What are LOB Applications?
LOB (Line-Of-Business) Applications are applications specifically created to answer a business process or a business need. These applications are created for and used by a subset of the company and customized to their daily business process. Generally LOB applications will “plug” onto larger systems like ERP or CRM and exchange data with these. Some common examples of LOB applications are automotive dealership management systems, supply chain management solutions, HR approvals and payroll applications, warehouse management, etc.
Mobile LOB applications are Line-Of-Business applications created for the mobile field force. These are partially connected applications that provide functionality optimized for the mobile user.
Mobile Route Accounting exemplifies a typical mobile application. As per Wikipedia, A route accounting system is a business software system or ERP system that captures, records, and costs sales transactions for distributors with mobile warehouses, usually trucks, operating as direct store distributors, van sales, pre-sell, delivery confirmation.
The Mobile Workforce
Workforces are increasingly going mobile with more and more users adopting smartphones and tablets for both personal and professional use. Beyond the standard activities of web browsing and checking email, users tend to use their mobiles for a variety functions such as note taking, paying bills, keeping track of their finances, etc.
With the increased use and higher affinity for smartphones and tablets, employees of large companies constantly seek to take more of their current business functions mobile as well. Small business reps who are in the field most of the time see a critical requirement have key customer information data at their fingertips and the ability to be able to close deals in the field.
At the turn of the century, a large number of international companies with large field forces went mobile on the best possible technology solutions available at that time. Applications on rugged Windows Mobile computers, PalmOS devices, etc. were rolled out for the field force and provided the task oriented functionality. The applications were highly usable. As more advanced mobile devices, such as the iPhone, the iPad, and new Android tablets were introduced, the same field force discovered new mobile capabilities such as mapping, effortless multi-tasking, a faster more intuitive interface on these devices. They were naturally drawn to use these devices and demand that their companies focus on updating their existing LOB applications, both desktop and mobile to these new devices.
Taking LOB applications “Mobile”
By taking existing LOB applications mobile, companies can see productivity gains, positive revenue growth, and a more engaged work force.
Using the enhanced features of new smartphones and tablets, field sales representatives can quickly locate customers within their territory and plan visits for them while in the field. Before arriving at customer locations, field sales representatives can assess the opportunity at the customer and the customer’s historical performance with the company.
For field staff such as a repair technician or a sales and marketing representative, the mobile LOB solution is essential for completing their daily tasks. Using their mobile LOB application, the user can gain access to critical information they need, including contact information, directions, sales/repair orders, and inventory.
They can also complete work orders in the field or close sales and directly update their central sales hubs with new information and orders completed in the field. They no longer need to capture data manually and then re-key it again once they are at home or in the office.
Using the mobile LOB application, the sales rep or field technician can directly request information from the central ERP or CRM related to their customer universe. They no longer need to depend on backoffice staff to prepare statement of accounts, or customer purchase histories to have an up-to-date view of the customer’s interaction with the company. Using their connected mobile devices, they can synchronize data from the ERP to check status on open orders and keep the customer updated on stock availability, deliveries and special promotions. Solutions such as our field sales application, SalesWorx, which is available for iPad, Android and Windows Mobile, provides a comprehensive sales tool for field sales representatives to conduct their daily sales and customer relationship management activities using a highly interactive application.
Marketing professionals who interact with customers to introduce them to new products have also gained immensely from the new iPad and Android tablets as they no longer need to carry physical copies of brochures and hand-outs. All of the marketing content can be digitized and made available in highly quality form on iPads and Android tablets, In addition, more dynamic and engaging material such as presentations and videos, previously which were not easy to demonstrate, can be loaded onto the same devices and presented to customers. If a customer requires a copy of the presented material, it can quickly be emailed directly from the tablet. A good example of this would be a CRM tool for pharmaceutical field marketing and sample management, such as PharmaWorx,.
New product content rollout becomes extremely easy as no printing or physical delivery is required any longer. When new content is created, it can be immediately published and automatically updated to field devices.
Mobile LOB applications can be integrated with backend systems such as ERP and CRM, so that all data captured from the field can be synchronized and uploaded directly to the ERP and CRM for management and backoffice users to review and run analytics on the data.
With more users becoming mobile, it is important for companies to start paying attention to the needs of their mobile workforce and help their meet their customers needs and increase the field force’s productivity while potentially increasing the field force’s ability to increase revenue, decrease costs and improve customer interaction and service levels.
About Unique Computer Systems LLC
Unique Computer Systems, a Unique Maritime Group Company, is an application development and a systems integration specialist specializing in mobile and internet technologies. Unique Computer Systems specializes in three primary segments: Mobile and Web Application Development, Systems Integration, Products and Services.
UCS provides Line-of-Business (LOB) solutions for field sales and field service and data collection.
Unique Computer Systems has accumulated a wide array of expertise in the area of mobile application and web development industry. With its staff of professionals and well-trained employees specialized in various areas of information technology and solution delivery, Unique Computer Systems has implemented numerous solutions catering to its customers’ varied needs, from strategic consulting and system analysis and design, to development and deployment.