A Needy Market - Customer Relationship Management

The sheer magnitude of the mobile market is staggering. In January 2008, IDC predicted that by 2011 there would be 1 billion workers who would be mobile. The U.S. workforce, who in 2006 was 45 percent mobile, is projected by the same IDC study to be at 75 percent by 2011. Whether that’s true or not obviously remains to be seen, but it is at least a good anecdotal indication that there is a tremendous optimism and recognition of the need for mobile applications. Historically, CRM has been the enterprise application that has been applied first and most successfully. Companies like Vaultus and iEnterprises have developed mobile CRM applications for SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and NetSuite, among others. There are mobile versions of salesforce.com and, most recently, an excellent mobile version of SAP CRM 2007 sales that was developed by RIM and SAP conjointly. SAP even carried their mobile CRM activity further with a 2009 alliance with Sybase so that Sybase’s i Anywhere framework allows communication on the fly in real time with any mobile device regardless of operating system. Oracle has its own Mobile Sales Assistant, a salesrelated BlackBerry-compliant device with an iPhone version in the works. Not only that, Maximizer has organized its entire CRM suite around mobile devices.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The desire for mobile CRM—an untethered version—is not transient. Sheryl Kingstone, who is one of the most respected analysts in mobile, wrote a piece in June 2008 entitled “The Mobile CRM Tipping Point” in which she declared:

Today, mobile CRM projects have evolved from nice-to-have to needto-have. As businesses continue to transform into Anywhere Enterprises, anywhere applications become strategic priorities. According to the Yankee Group Anywhere Enterprise 2007: U.S. Mobility and Business Applications Surveys, CRM remains one of the most important strategic mobile applications. Although the primary driver is customer responsiveness, plenty of other reasons indicate that mobile CRM has finally reached its tipping point.

If you have mobile salespeople or field service technicians, this should be a part of your Social CRM strategy, without reservation. Note I didn’t say without consideration. There are lots of considerations when developing a mobile CRM capability for your enterprise. I’ll get to a good deal of them soon enough.

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