DSC Tech Library
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Solutions and Customer relationship management software and products. Providing customer service is vital to maintaining successful business relationships. Accurate and timely information provided in a professional manner is the key to any business and service operation.
Our CRM software application TELEMATION, was developed with this in mind. But the ability to change is just as important in this ever changing business environment.
Telemation call center software was designed from the very beginning for this environment.
Many call center managers, with unique and changing requirements, have chosen and continue to use our CRM software as their solution of choice.
Our contact center CRM solution is ideally suited for call center service bureaus.
Wireless CRM Awaits
by Benjamin Holtz
A look at the past, the present and the future potential of the unwired salesforce; hurdles identified for the near term
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and its use in a wireless environment is far from a new endeavor, but it is one that has undergone many changes in recent years as advancements in technology continue to create a truly mobile environment.
Although mobile technologies are starting to gain in popularity, the technology is still vastly under utilized by professionals looking for that extra edge to help them close the deal in a competitive market.
The laptop computer produced the first "mobile" environment and allowed professionals to take to the streets with technology applications. In essence, the laptop connected the distributed worker with corporate headquarters.
However, in the early years, mobile workers were required to dial into their corporate office via a telephone from a remote location. Often times, it was difficult, if not impossible, to get an outside line to dial into the network. As a result, these mobile workers had to rely on information relayed over the phone by a co-worker located at the corporate office or by receiving a fax to the hotel, which then required the mobile worker to transcribe the information on the laptop.
The next solution to emerge on the scene was adding wireless capabilities to such major players as Siebel and its ubiquitous SFA solutions. These portals allowed workers to simply access all the company's main SFA or CRM information through a simple Web browser. There was no need to dial back into the main network, but there was still a need for a connection to the Internet to allow for true mobility. There was also the fact that several mobile workers were reluctant to enter information into the systems and therefore the information contained in these portals was outdated and not accurate.
Today, we are seeing the path paved to true mobility. Every place from the local library to the corner Starbucks has installed wireless access and there are more and more wireless devices available -- such as the Blackberry, Palm Pilot or web-enabled cell phone.
Even with the growing number of wireless devices, the fundamental issue of replicating the CRM or SFA system on the device remains a major stumbling block for the mobile workforce. For salespeople, the goal is to close the deal, not enter information so that a company's CRM system is updated. As a result, the information too often falls to the wayside and thus the system continues its lack of reliability.
The most popular solutions today are ones that allow for tight integration with the e-mail system. Salespeople will always need email access, so if the CRM system can take advantage of the e-mail synchronization then it becomes seamless. Microsoft has leveraged Outlook and their .NET platform to allow salespeople to use MS CRM online or offline and make the differences all but transparent.
The entire purpose of creating solutions for the mobile workforce is to allow them to work more efficiently and effectively, but if the basic fundamentals of populating a SFA or CRM system is left undone, then in effect, the mobile workforce's job becomes more difficult.
Mobile CRM will continue to be a hot trend, as most industry visionaries recognize its importance. More than 60 percent of the workforce will be using wireless devices by the end of next year (Cahners In-Stat Group). Many analyst firms predict that wireless CRM will continue to grow by leaps and bounds for the next 4 to 5 years. Some predictions indicated over a 36 percent growth in the wireless CRM industry through 2008. Despite these predictions, it is unlikely that true mobile CRM will happen for at least two years. There are two fundamental reasons why mobility -- although it will continue to grow -- will not reach complete adoption in the coming months.
The first is simply the technology available for wireless devices. Although significant improvements have been made, truly mobile devices that are able to adopt CRM and SFA capabilities continue to be expensive. For example, full-scale PDAs that are able to handle such capabilities are simply too large for the truly mobile worker and bandwidth issues continue to cause hurdles
However, even with the improvement in wireless devices, the key issue is the CRM and SFA applications themselves. For years, CRM systems have been heralded as the savior in the business world and as a result, more and more companies desired the most bells and whistles possible for their CRM initiatives. In an effort to move towards full mobility, it is important to scale back many of the applications we use on a daily basis to make them user-friendly for the mobile workforce. In essence, it is necessary to get back to basics in the CRM world.
It is also important to understand the limitations of the mobile workforce. While it is essential to develop a system that can be utilized by the outside workforce, one must keep in mind that there are still numerous internal personnel that must have full access to a wide variety of information for additional purposes. As a result, there is a fundamental need to create a hybrid of both mobile and non-mobile CRM systems that can truly be integrated -- in real-time with little integration issues.
Until a truly mobile CRM system is fully developed, the mobile workforce will continue to spend much of its time updating the corporate system, rather than spending time closing the deal and adding to the bottom line.
Benjamin Holtz is president & CEO of Green Beacon Solutions, a mid-market focused consulting and systems integration firm providing proven customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.