Dubai: The steadily rising use of smart mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets in the Middle East workplace is expected to offer enormous opportunities to enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors looking to tap this growth market, according to the latest survey conducted by IDG Connect, a subdivision of market intelligence firm International Data Group (IDG), on behalf of Sage Middle East, a leading global vendor of business management solutions for medium-sized companies.The report is based on responses by IT managers in key Middle East markets such as Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Around 83% of respondents said they expect to increase their use of smart phones in the next five years, while around 85% said tablet penetration will grow. In addition, the volume of Smartphone and tablet devices in the responding organisations is forecast to expand by 33% and 35%, respectively, during the period."These findings reveal how the region's ERP landscape is set to transform in the near future with porting ERP applications onto devices – in a secure and reliable manner – becoming less of a "nice-to-have", and more of a non-negotiable end-user requirement in most cases," Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President Sales Sage ERP Africa and Head of Sage Middle East, said."Key business roles, including staff working in logistics, warehouse management and field sales and servicing, will rely on mobile ERP apps more than others," KeithFenner, said. "But once armed with their own devices, workers in all departments will access data and initiate ERP processes from wherever they happen to be and companies are likely to look for ERP vendors to deliver assurances around Smartphone/tablet PC, application and data security integration and management."Mobile phone usage and tablet shipment in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) have skyrocketed in recent years. In its Global Media Intelligence Report, eMarketer highlighted the region's significance as having the world's second largest Smartphone population at 561 million in 2014, which is expected to swell to 670.9 million by 2017.Meanwhile, International Data Corporation (IDC) reported in June that as other regions around the world posted a slowdown in tablet shipments, MEA expanded by a hefty 77.3%, year on year, in the first quarter of 2014 to reach 4 million units."Mobile ERP applications and data on portable devices in the Middle East is still at nascent stage, but this is expected to become more upbeat amid a significant explosion in the deployment and use of smart phones and tablet PCs for business purposes in the near future," Keith Fenner, said."As such, mobile ERP development initiatives must run beyond designing mobile interfaces as add-ons to existing, PC-orientated ERP systems and take into account where the application is hosted (either locally or in the cloud) and how end users will collaborate via the app," he said.