A recent spate of releases continues to expand the marketplace for mobile CRM, even as mobile stalwart BlackBerry suffers yet another nationwide service interruption.
Posted Feb 19, 2008
Mobile business applications have been in the news quite a bit lately, not least due to a nationwide, three-hour-long disruption of service from BlackBerry operator Research In Motion last week. Despite the uproar, mobile application usage continues to make inroads in every business, in every vertical, in every industry. FrontRange Solutions' recent announcement regarding its GoldMine Mobile Edition Version 3.0, for example, is just the latest of several recent mobile releases specifically designed to improve CRM. The new GoldMine application enables mobile users to access customer and contact information, opportunity details, and daily calendaring activities via BlackBerry devices when out of the office.
The previous version didn't offer immediate access because the application itself sat on a server, says Greg Anderson, senior product director for the GoldMine product line for Pleasanton, Calif.-based FrontRange. "This version, the application is on the device itself. Also, security is included on the device. If you don't log in automatically [within] a certain timeframe, the data is wiped out."
Another advantage of the new release is that if the application recognizes the phone number of an incoming call, the system will provide a screen pop with background information about the caller. The application also records communications activity and enables the user to quickly schedule any follow-up activities, Anderson says. The software offers the same functionality with outgoing calls.
"It's increasingly important for a lot of sales reps to recognize that, rather than pulling out their laptop, turning it on, and getting Windows started, what they really need is something they can pull out of their pocket just to check a few facts and figures. BlackBerrys and similar handheld devices meet that latent need in the marketplace," says Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of CRM consultancy Beagle Research.
The new capabilities from FrontRange arrive amidst recent announcements from several other vendors regarding new CRM features and applications designed for mobile users:
- Cisco Systems unveiled Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Mobile, extending the capabilities of the Cisco WAAS product family by providing to mobile and remote workers the accelerated delivery of any Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)-based application operating across a wide-area network (WAN). Consisting of client-desktop and server-based software, the solution can be installed without reconfiguring existing desktop clients, file or application servers, or network infrastructure, and preserves existing network security policies.
- Alltel Wireless introduced SalesNOW, a contact, activity, and deal management Web application designed for BlackBerry users, who can now track and manage contacts, construct detailed customer profiles, capture activities, and use links within emails.
- W-Systems launched version 1.7 of wMobile, which includes a complete built-in email center enabling a mobile user to process all inbound and outbound email -- fully integrated with her organization's back-end CRM system. (The application is described by W-Systems as a mobile telephone client for GoldMine CRM.)
- FranklinCovey unveiled PlanPlusOnline, a Web-based application enabling users to access FranklinCovey planning methods and concepts via the Internet, accessible (as the company puts it) "from any smartphone with a Web browser, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm, or Windows Mobile device." The new application also integrates contact management features, which allows users to easily track important client information.
[Update: Due to an editing oversight, earlier versions of this article incorrectly identified the location of FrontRange Solutions' corporate headquarters. destinationCRM regrets the error.]
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