Days after Salesforce.com announced the release of a customer service desk for mobile devices, Microsoft has announced that the new service update for its Dynamics CRM will feature the ability to access full functionality on any device.
The cloud-based, mobile client service is intended for Windows Phone 7.5, iPad, iPhone, and Android or BlackBerry devices.
Dennis Michalis, general manager of Dynamics CRM, said that its customers, working in a "hyperconnected world," need to be able to "access their business-critical data on the device of their choice wherever they are."
As an example of the value of management via mobile devices, Microsoft noted that the update allows sales and marketing personnel to capture and convert leads, develop marketing campaigns, or conduct case management on smartphones and tablets, on the road.
As a cloud-based service, information in Dynamics CRM is automatically synced between, say, a smartphone and a desktop. All configuration, security, management, and updates are accommodated in the cloud. Each registered mobile user can access the service from as many as three mobile devices, and there is an offline mode on most devices to enable some functionality even without Internet connectivity.
CRM administrators at a company can determine the record types, forms, views, offline synchronization rules and navigation structure for the service, which is published once. Multiple profiles can be established to determine data and functionality available for given roles, and administrators can remotely wipe CRM data off devices if they are lost, stolen or moved outside a company.
While mobile access is highlighted, the second-quarter service update is also enhancing social functionality for real-time communication and more effective collaboration, and adding multiple Web browser options, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, on PCs, Macs or iPads.
Huge Acceptance of CRM
The Dynamics CRM service update last fall delivered micro-blogging and other social collaboration capabilities to Microsoft's service, and the new update enhances social activity feeds with "like" and "unlike" posts, improved filtering, a time-wall of all posts, and other improvements. Enterprise-class enhancements include improved disaster recovery, enterprise scalability, and user and data security.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., said that a survey conducted by her company last summer showed the huge acceptance of CRM software in general, with only 7 percent of 350 responding corporations indicating that they would not be using such customer relationship tools.
But, she noted, "the main challenge of CRM is having it actually used within companies." ITIC's survey showed that when executives regularly used CRM, so did lower-level employees, and DiDio said that the availability of full functionality on smartphones and tablets, as Microsoft and Salesforce.com are doing, increases the use by executives and others.
Mobility is only the latest feature competition in the growing CRM market. Microsoft's chief competitor, Salesforce.com, released last week its Desk.com, a cloud-based customer service product for mobile devices in small- to medium-size businesses. In the announcement, Salesforce.com said that its research showed that nearly three-quarters of small businesses used mobile applications in their daily operations.
Posted: 2012-02-08 @ 4:29am PT
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I was at their presentation at an IT fair; it looks promising...