by John Chan, ISM Software Lab Director
CRM vendors continue to develop and release CRM application modules, especially those that are bundled with or work on a large variety of handheld and/or wireless devices. The popularity of smartphones and the entry of the Apple iPad tablet computer furthermore boosted the number of mobile devices accessing the Internet to over 1 billion at the end of 2011. IDC predicts that there will be a new emergence of mash-up generation of mobile device business applications that will utilize social and collaborative networks and derive analytics from these networks.
Annual growth in the wireless CRM market is expected to be between 20 percent and 30 percent through 2012, as IDC has identified mobile CRM as a substantial portion of the growth expected for mobile and wireless products/services. ISM envisions that by the end of 2012, nearly all CRM applications will be ready for wireless use as Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies, predicts that smart phones (that are capable of handling CRM functionality) will represent 70% of all phones sold in the US by 2012. VisionGain furthermore projects that the mobile CRM market will surpass traditional CRM growth rates in 2012, representing 20 percent of total CRM revenues in the United States. Factors driving the growth in the worldwide mobile market include the need to access day-to-day applications from remote locations and mobile devices, the need to collaborate and share files with co-workers and the growing demand to be able to access productivity tools remotely. A key indicator of the emergence of the mobile market is that the amount of data transmitted through mobile devices is expected to surpass voice by 2012.
As a result in the growth of the mobile market, CRM vendors are now integrating mobile CRM functionality into their CRM offerings. Salesforce.com’s mobile module uses the same source code to communicate with PDAs, BlackBerry devices, and mobile phones. NetSuite offers users access to certain CRM functions such as creating new orders, contacts and opportunities, along with viewing customer records via the iPhone. The Maximizer Mobile CRM application, which the company describes as a fully functionality CRM solution for mobile device users, is currently available online for BlackBerrys, MS-Windows devices, iPhones, Nokia devices and Google G1 devices. Oracle, Consona, Amdocs, and SAP are some of the additional CRM vendors providing access to their CRM application modules on handheld devices.
The key impact of this trend is that customers will have increasing access to more functionality and time-sensitive information from the CRM database on sophisticated handheld and/or wireless devices, giving companies new options for improving customer satisfaction, productivity, and financial performance.