The CRM industry has been talking about mobile CRM for years now. Entire companies have oriented their product lines around it; it’s a routine bit-player in new release notices; the security aspects of it have been discussed at length.
So what’s the one aspect of mobile we haven’t seen? Widespread adoption.
That’s not to say that it is not being used – far from it. There are stories here and there – like this one, about Estes Inc. and a SugarCRM/Compiere integration it put in place with partner Levementum. The thing is, we wouldn’t get so excited about these sorts of implementations if they took place all the time.
Something must be holding mobile back. I think I know what it is – and it represents something of a Catch 22 for the technology. In order for the average user to grasp the possibilities of mobile CRM, that user has to see other users using it. But, since he doesn’t see anyone using it, he never starts using it – nor does anyone else. Until that user sees mobile CRM in use with businesses like his – and his imagination is fired – he himself won’t use it.
So, vendors have to do a better job of communicating what mobile CRM looks like – and, says Marshall Lager, esteemed principal of Third Idea Consulting and the scribbler of the “Pint of View” column in CRM Magazine, that can’t be the same old use cases, because those are not connecting the dots sufficiently.
Marshall says he’s seen lots of great demos by vendors, but “many still focus on mobile CRM as road-warrior tech for the hard chargers of sales or field service — important uses, to be sure, but there are other possibilities. A few enlightened vendors discuss mobile CRM from the customer perspective, in synergy with social tech, which is where I think there are real breakthroughs to be made.”
So there’s the challenge: to find examples of mobile CRM that get people excited about the possibilities. I think we have received our marching orders; I plan on getting some of those stories into the Outsiders in July. Stay tuned…