They’re getting smaller, more powerful, and more in demand. You see them on the train, at local coffee shops, even at your favorite dive bar. Every day we face increasing evidence that tablets and other mobile devices are the future. It is essential that businesses meet and support that demand by leveraging mobile CRM to their advantage.
There’s a common belief that businesses are resisting this trend and pushing back on supporting these devices in the workplace. Perhaps at face value, it’s easy to question the value of devices that consumers use for texting, checking Facebook and playing Angry Birds. However, surprisingly enough, data shows the opposite is true; companies are now embracing the new devices more than ever. Integrating mobile devices with CRM and ERP systems not only helps embrace this trend, but also empowers employees to be even more productive.
1. Mobile technology is personal
Many studies confirm what we already know: we are hooked on our mobile devices. A recent Nielsen study discovered that smartphones now account for more than 50% of the US market. In addition, a Pew Research Centre Study from 2010 reported that more than four out of five young adults sleep with their phone on or near their bed and “many expressed reluctance to even turn their phones off.” The condition even has a name: “Nomophobia,” as in “no mobile phobia.” We just can’t get enough of mobile technology.
As an owner of several mobile devices, it is thrilling and strangely addicting to have the Internet in my hands anywhere I go. The touch-enabled interface feels natural with fingertips, and it is intuitive to use and adopt by non-technical users. Most of us can’t remember life without them.
In light of this evidence it is clear that agile businesses will need to go where their users and customers are interacting. Mobile CRM is a crucial and natural step to meeting this goal.
2. The Consumerization of IT
Avanade condenses the “Consumerization of IT” into essentially two observations:
- The dynamic and personalized aspects of consumer technologies have entered the enterprise
- Corporate IT has an opportunity to embrace this trend to drive business agility
Users are demanding that their personal tablets and smartphones, regardless of make and model, are supported in the workplace. This internal demand is an opportunity for corporate IT to embrace appealing initiatives that drive greater productivity like mobile CRM. By empowering employees with access to the latest information about customers and business transactions, as well as updating them in real-time, they can react faster to customer inquiries and collect real-time data on performance.
3. The Technology is Here
When it comes to hardware for mobile devices, the eco-system is fairly diverse. They come in all shapes, sizes and operating systems; Google is even planning a wearable one. Microsoft is now redefining what a PC is with the recently announced Surface tablet.
While current mobile operating systems primarily center on apps, the talk in technology is now focused on HTML5, which promises interoperability, the holy grail of capability among disparate operating systems. This web standard allows users to access the same web functionality among different systems, whether on the desktop or mobile.
From an enterprise software perspective, there are new and dependable methods of integrating CRM and other business systems to ultimately let you expose and interact with data and services. Integration tools such as Scribe provide the backbone to a powerful inter-connected mobile CRM for your employees and customers. And bringing social networks into the fold with mobile CRM emphasizes the “relationship” aspect of CRM, which allows businesses to react quickly to customer feedback. An effective mobile CRM system needs to leverage all of this new technology.
Why invest in mobile CRM?
Of the many advantages, two are clear: mobile productivity for employees, and maintaining a connection with your customers.
When implementing a mobile CRM system, listening to the business’s specific mobile needs is paramount. The technology needs to empower the way employees work.
A key to a successful implementation is to document user case scenarios thoroughly. Mobile technology, and by extension mobile CRM, should be an interactive and seamless experience. Like any popular app, the mobile CRM experience should make full use of touch gesture navigation, GPS mapping, photo documentation, real-time customer data, notifications, and more. Having complete use case scenarios goes a long way to facilitating user adoption and the ultimate success of the project.
It’s amazing to imagine the possibilities that mobile CRM can enable for companies. I welcome your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.