The latest smartphone capabilities are providing SMEs with options to explore new ways of automating businesses processes like human resource activities, writes PHIL L√ñTTER.
It is forecasted that there will be more than 635m mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa. This is predicted to rise to 930m by late 2019 where it is estimated that three in four mobile subscriptions will have internet access.
Mobile HR applications cover a broad range of HR activities, such as time, leave, data, performance management and payroll. Small business owners can manage all the activities themselves or give employees access to these apps via their own smartphones, to submit requests like time and leave or view payslips. New generation apps allow for data synchronization via the cloud, which means data is always backed up and available.
With new HR apps, small businesses have the power to manage their employees via mobile devices across geographical areas. As with cloud computing, mobility doesn’t require any technical or physical infrastructure as everything is based on the internet, which reduces costs.
Mobile banking is providing SMEs with cheaper and immediate access to their finances. “In the future, we will see HR apps being integrated with mobile banking solutions, such as M-Pesa that will allow SMEs access to payroll via their smartphones while transfering wages to their staff.” says Phil L√∂tter, CEO of Piilo Software. This reduces the need to travel to banks or use unintegrated online solutions. With a large number of people in sub-Saharan Africa not having bank accounts, mobile banking provides them access to formal financial services.
“The convergence of personal and business technology is further driving mobility in human resources management as employees can now use their own devices to access and input business data,” L√∂tter adds. For business this means a lower cost, as BYOD (bring your own device) reduces the need for capital investment to purchase equipment for employees. Mobility is also making user interfaces easier and more intuitive. Users can use these apps immediately without the need for any training due to their simplicity. Improved user experiences drive a higher utilization of software, which translates into higher return on investment and productivity for business.
Mobile Apps are helping small businesses to formalize their human resources practices while reducing the need for complex and expensive IT solutions. SMEs can use apps within minutes with the knowledge that their data is backed up and available in real-time. “We see the strong take-up of smartphones in Africa as a key driver for the mobile revolution in business automation. Mobility is enabling the most basic functions in business with technology and infrastructure which was never available before,” Lotter says.
* Phil L√∂tter, CEO Piilo Software, provider of cloud and mobile HR solutions
* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA
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