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  • 26 September 2013 11:20

Demand for mobile CRM driving BYOD market

Back in July on WhaTech we looked at how bring your own device (BYOD) - employees wanting to use their own smartphones and tablets to access their employer’s email and corporate IT systems - could help retailers, but there’s more to BYOD. In the hands of a salesperson on the road a mobile device linked to corporate IT can be really useful, especially for providing access to that most important resource: the customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Research firm Frost & Sullivan reports that “End-user demand for mobile access to desktop solutions has spurred the mobile sales force automation (SFA) market in North America. CRM vendors have sizeable customer bases waiting to incorporate mobile capabilities.” There’s more good news if you’re a CRM vendor, but not such good news if you’re a sales organisation feeling pressure from your end users (ie salespeople) for mobile access to CRM. Frost & Sullivan says that addressing customer concerns regarding installation expenses, data security and deployment difficulties will add to the market's growth. In fact, Frost & Sullivan expects the US market for sales force automation solutions to double from $US434m in 2012 to $US1.01b by 2017. Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies principal analyst, Jeanine Sterling, said that the popularity of tablets had contributed to market revenues. “While the small size of the smartphone screen limits the amount and type of data shown, the tablet's larger, high-resolution screen can display information, charts and videos in an easy-to-read, professional format, widening the application scope of mobile SFA solutions." However barriers to uptake remain. Frost & Sullivan says many organisations are still concerned about the cost of new mobile devices for sales teams, the integration of backend systems and the implementation of new data security processes. The other not-so-good-news for CRM vendors hoping to enjoy the fruits of this expanded market is that they face stiff competition from mobile application develops keen to expand into the CRM space. Sterling said: "While traditional CRM vendors continue to wrestle with price and portfolio issues, they face strong competition from mobile application developers that choose to implement standalone mobile SFA solutions. These solutions are typically hosted, so implementation is quick and monthly per-user pricing is affordable." She added: “Nevertheless, cost concerns will dissipate as traditional desktop CRM providers realise that they can no longer impose a separate fee for mobile access to basic SFA services. It remains to be seen if they will employ tiered pricing for mobilising their more sophisticated CRM capabilities.”

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