I have a longstanding interest in mobile CRM, if for no other reason than I can't figure out why it hasn't seen broader adoption, given the fairly obvious appeal of keeping busy sales reps and other road warriors in close contact with the customer data they need to close deals and serve existing accounts.
Interest in mobile CRM appears to be growing again, as I wrote last month. SAP and IBM are opening up some of their key CRM applications to BlackBerry users, and SugarCRM is rolling out several cool mobile features in the latest version of its software. Among the drivers fueling interest among both vendors and their customers: improved connectivity, more flexible development tools and cool new devices. (iPhone, anyone?)
So I thought this short blog post by CIO Insight's Ed Cone was quite timely. It offers some great takeaways from Genzyme Europe's seemingly successful migration of 250 of its 400 sales reps from laptops to mobile devices.
- The company had a compelling business case. Its reps had trouble using laptops in hospitals, where they make frequent client calls. With each rep making eight to 10 business calls a day, using mobiles instead of laptops results in significant savings in time and convenience. Says Seppo Beumers, Genzyme's application manager: There needs to be a very clear business case for mobile devices, not just a love of gadgets. Without a business case, you can provide a device, but people won't use it.
- Genzyme used the BlackBerry, a familiar platform already used and trusted by its reps. Beumers calls the iPhone "a nice plaything" but one not ready for business use.
- Genzyme opted not to include every bell and whistle in the third-party CRM application it employs, from Vaultus Mobile Technologies, just those required to meet everyday business needs. The company may add other enterprise apps to mobile devices in the future, says Beumers, if the need is there.