A look under the hood – 7 elements to keep in mind when creating a consumer app integrated with Dynamics CRM

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What does a Formula 1 car have in common with a mobile app?

Actually, more than it might seem at first sight. Both are products of leading engineering efforts. In both cases, their lightweight appearance is in stark contrast with the goings-on under the hood. And just like an F1 car, mobile app needs to be fast, yet reliable, to shine through among the ever-growing competition.

The dissection of the F1 car pictured above took almost two years to complete. Fortunately we don’t need that long to give you a peek under the hood of Resco Mobile Apps. So, what are the key elements you need to take into account when building an app for customers or partners integrated with your Dynamics CRM?

Data

It all starts with the information you want the users to access. You need to know what kind of data your mobile app will work with.

Having Dynamics CRM already in place proves to be a significant advantage – you can utilize the structured information without having to create duplicate databases just for the application. Instead you make use of established data infrastructure and Resco’s experience with mobile solutions, which allows you to build your app on the basis of our proven Mobile CRM app.

Business Logic

Business logic encodes the business rules which determine how data can be created, viewed, stored and modified.

What business rules will your app follow – can the users change their contact information or create a new order? Or just browse through product presentations and general information? Decide what business objects are relevant for your app and set up the relationships between them accordingly.

Security

Using Resco Mobile Apps, the data is transferred between Dynamics CRM and the app via standard web services provided by Microsoft.

However, default configuration of Dynamics CRM with Active Directory authentication uses the HTTP protocol. We strongly recommend using VPN or Direct access connection, or changing the configuration to HTTPS to secure the data exchange. You can also add SSL to further secure the data transfer between the server and the app.

Depending on the level of access and the type of information you want to provide the users, choose between the Registered User or Anonymous User option.

Offline capability

Even in this hyper-connected day and age, a situation can occur when Internet is not available.

Fortunately, since you’re building your application on the corner-stone of Resco Mobile CRM, you can also take advantage of its advanced offline mode. Your app will be able to store the changes the user makes on the device and synchronize them with the server when re-connected to the web.

Incorporation of device capabilities

To stay in touch with customers, partners and other business allies anywhere, anytime is the fundamental benefit of a mobile app. But don’t forget that modern smartphones and tablets offer much more than plain mobility to their users.

Why not utilize the device’s built-in camera so a customer can scan the QR codes off the packaging of products? Leverage the GPS capability to lead users to your store or office. Let users attach audio or video recordings. Knowing which device-specific functionality will be included can significantly impact the entire concept of your app.

Usefulness

“What’s in it for me?” The age-old question people ultimately ask when contemplating to take action on anything – whether it is using a mobile app or buying a yogurt.

Your app needs to bring a meaningful benefit to the table. For customers it can be easier participation in the company’s loyalty program, accessibility of the discount coupons, or exclusive promotions available only via the app etc. For business partners and other allies the benefit the deciding factor might be a faster access to your support department or faster tracking of the projects you work on together.

Make sure you’ll include that “one more thing” which will swing the users your way.

Design

How does your app look and feel to the user? This element, together with the app’s usefulness, is key to a satisfactory user experience.

Understandably, you want your app to be recognizable at first sight – like a blood-red Ferrari. That’s what the branding options are for in our Woodford customizing tool. You can also utilize offline HTML and JavaScript to alter the app’s appearance and feel even further.

A design that offers an enjoyable user experience ensures that people keep using the application repeatedly. Which is your opportunity to further engage with the app’s audience.

Find out more about how to provide your customers or business allies with an app that enhance mutual interaction at www.resco.net/mobilecrm/mobile-apps.aspx.

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