If you haven't been paying attention to the mobile phone world then you have probably been trying really hard to ignore it. From the antenna problems with the latest iPhone to the newest Android handsets releases from all major US carriers there has been a lot of news in the past 30-60 days. These new phones take computing and place it in your pocket like no other phone in the past has. Real processors with real memory make the mobile experience something that can be harnessed by your customers.
So when we look at CRM which mobile handset is the one to suggest? Which mobile handset makes the SalesLogix experience the most useful for the salesperson in the field?
It depends. There are a few considerations such as security and exchange support, but these concerns are handled by all 4 major manufacturers in one way or another.
The answer is -- the one that they will use. I like the iPhone because it is a phone (depending on how you hold it I guess) as well as an email device and an audio player. I am addicted to audio books.
I looked at switching to an Android based phone -- specifically the Samsung Galaxy S or Captivate as ATT renamed it. It was unable to play my audio book reliably, so I decided against it. But it was a capable phone and email device.
In the past I have owned Black Berries and loved them at the time. A RIM BES Server (even express) is a great security and access solution.
Windows Mobile 7 has some promising integration features with Exchange Server and most handsets will work as phones nicely I am sure and email will be a strong point. With Blackberry and Windows Mobile playing music/audio books is not going to happen.
So the answer for me was to stick with an iPhone. What will the solution be for one salesperson at your company over another? It depends and the answer will change for each person. Even if the company decides on BlackBerry the employee may decide to purchase a phone of their own which makes the BB less useful since it becomes the secondary device.
So how is training preparing for this change and multiple devices? Currently the mobile training is BlackBerry and Windows Mobile only.
First we are installing the Android emulator/simulator on the classroom machines. Next we are working with the developers to see what is coming down the pipe for the mobile client. Installing the Android environment solves a couple of problems. Since the iPhone (iOS really since the iPhone is the platform and iOS is the OS) and Android web browsers both use webkit you can use the Android emulator to see how your web application performs on each platform to a degree.
iOS allows for some additional meta tags to make the page look more like an application and we are exploring those as well.I also like http://www.testiphone.com/ to see how the page will display there. If you ever wanted to see how the SalesLogix client looked within the iPhone I think you will be surprised how great it looks.
We are writing a few apps of our own using the same platform that the dev team has utilized as well. Applying the same concepts to an outside website and application brings in some real-world experience.
It is a bunch of fun, but here is what you need to be concerned with when developing for a web based mobile platform