It’s time for all businesses to face the fact that we live in a mobile society. I really don’t think I will get too many arguments there. So if everyone agrees that we live in a mobile society, why do most employees have to come to work to do their job?

I think the reason is that the personal technology world seems to work quite a bit faster than the business technology world when it comes to mobile access. The number of mobile capable apps has been rather limited – until now

I’ve recently been working on a number of business process projects where mobility is a critical part of the design. These companies are trying to get their teams into the field and want them to collect data while they are there as opposed to relying on them to write the information down and hoping they will enter the data when they return. Thanks to a new Microsoft product called PowerApps, my ability to deliver results is much faster and much less costly than I could have imagined even as little as last year.

Microsoft PowerApps is essentially a development studio specifically designed to build mobile apps. But that is not what makes this steak sizzle. The difference Microsoft PowerApps brings to the table is the wide range of connectivity to existing business systems. The challenge with all mobile business apps is that they are generally not standalone in nature. Meaning of course, that anything you do with the app is most likely connected to some other system or process in the business. And while there are plenty of platforms for developing mobile apps, very few have an intuitive way of connecting to common business systems the way PowerApps can. Having the option to use one of the many pre-built connections or even build your own, make the possibilities almost endless.

Before you drink Microsoft’s “easy development” kool-aide and start asking your IT guy to spin you out a few apps, know that, building enterprise level business applications will take some coding knowledge. BUT even with that, the amount of time it takes to build and deliver an enterprise level application can be half of what it would not using PowerApps.

So what kind of apps are a good fit for PowerApps? How about a mobile Lead capture app for your next big trade show? Quickly enter a name or scan a badge and have the information sent to Dynamics 365 for Sales real-time.  

How about a store inspection app? If you are franchising your your business, brand integrity is critical. Give your team the ability to inspect your franchisees without having clipboard and pencil in hand.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture. PowerApps, in my opinion, is going to change the way many businesses view mobilization. First because they will be able to act on their needs without staring at a year-long project and second because the time and  cost of development is much shorter and lower than previous mobile efforts. With shorter time to delivery and lower cost of development, Microsoft PowerApps is a good choice for any business looking to mobilize their team.