SugarCRM has updated its Sugar Mobile app with features designed to help smartphone and tablet users work more easily and productively away from the office.
"The market expectations for mobile CRM have grown dramatically over the past year," says Dax Farhang, senior director of product marketing at SugarCRM. But while daily usage of Sugar Mobile has grown almost threefold in that same time frame, the standards for excellence in performance have gone up as well. End users, he says, are simply no longer "willing to deal with a replica of the browser experience inside the mobile phone." Further, "they demand a mobile client that allows them to differentiate from the competition."
Users also demand that mobile software be "enterprise ready" and equipped to support their employees' personal devices, which are being used increasingly for work purposes. "What we're finding around BYOD [bring your own device] is that it's not only the enterprise mobile management capabilities that are important," Farhang says. "Corporate data plans are becoming more and more important, as companies are looking at how they're managing data consumption." Likewise, these businesses require flexible tools that "support the best practices that make their company unique, whether it be their own branding, business processes, or distinct roles within their companies."
To address these needs, version 5.0 of Sugar Mobile has been enhanced with the following:
a redesigned user experience, which includes improved navigation, reordered tabs and elements, and a reduced number steps necessary to reach essential data points;
Apple Touch ID compatibility, with which iPhone and iPad users can securely and quickly log in to their accounts by stamping their fingerprints on their screens, rather than entering a written password;
the Mobile Application Configuration Service [Sugar MACS], which allows clients to personalize the display and feel of their apps, adding their prefered colors, logos, and backgrounds for log-in and loading screens;
Deep Linking, which lets users direct one another to pages within the SugarCRM Mobile interface, so they can view, create, and edit customer records.
Users can leverage an "offline storage mode" that allows them to work without Wi-Fi access. Sugar Mobile version 5.0 is now available to Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate edition users
Farhang says that a mobile SDK, now in beta, will be released later in the year; it will enable businesses to "really, deeply, customize the mobile application" for end users.
For instance, companies can take advantage of the SDK and geolocation functionality to help service reps in the field. "Field service reps obviously don't need to see opportunities; they don't need to manage leads—they're more focused on the post-sales aspect of the customer journey," Farhang says. "They need to understand cases; they need to understand the accounts they're interacting with." With the SDK, "we can help our clients build out a field service app that is specific to those reps’ needs, and we can improve the routing and their response times, so that they can visit other customers that are in the area while they're out visiting a particular client." Rather than waiting for a dispatcher to tell them where to go next, for instance, reps can be automatically told by the mobile client which customer in need of service is closest to them, thus saving time and boosting productivity.