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Continuing its reputation for being first across a variety of platforms, enterprise resource planning vendor HansaWorld has announced that its software is fully iPad compatible. The development goes beyond putting ERP software on to a tablet, as through this move, it is also affirming the growing popularity of tablet computers as a replacement for notebooks. HansaWorld South Africa country manager, Johani Marais, says the company’s strategy is in line with global sales figures for tablets.

“Some 500-million of these devices are in the market today. That’s a significant number and the impetus behind HansaWorld having a fully-iPad compliant platform in development for over a year now.”

The steady introduction of tablet computers is a component of the wider “bring your own device” trend, itself an extension of the powerful handsets that most office workers bring with them to work.

“Technology companies cannot ignore this trend any less than CIOs can. Working with it instead allows for improvements in productivity as well as employee satisfaction.”

HansaWorld has invested substantially in doing just that. The full enterprise solution, the company’s flagship product, can be accessed and operated from an iPad.

“It’s a full client/server interface, with the iPad connecting to the system just as a PC or notebook would,” Marais notes.

Designing an ERP solution to operate with a tablet is no small accomplishment.

“It required practically a full redesign of the user interface to operate with touch input rather than keyboard and mouse; it required resizing of nearly everything, too, to prevent overlapping of buttons and other features.”

The investment that HansaWorld has made into creating a fully-iPad accessible ERP is, she agrees, reflective of its confidence in the enduring popularity of tablet devices.

“There are some roles where the tablet is a clear winner, for example, in stock-taking, customer-facing field work, viewing forms and reports. Our testing has shown that they are suitable for many, if not most, ERP functions,” Marais explains.

There is distinct demand for such solutions, too.

“Most of our customers have tablet computing in their strategic plans, if they aren’t already implementing these devices into their environments one way or another. It does require a mindset shift, just as moving from printed books to reading on a tablet does – but once clients see how well it works, they can see the potential.”

In addition to its iPad compatible ERP, HansaWorld has developed modules for Android tablets and is working on a version suitable for the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 platform.