Enterprise resource planning firm IFS is set to launch a range of business applications for Android and iPhone devices that require minimal user and back-end setup as they use Microsoft's Windows Azure Cloud.
The first apps confirmed as part of the IFS Touch Apps suite will be a general purpose time approval app dubbed Notify Me, and dedicated travel expense software known as Trip Tracker.
Although still in the development phase, these apps will be able to use the camera, GPS and sound recording features in smartphones, allowing users to take photos of receipts using the expenses app, for example.
IFS plans to offer other apps and is holding focus groups with customers to discuss the kind of services that they want, said Dan Matthews, chief technology officer at IFS.
A key differentiator of the Touch App suite will be its use of Microsoft's Windows Azure public cloud. Devices will not have to be connected into the back-end system of an enterprise to use apps, Matthews explained.
"IT administrators need only install an uplink service that connects their system to the cloud service. This takes minutes and users can then download apps and start using them instantly," he told V3.co.uk.
"In terms of security, the apps will use the HTTPS protocol and no user data will be stored within the cloud."
Surprisingly, Matthews confirmed that there are no plans to offer the apps on the BlackBerry platform at this time.
"We think that firms will increasingly issue Apple and Android devices to employees and do not see RIM maintaining its market share in the enterprise field."
However, he did not rule out developing for the Windows Phone platform in the future.
The Touch Apps will be made available to selected customers for testing in the coming months, and a full launch is planned for later this year.
Pricing has yet to be determined, but a free trial of the app is scheduled to be available.
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