Salesforce gained an edge over its competitors with its move to mobilize CRM processes. Its new mobile app for the enterprise empowers sales professionals to do “business on the move,” analysts told CMSWire.
“It’s difficult to judge against all enterprise apps, as they all serve very different purposes,” said Richard Absalom, senior analyst for Enterprise Mobility for London-based Ovum Research.
“But CRM is really low-hanging fruit in terms of a process that can be immediately improved by mobilizing. From that point of view, Salesforce1 does stand out, making it easier for the huge number of sales professionals using Salesforce to do business on the move. Making it available through any browser should mean that it can reach a wider audience, and the range of new features in this update looks pretty impressive.”
Built on Platform
The company released its new Salesforce1 Mobile App yesterday. The app adds more than 30 new features that Salesforce said will enable users to manage any business process from a mobile device.
The new-features launch comes about six months after the CRM provider launched its Salesforce1 platform at its Dreamforce 2013 conference. That platform, geared toward offering Salesforce software users a more full bodied mobile app building toolkit, played off the provider’s February 2013 release of its mobile app development platform
Denis Pombriant, analyst for Beagle Research Group in Stoughton, Mass., told CMSWire Salesforce developed a mobile app using its platform technology that enables a manager to keep tabs on all aspects of the business through a mobile device. The app, he said, tracks processes supported by apps written on the platform and or integrated through the API.
What sets Salesforce apart?
“It is a powerful tool under the right circumstances,” Pombriant said. “The app is built on the platform which automatically integrates all company data, process, collaboration, etc. It’s also early days so the app doesn’t seem to support GRC-style decisioning apps yet, but the good news is that as long as such apps get built on the platform they’ll be accessible automatically.”
Salesforce even has an advantage over Microsoft Dymanics and Oracle Siebel in this arena, Absalom said.
“I’m not a CRM expert but mobile apps for (Microsoft) Dynamics and (Oracle) Siebel are of course available," he said. "With this launch it looks like Salesforce1 has a bit of an advantage over them in terms of features and extensibility across platforms, but that’s not based on any extensive investigation I’m afraid.”
Everything on My Phone -- Really?
But can enterprise users truly "do everything" business-wise on an app? Or at some point, do users have to retreat to a laptop/desktop to "finish up"? Salesforce claims users in its mobile platform will be able to manage any business process from a mobile device.
Can users truly abandon their PCs?
Pombriant said he doesn’t think Salesforce is saying anyone should permanently get rid of a larger machine.
“What they are saying is that in an always on-the-go world there is now a robust platform-driven app that can keep tabs on the business,” he said. “Recall that when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad he called it a content consumption device, even though people use them today with keyboards as if they are mini-PCs.”
Salesforce’s app, he said, matches the capabilities of the content consumption device.
“I do not believe it is a permanent substitute for a larger form factor computer,” Pombriant told CMSWire. “This means that people will retreat but again, content consumption is what I think this app’s sweet spot is.”
More features becoming available make it easier to do more on a smartphone, Absalom added, which is great for people who travel a lot.
“But for most, mobile devices are complementary to their PCs, not replacements,” he said. “Mobile devices extend capabilities to work on-the-go when necessary, but the depth of info. available in a single glance at a larger screen will make sure that PCs remain relevant.”
Absalom’s heard some “mixed reviews” on the Salesforce mobile app platform.
One user told Pombriant the app is “not a panacea,” and that you “still have to do the things that run your business.”
“But it offloads a lot of overhead that makes for unproductive use of resources,” Pombriant added. “Now, these people tell me, they can focus more on doing the things that make them special in their chosen markets.”