If you’re like me, over time you come across a variety of field service workers in your daily travels –whether it’s someone installing a new light fixture at home or negotiating with a supplier sales rep at work. Do you ever walk away from some of those interactions thinking, “That was so easy”? A lot of times it’s their custom smartphone or tablet apps that turn an average customer experience into an exceptional one.

 
For example, with sales reps working in the field, there’s little to no paperwork for those using custom mobile apps – just instant access to product catalogs, CRM, real-time troubleshooting, and more. That means better service, higher margins, and potentially more revenue. It’s a business investment that’s really gaining momentum because it provides a competitive edge.
 
Working at the speed of business
 
What about the Cloud, you ask? It takes it all to the next level.
 
Mobile sales forces using line-of-business apps powered by a Cloud platform, like Microsoft Windows Azure, have what I call a real-time advantage. Aberdeen’s State of the Service: Outlook for 2013 report agrees. It says, “best-in-class companies are the ones using mobile tools and devices with real-time access to information.”
 
My company and I spend our time breaking down essential user experience design and technical best practices to help organizations deliver a winning apps. We see firsthand the power of Azure in real-time field service and other mission critical applications. And, with its best-of-both-worlds native touch-enabled capabilities and a powerful desktop backend, Windows 8.1 is an ideal platform for mobile applications.
 
Pay no attention to what’s behind the curtain – Seriously
 
With Azure, once you wrap your head around the fact you don’t have to care about things like hardware capacity or even bandwidth, you realize that the Cloud does help you innovate faster and seize that market opportunity. The funds that your company used to spend on IT personnel and delays in getting the changes done are now re-directed to innovating and better connecting you with your customers.
 
Enterprises of today are about squeezing more out of their existing dollars. By harnessing the Cloud, an organization can get rid of the nuts and bolts of IT and can focus on getting the value proposition worked on daily. IT personnel can be reassigned to supporting and creating the technology that the organization needs – and have it available when it counts. It’s not about making sure the server is up, it’s about Joe in sales getting the latest inventory information on his mobile while in front of the client. It’s about getting Sarah’s marketing team accessing the admin portal they need so they can update their marketing campaigns according to their schedule – not when IT is done making sure the servers can handle the load for the holiday season.
 
Mobile technology and the Cloud are transforming how companies do business. Empowering sales teams with quality mobile line-of-business apps powered by the Cloud will help companies gain a competitive advantage. And, help me finally get that new light fixture installed in the bathroom.