Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Have CRM? Go Mobile!

The growing popularity of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets has increased the pressures on companies to equip their sales teams with mobile capabilities. Here at CRMantra we've had numerous customers asking us for an OOTB mobile solution for Siebel.  This ranges from a Telco wanting to have handheld Samsung Galaxy's in their stores to act as a 'Queue Busting' PoS, to banks, media and manufacturing companies wanting to have key sales functions on an iPad.

Key requirements were; minimal (if possible, zero) impact on the current CRM implementation.  Easy to administer and deploy, and above all else ease of use for the Sales Rep or Sales Assistant.

We have searched with them to find something suitable, and whilst there are mobile apps out there that do these things, none of them are integrated with Siebel, or even designed with the complexities of Siebel in mind.  So that only gave us one option - to build it ourselves.

We had the perfect starting position, the integration groundwork was already done thanks to InterAct Xchange and we have now developed mobile solutions for SFA and eCommerce that we are proud of.. oh and most importantly one that meets our customers needs !

In each case, upon further investigation, we uncovered that there are many different flavors of "mobile offering" companies want to deploy. Each type of mobile solution has its pros and cons.  Here are some things to consider for the various options based upon the studies we have undertaken.

OPTION 1 – Siebel UI via VPN
Fast Deployment / Lower cost Option
User experience is not good enough.  Performance is slow because of vagaries of the network connection.  In addition, Siebel web user interface does not lend itself with touch with fat fingers on a mobile screen.  
Many IT organizations go this route to check off the requirement, only to find a scores of disappointed users and poor adoption.  In the end, they need to select Option 2 or Option 3.

OPTION 2: Browser-based connected mobile application

Lower cost option.  Features a web page formatted for the mobile device and enabled with controls for the touch interface. This option would be appropriate to deploy for customer-facing applications.  It offers the advantage of no locally stored data to alleviate any security concerns, especially in customer-facing uses. 

Performance is still a function of the quality of network connection.  Slow or variable performance due to network connections could be a significant deterrent to user adoption, especially when deployed for employee access over VPN.  Need to build high-performance, mobile-optimized integrations to the backend applications and services such as CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence, etc., and possibly services such as credit check, payment authorizations, tax calculations, shipping cost calculators, address verifications, etc.

Appropriate for deployment in many customer-facing scenarios.  Tread carefully when deploying a mobile app with this option for employee-facing use.

OPTION 3: Native Disconnected Mobile application

The best user experience in terms of performance and usability.  Allows for seamless mash up of capabilities of the device apps (maps, GPS, camera, etc.), other enterprise apps (BI, ERP, CRM) and social apps such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

More expensive to build than the other two options.  Need to build high-performance, mobile-optimized integrations to various applications. 

Best performance and user experience.  More costly to implement.

Contact us if you would like to get some advice on your mobile initiatives - We believe we will have a solution that fits your needs!

1 comment:

  1. There are many mobile applications which are helpful for the customers’ relation management. Out of them some are chargeable and some applications are free of cost. They may be traditional CRM Apps, Social Networking Apps or may be some different apps. These applications are helpful in managing the customers’ relation. The mention apps are very useful for every enterprise. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.