But a lot of mind map fans feel hampered in their creativity by the PC keyboard and mouse. The Mindjet app for tablets has a touchscreen control that gives the illusion of a more intuitive environment, even if the user does have to enter the names of topics and branches via the (on-screen) keyboard. Thanks to extensive formatting options, you can quickly create attractive maps by tapping and sliding. You can also send these maps easily by e-mail, or share them with other users via the Mindjet Connect® cloud service. When sending by e-mail from a tablet, the data is automatically attached as a PDF, which means that the recipient does not need to have the Mindjet app as well. The tags feature and the ability to manage attachments and hyperlinks make this app a fully-fledged organizational tool for your office on the go.
To download this app, go to the Mindjet Web site.
Platforms: Android, iOS
5. Smart Office 2
Great for presentations
One of the most important productivity tools for employees on the move is the ability to create and process Microsoft Office documents such as MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint files. Until recently, iPad users have had to do without Microsoft Office. With the release of Smart Office 2 by Picsel, they now have a practical and relatively comfortable alternative. This app allows tablet users to display, create, process, and share Microsoft Office documents. It doesn’t quite provide all of the standard formatting options of Microsoft Office, but its range of functions does include export to PDF and the option to choose from a variety of printing devices. iPad users are therefore no longer restricted to using AirPrint-compatible printers. The app comes delivered with 16 different auto-forms for working on MS PowerPoint presentations.
For more information and to download the app, go straight to the Picsel Web site
Platforms: Android, iOS, Bada, Symbian, Windows 8 (in development)