Mobile First, Cloud First


By Bob Whalen

This is part of the vision that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has for one of the most valuable companies in the world. I have read several articles and comments about this vision and what it really means. It would be easy to think that mobile means a Windows phone and Microsoft Surface tablet, but Satya says the goal is about delivering productivity experiences across all devices that people use.  This includes Android devices and Apple devices. Delivering the ability to run Microsoft applications on different device platforms, like Office 365 and Skype, is where Microsoft wants to continue to focus, according to Satya.

I agree that Microsoft should be paying attention to the “app” market when devices are outselling PCs, but if I am trying to work remotely from a mobile device, I feel like the puzzle is not complete.  I can check my email, and work on a Microsoft Word document or Excel spreadsheet right from my iPad, (with an Office 365 account), but what if I want to see customer information or financial data about my company? I need to turn on my laptop, VPN into my company network and then run the appropriate applications to get this information.  Sure, laptops are considered mobile, but I don’t think this is the productivity experience that Microsoft is looking for.

I recently went to a conference sponsored by Microsoft for one of their Dynamics products: Microsoft Dynamics NAV. NAV is an enterprise resource planning application that includes accounting, distribution, service and manufacturing capabilities that work for multiple industries. The keynote address of the conference talked about the vision of Satya regarding mobile first and cloud first.  A graphic was presented with Microsoft Azure representing the cloud, Office 365 representing mobile, and how NAV fits into the picture. The presenter then proceeded to demonstrate NAV on a tablet.  Not a Microsoft Surface tablet running a full Windows operating system, but using an iPad.  NAV was running as an “app”, integrated with Office 365, and hosted in Azure.  This version of NAV was released October 1, 2014 and I am excited to start demonstrating this solution, which, I feel, completes the puzzle.

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