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SAP Gets Serious About Mobility

SAP has updated SAP Business One, rolling out its 8.82 iteration for both the on-premises and hosted versions.

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A point release, the upgrade cannot be said to be a major leap forward in terms of functionality, but it does offer solid enhancements to the application’s bread-and-butter feature set, as well as some mobile computing additions.

“Many of the changes, such as the greater control over serial managed items and the serializing and pick-and-pack functionality, can deliver value,” Conrad Mandala, vice president of SAP Business One ecosystem and channels, told CRM Buyer. “But the new mobile functionality is what will grab people’s attention right now.”

A Range of Improvements

SAP has tweaked or enhanced Business One features across a wide range of areas, from campaign and material requirements planning, to business partner, infrastructure and inventory management.

There are also new CRM capabilities that will interest many users, Mandala noted, including multichannel marketing campaign information functionality that allows users to create and maintain target groups via a campaign generation wizard, manage campaign data, generate leads and sales opportunities, and analyze results based on the campaign list report.

New serial management controls let users allocate serial numbers to items for sales orders, accounts receivable reserve invoices and inventory transfer requests.

Pick-and-pack process enhancements let users allocate serial and batch numbers to items throughout the pick-and-pack process. There is also upgraded management and support for back-order functionality.

The material requirements planning module has been enhanced with a new MRP wizard, informative recommendation reports, new options for calendar week display, and improved forecasting capabilities.

There is new inventory transfer request functionality that recommends transfers between warehouses before initiating purchase or production orders.

Finally, the upgraded version lets businesses record blanket agreements to reflect long-term sales or purchasing agreements.

These blanket agreements can be used as a basis for expected revenue forecasts, quantity reservation and capacity planning, in cash-flow calculations, MRP runs and the procurement process.

The Mobile Piece

In short, there are many incremental changes to the application that will drive value, Mandala said.

The most exciting, in his view, is a new development kit that lets users write iPhone applications so mobile devices can retrieve information stored in SAP Business One.

“It is a major transition for us,” Mandala said. “It is part of SAP’s push to embrace the new generation of mobile technology.”

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