Microsoft's pursuit of tablet-wielding workforces continues with the recent releases of iOS, Android and Windows apps for Dynamics NAV, the Redmond, Wash.-based company' enterprise resource planning (ERP) software platform for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
With little fanfare, new tablet-optimized Dynamics NAV applications have snuck onto the Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. Listings describe the apps as a mobile "companion for service engineers, sales field organizations, executives and decision-makers, or anyone in your organization who wants access to Dynamics NAV from a touch-enabled mobile device."
SMBs are flocking to tablets for their productivity-boosting benefits, according to a survey from Dimensional Research for mobile virtual workspace specialist NComputing.
An overwhelming majority (97 percent) of the 300 IT professionals surveyed for the study said that any time, anywhere access to data and business applications makes employees more effective at their jobs. Three-quarters of those polled reported that their employees use tablets for work.
A touch-enabled Role Center view provides "visibility into every angle of your business," asserts Microsoft. "Tap to drill into details about your customers, vendors, inventory or any other data from Dynamics NAV." Similarly, invoices, quotes and emails are a few taps away, according to the company.
Accompanying screenshots display Microsoft's now-familiar take on business software interfaces. Large graphs, charts and at-a-glance statistics dominate screens like the Key Performance Indicators view. Customer records, invoices and other views include finger-friendly dropdown menus and other elements that favor touch-based input. Users can generate an overview or focus on specific content by rotating their tablets.
Dynamics NAV mobile apps support search across all columns in a list, as well as the ability to export lists to Excel or Office 365. The apps put mobile device cameras to good use by enabling the capture and upload of pictures directly to Dynamics NAV.
Naturally, a customer's ERP configuration will determine what features are available to its users. "Your experience will vary depending on the Dynamics NAV server that you are connected to," explained the company. The apps require a connection to a Dynamics NAV 2015 server.
The Windows version of the app is distinguished by a major feature: multitasking. "Use two apps side by side and see, for example, customer details while you talk via Skype or Lync," boasted Microsoft.
In a departure of Microsoft's PC-based past, the company has been increasingly focused on today's mobile workforces.
On March 27, the company made waves by launching the long-awaited Office 365 apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for Apple's iPad. The apps quickly climbed the Apple App Store rankings and remain mainstays of the productivity category to this day.
Earlier this month, Microsoft reversed course and enabled in-app purchases of Office 365 subscriptions on the iPad apps, eliminating a major barrier to mobile Office adoption. Prices start at $6.99 per month for Office 365 Personal.