This large industrial manufacturing company runs all key business functions from their enterprise resource planning (ERP) application on an IBM i mid-range system. The ERP application has been customized over the years to align with business requirements, as well as adjust to changes in the market. Employees have interacted with strategically located, stationary computers around the plant, connecting via terminals to the AS/400 ERP application for an internal support system, parts inventory, production, accounting, and more.
The Operations Manager explains further: “Our processes involved employees printing a lot of documents and referencing them as they roamed throughout the facility. This structure and associated processes were once the model for maximizing efficiency in the plant; however, new technologies have come to market in recent years that offer us an opportunity to improve productivity and stay ahead of the competition. We want to find a solution to make our workers more productive and minimize paperwork for roaming workers to carry around.”
The organization felt developments in mobile technology could give them a real advantage here, as mobile users with an iPad could access relevant documentation without the need to have physical copies. It looked for a solution to integrate with its unified endpoint management (UEM) solution, VMware AirWatch, so that mobile device administrators can quickly provision devices to plant workers.
Micro Focus Reflection Mobile checked off all boxes on the company’s list of requirements for remotely accessing the ERP application on the System i: barcode scanning via Bluetooth scanner, a configurable user-interface to streamline the end-user experience, integration with mobile management solutions that adhere to industry standards, and a mobile experience that users were willing to adopt.
A pilot program was introduced, giving roaming plant employees an iPhone or iPad to productively interact with the ERP application while doing their jobs. This way, they do not have to rely on kiosk terminals, which are often a far distance from where workers are located.
The Operations Manager describes the value: “We evaluated several mobile iOS applications running on an iPhone. We invested in mobile devices; however, originally the adoption rate was low due to the poor user experience with a different mobile emulator. Reflection Mobile, on the other hand, provides an outstanding user experience that our user base really likes.”
In addition, Reflection Mobile can be centrally managed by the company’s chosen mobile device management (MDM) solution, VMware AirWatch. “We like being able to customize, deploy, and manage the Reflection Mobile app within the AirWatch administrative console,” says the organization’s IT Communications Administrator.
A positive user experience is crucial in the success and adoption of this new solution. The time and effort invested in moving to a Reflection Mobile-based solution is now providing a real return in terms of productivity and efficiency. The outstanding user experience soon meant happy users.
Instead of investing in making costly changes to the core AS/400 ERP application that runs their key business functions, the company has been able to leverage a variety of other technologies, including Reflection Mobile, to transform and modernize how their employees work, while keeping the existing host application in place.
Finally, since the Reflection Mobile app adheres to mobile industry standards, the company was able to not only procure Reflection Mobile from Apple’s B2B App Store for businesses using their in-house MDM solution, VMware AirWatch, but also customize the app’s userinterface before device deployment.