Considerations in Mobile Enterprise Planning - Customer Relationship Management

I’m assuming that,since you’re reading this chapter,you’re pretty jacked up about the possibilities of mobile CRM. Let’s assume so or else this is going to be a really short chapter.

What do you have to consider for a mobile CRM deployment? Most of it is no different than preparing for a normal CRM implementation. But there are some different considerations and that’s what I’m going to concentrate on here.

Here are some of the technical and operational considerations:

  • Form factor This is the most overlooked and yet,because style matters,this is a serious consideration.The clunky versus sleek BlackBerry comparison? You remember which one interested you,don’t you? Well,having an iPhone or a cool BlackBerry is actually animportant facet of your choice. If you give your sales reps a cool smartphone,they’ll literally be happier. Form factor is not just shape and weight but size.

  • Service providers/carriers There are geographical considerations. Coverage is often spotty. For example,T-Mobile just started building its 3G network in 2008. The 3G HSDPA networks of AT&T are fairly well covered,but there are spotty locations where signal strength fluctuates between HSPDA and the slower 2G EDGE. Verizon and Sprint 3G EV-DO networks are ubiquitous. Be alert to the geographies that your wandering roadies are going be traveling to and the kind of networks that are available from the carriers.

  • IT What kind of architecture do the devices have? What kinds of applications are available? What kinds of interfaces are available for those applications? Are the applications device-agnostic,meaning they can be used on any device? Are the applications device-aware,meaning they can dynamically adjust to the specific device with the right screens and the right functionality according to the device and operating system? Do they have over-the-air synchronization?

  • Security issues Data needs to be protected and made available to those who need to see it. There should be administrative controls over configuration,
    security,sensitive data,and so on.

  • Cost As obvious as this is,make sure that you build in the costs of the work/home integration—for example,service costs.

  • Application vendors This really is no different from choosing a vendor in a standard CRM program.

  • Platform considerations What kind of processor power does the device have? How strong is the platform to build applications or re-engineer existing apps? What about the operating system? Can the applications read and show docs/presentations in multiple formats? Does the application have an offline edition? What about device interoperability—can the devices talk to each other? This is becoming easier with the evolution of standardized web services.

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