Ten years ago if you’d asked someone what apps they were using at work you could well have been met with a confused look. But since the revolution in smartphone and tablet technology, not to mention the cloud and mobile working, apps are everywhere and they are changing the ways that companies do business, reach out to customers and streamline their everyday work processes.
Of course, everyone knows the big name apps, such as Uber and Instagram, but now many businesses owners are realising that they can develop their own apps, that work specifically for their own organizations and are geared to how their staff work and interact with customers and how their customers interact with the business. With the right app in place, you have a new channel for sales, a way for people to make bookings and an interactive way to push your marketing. A good app helps save time and money and increase productivity while making life so much easier for your staff.
You may think that app building sounds expensive, but the truth is that this is a growing area and there are a lot of DIY tools to help you create apps both simple and complex. Here at Damson Cloud we know that many organisations need to keep an eye on their bottom line, so we want to help give you tips about how to build the best apps without having to bring in expensive outside developers.
Building an app using a cloud platform
If you are looking to make an app that helps your staff or your customers you need to have the right infrastructure in place to support it. This is where cloud productivity suites like Google Apps and Office 365 can help. If you build that important infrastructure in the cloud, you automatically have a back end for your app and can rest assured that there is a solid base. This means you can concentrate on building an app that meets your needs without worrying about whether your servers and office infrastructure is there to support it.
As app users, none of us think that much about back end services, but if you are building your own apps, it becomes all important, especially for online apps that need to make use of data storage in ongoing synchronization, real time communication and any notification services. In contrast, offline apps just need to be downloaded once and they then work fine, like that Angry Birds game you’ve been playing for years.
If you use cloud productivity suites such as Office 365, you already have a lot of the back end tools needed to get started on building an app.
Most business owners will want to build their apps on a platform that is well known to their team and their customers. This is why Microsoft’s offering, PowerApps has been so successful. The software allows you to access your vital data from any cloud services such as Office 365, Salesforce or a Cloud SQL database where you create your app and it gives you an “Office-Like experience”. It is easy to use and comes with a range of templates and interfaces to choose from, so you don’t need any coding skills. Apps can also be shared in the same way you share documents and spreadsheets and you can also build additional data connections and APIs to any existing business systems.
It is the flexibility offered by cloud productivity suites such as Office 365 that makes them such an efficient and cost effective way to build apps. As a business owner you get to take full advantage of:
Huge data storage and easy synchronisation
Microsoft Azure Web Services allow you to store and synchronise data across a range of devices. Any user information or app related data can be modified or created even when users are offline and all these changes can be synchronised when the app is back online. Any conflicts between backend and user are automatically fixed.
Real time communication in cloud based apps
Cloud computing has changed the way we do business forever in the way it allows for real-time communication in the form of instant messaging, document and spreadsheet collaboration and a range of other applications including data and video feeds. When it comes to app building, real time communication allows for instant feedback and updates for the ultimate efficiency or customer service.
Web app service hosting
If your app isn’t just for internal use but needs to be accessed by customers, it will need a home on the web. And this means a domain, storage and background support to ensure it stays online and functional and isn’t knocked out by malware of traffic spikes. Microsoft’s Azure can easily be scaled to cope with incoming traffic through on-demand load balancing and traffic management. They can also help keep your app safe with security scanning to ensure that you enjoy high availability.
Apps are no longer just for big businesses, and there are a range of tools out there that can allow SMBs to make their own apps that can improve office efficiency and customer service. Cloud productivity platforms make app building easier than ever and allow you to automate work processes, and get more out of your cloud suites without the need to acquire a great deal of new technical knowledge.
If you’re running business and think an app could help improve productivity and efficiency why not drop a line to the experts at Damson Cloud? We have the answers to all of your questions.