“As the name implies, Mobile Reports provides the Android user with immediate insights into the status of their business. It is a client for the HansaWorld Enterprise ERP solution, delivering over 400 standard reports based on data held on back office systems, in real time to the handset,” she says.
While mobility is generally regarded as a central feature of the personal and business technology of the future, Marais explains the significance of the Android platform to a vendor like HansaWorld: “While HansaWorld has always been strong on Apple – as one of the few ERP vendors which can natively deploy to an Apple environment – Android offers unique advantages for software developers,” she says.
These advantages include Android’s open nature; it can be (and is) used by a broad range of handset manufacturers. It also provides interoperability across devices. “The tablet is emerging as a desirable addition to the personal technology of many people. Android has emerged as the platform of choice for tablets outside of Apple’s products, providing complete hardware and software support to allow users to get the most from tablet computers,” Marais says. In short, Android apps are as at home on a smartphone as they are on a tablet.
That gets to another important point in HansaWorld’s decision to develop apps for the Android platform: “The more users there are who have devices based on any given platform, the better the reach of your app and the more value you can add to customers by creating mobile apps,” Marais points out. “Already Gartner puts the Android market share at some 38% and it expects it to increase to near 50% by 2012. As a vendor creating an app for a platform with this level of penetration, there is some certainty that a lot of customers have the necessary handset to use that app.”
That much is reflected in the fact that several hundred thousand apps are available for Android. “The interest of the developer community in the mobile platform is significant: developers seek to create applications which will appeal to the mass market. They do not develop for niche platforms, generally, since by doing so they would limit their opportunities.”
More than that, Marais points to Android’s status as a Google product, from which further confidence can be drawn in the backing behind the mobile operating system. “Google is known for its innovation and its ability to provide astoundingly good software to most of its customer base at no apparent cost to them. With this kind of support and a market which is proven to be highly receptive, Android is likely to remain the platform of choice for more mobile ERP applications – certainly from HansaWorld.”