From tracking calories to avoiding traffic jams, we use apps for nearly all aspects of our daily lives.
So, it makes sense that the app tsunami is washing over our business lives, as well. The emergence of apps as a force in business was a dominant topic at the recent Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Atlanta, where we heard about newly available apps, apps in development, and those farther off on the horizon. In fact, the emphasis on apps was a noticeable change from just a few years ago, and signals the direction wholesaler-distributors should be headed.
It's clear that Microsoft believes in the power of apps to drive productivity and improve margins for distributors; the software company is gearing up its support to companies that build the apps, and is putting more focus on app development. Examples of functions apps perform include pricing, costing, search features, user account management, chatbots, newsfeeds and more within Microsoft Dynamics 365. Apps allow businesses to essentially plug new functionality into their existing software rather than buy another software platform. For example, at ENAVATE, we offer a Pricing and Costing App that is fueling better profitability for distributors.
The emergence of industry-specific apps is good news for distributors looking for ways to operate more efficiently and to recognize and respond to trends more quickly.
The idea of a business app may be more appealing to distributors for many reasons, including the fact that nearly everyone, whether they’re Baby Boomers or millennials, use apps already. It’s a concept and a technology we’re all comfortable with, and it’s an easy transition.
Just as using apps for things like to-do lists, calendars and food shopping in our daily lives makes us more productive, the same is true in business. With the advent of cloud technology, and the apps that run on it, doing business no longer means being sitting at a desk and staring at a desktop computer screen. Today, business can be conducted on a tablet, or a smartphone. If I am in a warehouse, or on the road, I can pull up my work app and see my pipeline – all the tasks I must complete today.
Apps and Microsoft cloud technology give distributors the ability to react quickly – whether it’s to fix a machine that’s running at 70 percent capacity from the comfort of your couch at night, or pull a piece of inventory from one warehouse and move it to another overnight to prevent a stock-out the next morning. And when you’re running at full capacity, or not running out of inventory, you’re trading the risk of losing customers or sales for the opportunity to maximize sales and revenue.
The promise of apps is just one more reason that, for distributors hoping to compete in today’s market, moving from on-premise solutions to the cloud should not be a question of “if,” but “when.” And the answer should be sooner rather than later.
About Robert Ruppert