Openbravo's User Experience Lab
GUI design, ERP Usability and Visual Design

Openbravo 3 for Mobile

Friday, September 23, 2011

As a prelude to the roadmap 2011-12 that will be published in the next few days, let me reveal one of the many exciting things we plan to do: A touch/mobile interface for Openbravo 3.

(Credit: US PTO/Apple)

Tablets and smart phones are soon to overtake the role as the preferred device to access the internet. Although enterprise software is typically used in an office environment, this is also changing.

The advantages are clear. A mobile enterprise can benefit from a higher workforce productivity - up to 45% [1], faster decision-making and increased employee satisfaction.

Openbravo 3 has a highly sophisticated architecture where the GUI is defined in metadata. This allows us to easily optimize the GUI for smaller screens and touch interfaces.

Simplification is critical in designing for touch/mobile. Too often mobile apps or sites try to mimic their desktop siblings without looking at the specific opportunities and constraints of mobile devices. We intend not to do the same.

At this point I´m trying to get a grip on which business tasks are essential for mobile. We aim to make all functionality of Openbravo 3 accessible through mobile devices but at the same time we need to make sure that the user experience of the key flows is superb. Let´s focus on what´s important first.

Here are some examples of tasks that could be candidates:

  • A manager approving employee expenses while traveling
  • A sales rep placing an order together with the customer
  • A sales director checking the sales figures before a meeting with his team
  • A CFO checking the financial health of the company in a chart in a widget on his mobile phone
  • A shop owner using her tablet as both a POS and ERP
  • A warehouse person picking orders using his tablet
  • A sales rep being notified that a customer placed an order that cannot be delivered because it is out of stock

Now I´d like to know what would be the typical tasks for your business (or your customer) while away from the desk.

Throw your ideas at us in the comments, via Google+ or Facebook, thanks!

[1] bfrench:"Survey: Mobile Apps Increase Enterprise Performance and Productivity Advantages, Top Three Mobile App Strategies Gain Momentum". iPad CTO. Retrieved 8/11/2011.


Makesh said...

1) Mobile Sales Person with wireless print capability synced with GL is good.

2) I hope the path to mobile ERP is going to be native Apps in that sense some of the modules as such could be brought in as menus. I could share mockups if interested

3) Approval of requisitions and purchase orders (although purchase order approval is yet to be introduced - very important feature)

4) Stock availability

5) A mobile App could be turned into a mobile store very similar to an ecomm solution which could attract plenty of small businesses to go for Openbravo ERP (just an out-of-box thought)

6) Discount schemes could be sent as notification to customers (this is on the customer end)

7) Production work requirement vs work effort could be published that can be very critical for a manager

8) Credit limit notifications can be sent to Finance as well as other required departments that will enable customer handling

9) Order tracking functionality (Especially for customers)

Rob Goris said...

Makesh, thanks for the input, really helpful. Here some comments to yours:
1) Why is printing necessary? Would displaying the GL on the screen not be enough?
2) We´re placing our bets on the mobile web (HTML5). This is a strategic decision to ensure openness and accessibility across all platforms and it allows us to develop more efficiently. Note that this is trending, e.g.
Could you tell me a bit more about your suggestions of bringing modules in as menus? I´d be interested to see your mocks. Send me an email if you like (myfirstname.mylastname at
3) Great. Yes, we are aware of this.
5) Good idea. With the upcoming integration of our POS and ERP this can become really powerful. Millions of small businesses in emerging markets could use Openbravo on tablets in the cloud without the need for any servers / desktops / investment.
6) Nice. I was thinking of offering some sort of news feed. Discount schemes could be just one of those news items.
8) Yes. Could also be part of the feed ("Customer X has exceeded credit limit" + Action)
9) Nice

Dmitry said...

Hey Rob,

Just a small note not to forget our discussion.

IMHO outgoing payments approval is sth managers of each company do and these people spend quite a bit of time travelling. In Openbravo it could be Processing of Payment Proposal.

Second thing is that when you are on the move you would like to be informed about events requiring your attention before even logging in to the system. So I think all those kind of events should trigger at least e-mail notifications with the direct links for corresponding actions.