October 05, 2012
Four Mobile Solutions Available Today for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Accessing CRM from a mobile device is one one of the hottest topics in CRM today. In another blog post, I outlined three megathemes driving enterprise mobile strategy today. Below is a list of four solutions available to you today that give you and your users access to Microsoft CRM while you are on the go.
Microsoft CRM for Outlook. More powerful than you might think
If you use Microsoft CRM, chances are you you use, or at least know about, the Outlook-CRM client. It allows you access to all of you CRM data without leaving Outlook. It’s natively integrated with CRM and one of the most powerful productivity features of Microsoft CRM. It also has the ability to sync your machine with select CRM data and take it offline. Offline access (via a laptop) is the reason this feature is included in a list of mobile solutions.
There is, however, a more obvious mobile benefit to the Outlook + CRM integration. Because of Exchange Server frequently sits between Outlook and your mobile device, your contacts, appointments, tasks and other items are in sync with CRM. It’s a simple scenario. I first enter a contact into Microsoft CRM (blue arrows). The Outlook client picks up the contact, pulls it into my Outlook contacts, and syncs it with Exchange. My phone, which is set to sync contacts and appointments with Exchange, picks up the contact and adds it to my phone. Now the contact that was was entered or updated in CRM back at the office, is correct and visible to me on my phone. You can reverse this (red arrows) and see how a phone-entered contact gets back to CRM. All of this thanks to the integration between CRM and Outlook.
Mobile Express. Easy and Free
If you use Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 or 2011, you may already have Mobile Express. It is a mobile browser optimized interface that makes it easy to access CRM data from a smart phone. All you need is a smartphone with a HTML4 browser (that is 99.9% of all smartphones in use today). In 2011, the mobile forms are configurable via drag and drop interface just like standard CRM forms. Key features of Mobile Express:
- Cost (free)
- Easy to configure
- Any device with a browser
- Instant sync
- No resident data on device
- Call from phone
Mobile Express is not an app, but a url that is accessing your CRM instance in real time. There is no software to load, and it is device agnostic. Changes made in Mobile Express are reflected instantly as if they were entered via a standard CRM browser. Another benefit of Mobile Express is that (other than browser caching) data is not kept on the mobile device. That is attractive to some organizations for security reasons.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Solutions. Native App for Mobile Devices
There have been a number of third-party app solutions that allow you access your CRM data on your smartphone and tablet via an app. Typically, the key benefits of this include offline mobile access and an improved, device specific user interface. Microsoft has indicated that they will be selling this type of solution directly in the near future. In the meantime, the company that developed the solution (CWR) will continue to make it available for CRM 4.0 and 2011. Among the key features of CWR Mobility:
- Native and familiar experience on each device. Delivers familiar look and feel of Dynamics CRM to mobile devices.
- Fully-integrated Online and Offline clients for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, 4.0 & 3
- Role-based deployment with default implementations for Field Sales & Service
- Easy to use point-and-click configuration
- Background synchronization. Synchronization occurs automatically and reliably whenever connectivity is present.
- Dynamic application reconfiguration to automatically update smart clients
- Snaps into Dynamics CRM IT infrastructure
- Mobile Dashboards. Support for all native Dynamics CRM 2011 dashboards as real-time online mobile dashboards enables mobile users to stay on top of trends an key metrics while on the go.
Customer Effective Tablet Solutions
In the last two years, we have built a framework for building custom tablet solutions. This enables us to efficiently deploy deploy discreet applications that let users access and input Microsoft CRM data from their tablets. The typical use case for a custom tablet solution is the need for a guided process in a mobile environment. Our approach is device agnostic, which supports the BYOD trend in enterprises today. Key benefits of our custom tablet solution approach:
- Great for discreet applications
- Leverages your guided business processes
- Rich user experience
- A true “Mobile Portal” for internal or external users
For example, we built a Retail Audit solution for a consumer packaged goods company. The business need was to decrease the time it took to enter the retail audit reports into their system. Our solution gave their front line auditors a tablet with defined report forms. Customer data was auto populated, and the audit data could easily entered since the user interface was optimized for tablets.
The size and scope of our custom tablet solutions varies, but the common thread is that we are not trying to recreate Microsoft CRM on a tablet. In almost every case we are trying provide a guided, personal experience to the end user.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Four Mobile Solutions Available Today for Microsoft Dynamics CRM: