Getting to “anywhere, anytime”
Today’s tiny phones, tablets, and other small devices easily outpace the computing power of my first personal computer, which, by the way, took up my whole desk and included a snazzy monochrome green screen and chic beige casing. Back then, working from home meant reading through printouts (lugged home in an overstuffed briefcase) and writing notes on a legal pad. These days, some 30% of the global workforce rely on phones and tablets to get work done while on-the-go and more than 80% of workers have some tasks that are regularly done outside the office. We’re almost to a true “anywhere, anytime” scenario.
There’s no doubt that mobile devices have had a positive influence on the adoption of technology in our personal and work life. But I hear from businesses all the time about how important it is to move beyond simple browser-based access to business apps.
These days, organizations are rolling out easy-to-use, touch-enabled device apps that help ramp up people quickly and get them involved so they can be productive fast. A great example is Delta Airlines that has re-imagined their inflight experience by providing information to flight attendants at their fingertips to improve the customer experience.
Apps that support your business
Over the last few months we have released many apps designed to deliver specific business benefits including improved insight, self-service, and productivity gains. Why wait to get to your desk just to file your expense report when you can do it on your commute, right?
At Convergence 2014, we have announced an app that lets machine operators report progress on production jobs with easy to use, standard touch-enabled Windows devices. Also, we’ll soon be offering a paystub app for the Windows Phone, so that employees can access this information whenever they need it.
New app for machine operators (prerelease)
Here’s an overview of app availability:
In addition, we see customers and partners developing apps to support specific business processes. For instance, this week at Convergence 2014, New Belgium Brewery showcased their amazing Rangerland app, which lets their famous Beer Rangers set customer meeting objectives and agenda, do QA surveys, and see customer KPIs.
Powerful business apps in minutes
To support this effort Microsoft introduced Project Siena (currently in beta) which we demonstrated today. This framework will help accelerate the development of custom apps. Project Siena is for business experts, business analysts, consultants and other business users to conceive apps for today’s mobile devices – no coding is required. Now, using little more than PowerPoint- and Excel-level skills, you can create a whole new category of powerful apps, often in a matter of minutes. These are apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes and customer interactions. Project Siena can embed multiple datasources including Excel files, Rest, RSS feeds, SharePoint, and Azure Mobile services. You can download the Microsoft Project Siena app here and start creating your custom business apps today.
Apps and Services Framework
We also introduced a new end-to-end apps and services framework for Microsoft Dynamics AX, allowing organizations to easily and securely connect their custom-built modern apps from outside the organization’s firewall with Microsoft Dynamics AX. The framework uses the cloud (Windows Azure) for communication between the mobile devices and Dynamics AX, with identity provider Microsoft ADFS. The organization does not need to set up separate middleware. The Application Integration framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX publishes that “listen” for incoming messages through the Windows Azure Service Bus. Read the whitepaper to set up the communication between the devices and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
Distribute apps, manage devices
Last but not least, organizations can easily manage devices and distribute custom apps internally using a private marketplace and simplified management through Windows Intune.
To learn more about Microsoft Dynamics AX’s apps and mobile capabilities visit: www.microsoft.com/dynamics/ax
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 is a pre-release product under development. All features and dates are preliminary based on current expectations and are subject to change without notice. The information herein is for informational purpose only and represents Microsoft’s current view as of the date of this blog. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft.