Daily Archives: November 27, 2014

Procurement Trend #12. BYOD Mobile Procurement

Nine trumped-up trends still haunt us, and it’s probably best that LOLCat has been trapped in a box by the Futurists as these are nine trends he doesn’t want to waste any of his nine lives thinking about. Plus, at some point we’re probably going to have to call in Scooby Doo to sniff out whatever it is that the futurists have been smoking because it’s hard to believe that anyone lucid would utter such statements.

So why do so many historians keep rambling on about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Mobile Procurement? Did they all upgrade their old Nokia flip phones to iPhone 6s and Sony XPerias all at once and realize that you could do more on a digital phone than just send a text? I don’t know, but I do know that:

  • everybody in the corporate world has at least one portable device
    and most people have 2 or 3 (that they carry everywhere)
  • modern smart phones and tablets have more power than early laptops
    and much higher screen resolutions to boot
  • software providers have contracted mobile fever
    and this isn’t necessarily a good thing

So what does this mean?

A plethora of portables

Go mobile where mobile makes sense and go wired where it does not. What do I mean by this? The software, and the device it runs on, should support the workflow and not the other way around. For example, inventory and procurement software should support the creation of goods receipts on a mobile device in the hands of a warehouse worker on the floor and the creation of new spend cubes by an analyst at her desk with a big screen monitor, not the other way around. Busy executives need the ability to approve requisitions and invoices on their mobile devices when they are on the go and have five minutes, but I wouldn’t let a payable clerk set up ACHs on her smartphone just because she can (for many, many reasons).

Portable power

Portables are powerful, and you can take advantage of that to allow a team member visiting a supplier to take notes on her tablet as she walks the plant, view reports that need to be discussed with the supplier, use the collaboration components of the software to message and video conference with her peers, and so on. But, as per the last paragraph, only use the power when it makes sense to do so. Just like power often drives people mad, overengineering the software just because you can leads to a maddening experience for the end user. When I want to see the shipment error rate I just want to see the $%^&* shipment error rate — I don’t want a 3-D spinning infographic that I have to twist and twirl to try and find the one number I need.

Mobile Madness

Every time your employee gets a shiny new mobile device, he’s going to want every excuse to play with his shiny new toy. Don’t give it to him. Stick to your guns and make sure the software you use only supports mobile interfaces where those interfaces make sense. Your employees aren’t paid to play on mobile devices, they’re paid to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes that’s on the phone. Sometimes that’s on the tablet. And sometimes that’s on the old-school desktop box hardwired into the LAN that is at, of all places, the employee’s desk! Imagine that!