Use the right app for your business

The use of apps is increasing, year on year. Apps add another layer of personalisation onto our mobile devices; they allow us to seek tailored information with just one touch. With nearly two million available on Apple, and even more on Google play – there’s an app for nearly everything imaginable.

In a world where time equals money, the utilisation of apps is growing in the business community too. Company personnel are increasingly seeing apps appearing on their desktops and mobile devices to support their work. This is certainly true for companies that use business systems such as SAP – a software package used by many organisations across the globe.

Bjorn Harzer, is a business application specialist with more than 16 years’ experience in IT and Supply Chain processes. Having worked for a global conglomerate (Mercedes in his native Germany), he’s considered to be bit of an app hero – in 2015 he won an app developers challenge, sponsored by SAP – and works for leading SAP consultancy, Absoft.

Bjorn Harzer

Bjorn is passionate about using apps to improve and streamline business processes and is constantly on the lookout for scenarios where apps could significantly improve the life of the employee and their organisation.

One such scenario is approving spend on third party goods and services. Most businesses consider it imperative to manage their supplier spend and as such want their managers to have a clear understanding of budget status and potential impact before they approve or reject new spend requests. Businesses want these approval decisions to be informed decisions – but also to be made quickly.

Recognising this scenario as being a great candidate for an app, Bjorn and the developers at Absoft created the Self-Service Procurement Application.

The app brings many benefits; it routes approvals to the right person and gives that person the chance to remotely approve purchase requisition and company spends, quickly.

Simple and efficient, it streamlines processes even whilst working remotely and offline, offering clients further flexibility, and reduces maverick and indirect spends.

The team aimed to make the app as simple to utilise as possible, and came up against some challenges in its creation.

Bjorn explained: “Basically, this is a mobile device management solution and mobile screens are far smaller than a PC or a laptop. So, getting all the required information for managers to make informed decisions on a mobile device was quite challenging. This is a key benefit of the app, so it was really important that we got it right.

“As well as being easy to navigate and use, the app has to look good too. We took this into consideration when designing; an app that’s too complicated to use will only put users off. We also wanted potential issues to be flagged up in advance, and users guided towards preventing them.”

Central to any application that holds confidential information are the security issues associated. Data stored on the device should be encrypted if the device is lost. In such case it is also vital that the application can be wiped of sensitive details remotely.

Bjorn continued: “Not only can the app work offline – which is highly beneficial if the user is travelling for example – but we can also clear all information from the device if it is lost and ends up in the wrong hands.

“In terms of security, we spent time considering the best method of authentication – we all have enough combinations and passwords to remember, so we wanted to make it simple. This was probably the hardest part. Much like many banking apps, we’ve made it a Pin code and fingerprint authorisation. Managers can literally make spending decisions with one touch.”

The versatile app is being developed and tailored for a number of Absoft’s clients across a range of industries. It will vastly enhance cost control benefiting and productivity.

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