Sonoma Partners builds a Windows 8 tablet app for the enterprise

From ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley

Sonoma Partners, a Microsoft CRM consulting firm is laying claim to the title of developer of the “first-ever Windows 8 tablet app for the enterprise”.

They have developed a line-of-business app for their client – New Belgium Brewing.

The app, the “Ultimate Beer Ranger,” is built using HTML and CSS and would allow sales reps to access data on the retail partners and establishments selling New Belgium beer.

Sonoma considered going XAML because a number of their developers were familiar with Silverlight, Steger said, but ultimately decided on HTML because of easier integration with mapping elements, and because Microsoft was interested in more HTML-based proof points for Windows 8.

Via the “search” charm in Windows 8, the app allows users to search account information stored in a back-end Dynamics CRM system. The app also allows reps to see accounts within predetermined areas using the geo-location capabilities; to import photos (of beer lines, end caps, etc.) straight from the tablet; and to obtain real-time access to key metrics, like volume and sales figures.

There’s also a live tile interface that allows reps to see their next appointments.

This is noteworthy because the majority of preview applications for Windows 8 from Microsoft and their partners have been consumer-focused and there have been few examples of line-of-business apps for Windows 8.

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