Mobile CRM market on the rise

Sage Software is partnering with Research in Motion, the Waterloo, Ont.-based maker of the BlackBerry device, to push CRM technology from the desktop and into a user’s hand.

Last September Sage acquired the Corum Mobile division of Concord, Ont.-based Corum Corp. Corum develops add-on solutions for both the BlackBerry and Sage’s CRM SalesLogix product.

According to Dave Batt, senior vice-president and general manager of Sage’s Global CRM business, there’s been pressure on the company for a strategy that would push content down to mobile devices.

“Mobile users have these devices and they are looking for more productivity and they want to complete tasks on the spot,” Batt said.

The combination of CRM SalesLogix, the Corum technology and the BlackBerry enables applications and data to be pushed natively down to handheld devices through the desktop, the Internet, wireless connection or even dial-up and also by synchronization.

The market for mobile CRM solutions is on the rise.

Analyst Richard Hill of E-CRM Solutions cited a survey that found 83 per cent of sales people believed that a PDA sales solution would make them more productive. The same survey also showed that 90 per cent of the respondents would use their CRM system more if they had handheld mobile access.

Wanted by VARs
Batt added that with more than 50,000 worldwide SalesLogix customers, the firm’s partner community is clamouring for mobile CRM.

“They see that they can drive incremental sales with mobile CRM,” he said.

Batt believes Sage’s Global CRM partner network is increasing dramatically because of the new partnerships.

Currently, Sage has 450 CRM solution providers in North America. Partner margins are tiered based on performance levels.

Amadeo Tarzia, the former chief executive at Corum and Sage’s new senior vice-president, mobile and wireless solutions, said one of the keys to this mobile CRM offering is that it can be customized. The BlackBerry’s API and compression technology allows users to store lots of data.

“With this partners can customize this application and deploy it over the air,” he said.

“These types of people are mobile workers and you do not have to call them back into the office to install this on the device. We can push data and the application along with meta data changes to them. So if the partner is modifying forms, they can push this out to the mobile device.”

Batt said that competitors emulate on the platform and need to synchronize the device or are browser-based. The Corum technology broke through all those barriers enabling users to carry more than 200,000 records on a BlackBerry.

“Others are Web browser based so if you are not connected you can’t do anything with it,” Batt said.

Tarzia added that there are many sales people and field personnel who are unable to use Blackberry devices or any other wireless device in warehouses and hospitals, for example.

“This (solution) gives users the ability to have coverage and real time data along with local data. It is store-and-forward technology with a twist. The power of the RIM Blackberry service allows us to push and pull data,” Tarzia said.

Paul Briggs, senior marketing manager for Blackberry CRM solutions at RIM, said Sage has a huge user base in customer relationship management and understands the mobile proposition.

“Sage technology validates mobile CRM. It’s ready for accelerated adoption,” Briggs said of CRM SalesLogix.

Briggs added that organizations understand that this type of solution improves the way CRM is used inside that company.

“Investment in CRM in the past had a lot of cost associated with it without a lot of return right away. This is more of an hour-to-hour interaction with CRM data. CRM user adoption is not great right away, but mobile CRM is increasing and with the BlackBerry’s capabilities this was a logical step,” Briggs said about the Sage/RIM partnership.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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