Oracle Picks a BlackBerry for Spring

Mobile will soon be a must-have for CRM vendors and CRM users alike, according to analysts. Oracle Corporation announced a push toward this wireless future today with the release of Oracle Siebel Wireless for Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphones. Following the release of Siebel Wireless for Windows Mobile, this announcement shows a strong push by Oracle to enable all CRM users access out of the office and on the road. The release may prove to be a significant differentiator for Oracle in the CRM space. Bill Clark, a research vice president at Gartner, says that the mobile space has been heating up for enterprises over the last few years and that the temperature will continue to rise. "Five years ago it was only senior level executives who would have a wireless account in a BlackBerry," he says. "Now it's Gartner's recommendation that all sales forces be fully equipped with wireless email." Clark cites that while there are approximately 2 billion mobile phone users today, a very small percentage, only 15 million, make use of wireless email. This discrepancy leaves a lot room for growth in the business mobile software space. Oracle's release also points to the vendor's aspiration to lead the pack in the mobile movement; Mike Betzer, vice president of CRM strategy (through Oracle's Siebel Wireless for BlackBerry), said in a prepared statement, "Coupled with the increasing amount of time the workforce spends in the field and closer to the customer, Siebel Wireless for BlackBerry is a necessary application for enterprises to conduct business." CRM users can rely on their smartphones to conduct transactions and facilitate communication while on the road. The solution includes customer interaction management capabilities and provides access to corporate email. Sales and field services reps will also be able to access corporate data and refresh data into the solution from their handheld devices. Clark says that because of call by customers for mobile solutions, Oracle's announcement "as a differentiator is pretty significant," and that although some of the pure play mobile vendors have more comprehensive mobile solutions, wireless CRM capability by larger vendors like Oracle Siebel will pick up. "We're seeing an uptick in terms of the activity and success rates on customer mobile projects," Clark says. "We're still in the very early days. We're expecting a lot of innovation in this area and a lot of close competition for Siebel across all the device types." Related articles: Oracle and Siebel: What Does It Mean for Customers
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