Additional mobile functionality is often at or near the top of the wish list for businesses using a variety of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software platforms. The rise of mobile devices in the work world, from the tablets issued by businesses to employees to the use of smartphones in a bring-your-own-device environment, has changed the way companies in many different markets do business. Increased remote access to useful information and immediate visibility even when an employee is on the work floor and not in the office are just two of the major benefits provided by the use of mobile devices.

It’s no surprise, then, that Microsoft has been adding more mobile functionality to its ERP and CRM solutions in the Dynamics range. Here is a look at developments with some of the most popular platforms made by the software giant – Dynamics CRM and Dynamics NAV – as well as development tools that may affect other systems such as Dynamics GP and SL.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV
A recent rollout of new mobile apps for Dynamics NAV was mostly under the radar, according to an article from ZDNet. There wasn’t a big announcement from the software maker despite the benefits offered by these products. Client apps are now available for all three major smartphone and tablet operating systems, allowing employees to access information on the go instead of only in static locations. This news may be especially useful because NAV is geared toward small-business users, who often don’t have the budgets in place to craft in-depth custom solutions. Having an app already offered, and offered for free, is a significant benefit.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Dynamics CRM had been the leader of the pack in some respects when it comes to the addition of mobile functionality to the relationship management system. Other platforms are only now really getting into adding significant mobile functionality, but CRM has had very functional apps in place since 2013, according to MS Dynamics World. The free mobile apps, with versions for iOS and Windows phones and tablets, were released in the fall of 2013. Increased access to information is a major differentiator for CRM systems, and Dynamics CRM already has a useful and cost-free solution available.

Internal goes external
No matter which Dynamics system a business uses, some interesting news came out of the company’s Convergence 2014 conference: The application development framework used by the internal teams at Microsoft who work on the various Dynamics ERP systems will be made available to third-party developers and other interested groups. In a separate article, ZDNet highlighted the importance of this move, noting that vendors and end-users will have far more options.

Analysis for businesses
Having access to mobile devices for business use can be a major differentiator when it comes to productivity and growth. The ability of employees on business trips or working remotely to have a full connection to the important data streams used by a company is important, especially as organizations grow and start using multiple locations for operations. This is true when a company is simply using extra storage space as an additional warehouse all the way up to opening a second production facility. Mobile devices in the business world are a fact of life, thanks to their proliferation into the general population as well as their usefulness as powerful, handheld computers. Having mobile apps that work with ERP and CRM solutions make them even more effective.