Four Important trends in Mobile CRM Space

Last week one of my colleagues bought an iPad. He is currently gripped by something that people call the iPad syndrome. Ipad has helped people understand and appreciate the concept of mobility…in fact it has taken a giant leap in the mobility space. I have been receiving requests for mobility CRM much more in the last 2-3 months as compared to last year. Is it because of Ipad? Not sure, but the requests do translate into providing Mobile solutions that can run on mobile device; 1 out of 3 requests specifically for Ipad. One of our friends has put his thoughts around this revolution  http://social.eyeforpharma.com/story/will-ipad-kickstart-pharma-sales-and-marketing-revolution (read here).

I have been thinking off late on how should we go about designing the overall Mobile CRM solution? What should it contain? How should it be deployed? How will it provide enhanced value to organizations?  

Four Important Trends in Mobile CRM:

  1. Mobile CRM has moved beyond SFA on PDA: It is just not “Contact Management”, “Call Planning” etc. There are Features like Inventory/stock management, order reconciliation & tracking, Service Request Management, Real time analytics and “on demand” collaboration between field sales reps, service reps and customers. The new Mobile CRM needs to support much more functions and not just be a trimmed down version of the enterprise CRM system.
  2. Mobile CRM needs to be componentized: As organizations move away from the typical “arms race” in the sales function, where the sales volumes do not have linearity with the size of the sales force, and small groups of specialized sales force evolve; the need for CRM to accommodate the specific needs for these groups will increase exponentially. One solution fits all is not valid. What will work here is to have a bouquet of functionalities that can be made available depending on the end user need. End users pick and choose what he needs to be part of his Mobile CRM solution.
  3. Mobile CRM solution needs to be “On Demand”: The new age Mobile CRM solution needs to be available to the end user “On Demand”. Nearest parallel that one can draw is the “Blackberry Apps world” or” Ipad apps”. Organizations will maintain (can be a service provider) an application store and users can download needed application or components, use them and get rid of them from the mobile device after use.
  4. Mobile CRM solutions will drive the functionality: There was a time when the Mobile solution was a replica of the CRM solution with lot of restrictions w.r.t functionality and usability. Those days are gone. On Premise or Cloud Based CRM solutions will just provide robust backend and will not limit the Mobile CRM solution scope. The Mobile CRM solutions will have its own identity (the way functionality is achieved and enhanced usability features) and will integrate with the available CRM solution.

What do you think? Do you think that the Mobile CRM space is slowly transforming? Let me know your thoughts and comments.

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Hybrid CRM: Is it Just a Deployment Model?

I was having a call today with one of our clients around the Hybrid CRM that they envision to build. The definition of Hybrid CRM is not uniform. It is an open subject and people have the liberty to define. For some of the organizations…Hybrid CRM is having Cloud based solution and Traditional on Premise solution in the same landscape, this means some functionality/capability on Cloud and some on traditional platforms. For some … Hybrid CRM is having the database reside on premise, but still pay for the consumption of the licenses through subscriber access licenses. Another flavor is…If you have your licenses, but do not want to deploy the solution in house, then hosting it on some cloud (CRM Hosting Companies) by just paying the hosting fees.

So is Hybrid CRM Model just a deployment model and nothing beyond that? In my opinion it is much beyond that…some definitions do not really mean Hybrid CRM, they actually mean Freedom/Choice of deploying your CRM solution.  

So let me define what I think is Hybrid CRM: Hybrid CRM is a vision to create a CRM ecosystem whereby one can synergize the power of on premise with the flexibility of on demand solutions. So actually it means that one should perform an “In Out” analysis of capability to create a structured, scalable, flexible and functional Hybrid CRM Model.

What stays IN (Premise) and what goes OUT (on the cloud) will decide the way this model eventually shapes up? Can there be a single roadmap for this? That is to say…A particular capability can be completely achieved using a cloud solution… should we decide to move it to cloud. Another scenario may be… A capability cannot be achieved in its current state in a cloud solution… so does this mandate that it needs to be on premise? The point that I want to drive here is… Just by creating a matrix of what can be achieved on cloud and on premise one should not decide the hybrid model. Organizations need to perform evaluation on these dimensions:

  1. How dynamic is the Functionality/Capability: Some functionalities/capabilities are very dynamic in nature. They need to constantly change in order to meet the changing needs of the business. E.g Contracts Management in managed care. With change in regulations the capability needs to undergo changes. These changes can be small or big. Such functionality need to adopt quickly and cannot wait for the long change cycle that is typical trade mark of an on premise solution.
  2. How Complex is the Functionality/Capability: Organizations have complex functionalities… some are genuine others are complex just because no one ever thought for a simple solution. Organizations should look back and categorize the functionalities under “genuinely complex” and “Can be simplified”. Then the decision to move them on cloud/on premise becomes straight forward.
  3. Logical grouping of functionality/Capability: This is the most critical part. Organizations need to evaluate capability in a logical group and not stand alone. For E.g Contact Management functionality is achievable in cloud, but activity management needs to be on premise. Does this even sound logical? The end result will be horrifying for the users. Data governance and management will go for a toss. So it is very important to look at capabilities as logical groups so that the objective of creating a structured, flexible, scalable and functional model can be achieved.    

What has been your experience around this? Will you like to add to this list. Just as a closing note… IDC states that 3 quarters of European business plans hybrid CRM.. hope they get it right….

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