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The overriding theme today for technology in the supply chain is "On Premise, On Demand and On Device," says Michael Wohlwend, vice president of SAP Americas. Mobility, represented by the third tenet in this theme, is taking off faster than anticipated, he says." Mobile devices actually are replacing PCs, so the question for everyone who is shipping goods and servicing end consumers, is how to get your supply chain ready to handle the mobile customer."
The key is to have mobile devices connect directly to a company's back-end system, so data and critical decision criteria can be provided to workers wherever they are in the world, Wohlwend says. "If you already have a mobile strategy in place and are able to have good, clean data going to a mobile device, the question then becomes at what speed are you able to push that information out?" he says.
SAP's new HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) software "is allowing us to take terabytes of data and be able, in sub-seconds, to not only sort and filter it, but to push it to a mobile device."
This will mean that that the iPhone and Blackberry types of mobile devices today will give way to iPads and tablets, he says. "Executives will use these devices to look at real-time business analytics and key performance indicators of different regions or different business units. So, rather than having all these data legacy reports, they will be getting real-time information pushed to their tablets."
SAP already is extending its applications to tablets and allowing workflow processes to be done on the tablet, he says. "And we have only scratched the surface. As we move further along, we will expose more applications to the tablet, allowing a completely mobile workforce to do their job anywhere in the world."
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