Mobile CRM Keeps Moving, and FrontRange Tries To Get Out Front

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.]

Related articles: Feature: CRM's High Wireless Act Wireless immediacy allows enterprises to pursue CRM simplicity with powerful rewards for everyday functions. Viewpoints: Real-Time Mobile Solutions Can Maximize a CRM Investment Seven tips for rendering data real and actionable. Money and Mobility Sweeten Sugar's Pot SugarCon '08: The open-source CRM provider gets a new batch of venture-cap cash, and announces a new mobile offering for BlackBerry and other smartphone users. SugarCRM Has an I on Mobility The open source CRM provider teams with iEnterprises to provide a client-based mobile CRM solution tailored for the BlackBerry platform; the tool set's the thing, according to one analyst. Maximizer Tries to Score a Perfect 10 with SMBs A partnership with BlackBerry makes Maximizer CRM available via smartphones. Oracle Picks a BlackBerry for Spring The software giant releases BlackBerry support for its CRM solution as the mobile market ripens -- but will it increase customers' appetites for Oracle Siebel Wireless? Talk, Talk, Talk: Mobile CRM The use of mobile technologies continues to expand as manufacturers drive new products and services to market. Three industry pundits chat about some of the trends, technologies, and obstacles to come. The Continued March to Mobility North American enterprises devoted about one fourth of their 2006 telecom and network services budgets to mobility, but most of these budgets are still going to landline services. New Capabilities Will Drive Smartphone Sales Different regions favor different kinds of applications; offline entertainment vies with online utility among mobile users. Europe Eyes Mobility Many European businesses are classifying mobility as a core component of their strategic initiatives, but are concerned primarily with cost and reliability factors. Mobile Enterprise Strategy: More Money for '07 Executives are spearheading investment efforts in mobile sales productivity tools, according to a new study. Sales Mobility Really Works Mobile sales solutions help make top businesses what they are, and many others are following their lead, according to a new survey. Wireless Connectivity Is Kicked Up a Notch Both RIM and Palm introduce new smartphones that offer significant improvements over previous models for connectivity to enterprise applications. Salesforce.com Makes a Mobility Move The on-demand vendor has acquired Sendia to bring mobility to its AppExchange applications. BlackBerry Devices Get Instant Messaging Field sales and service agents stand to benefit from RIM's partnerships with AOL and Yahoo!
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