One of the most requested features or things to hit my inbox includes CRM's ability to work with this or that mobile platform. So before we get into the answer, let’s start with a few questions.

·        What information do you want available on a mobile device?

·        How often does this information need to be updated?

·        Do you have a data plan on your mobile device? 

So with that out of the way, let’s get some preconceptions out of the way. Microsoft CRM works with any mobile device that sync's with Outlook. So if what somebody needs is Contacts, Appointments and Tasks, then just the base functionality will work for them. If they want contact history, opportunities, accounts, etc, the other solutions may be required.

Understanding mobile architecture around CRM.

This next part is a vast oversimplification. There are two basic methods when it comes to interfacing with a CRM system. The first is store and forward and the other would be a persistent connection.

So in the world you and I live in, using Outlook on my laptop disconnected from the network would be the store and forward architecture. Using Outlook Web Access would require a persistent connection. So no network access, no access to the data Outlook Web Access.

 

Store and Forward devices:

  • IF IT SYNCS TO OUTLOOK, THEN THAT MAY BE ENOUGH… J Everything else below is ADDITIONAL functionality.
  •  Microsoft Pocket PC - we provide a native client that includes almost all of the sales functionality. Some of that is covered on Meeno’s blog, but it includes, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities and Activities. This information can then be cradle or wirelessly sync’d to the CRM Server.
  • Microsoft SmartPhone – Requires a persistent connection.
  • Palm - one of the best stickers I have ever seen was at the Microsoft Jamaica Office. It said “Friends don't let friends use Palm.” To use it with more than the basics, see persistent connection.
  • The Blackberry - 10 digits seems to have this market covered. Includes Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities and Activities.  

Persistent Connections

·        I have only seen one partner to develop a solution for the devices in this category. It works on pretty much any WAP enabled device. Dynamic Methods. The only down side is that it is pretty much read only.

So Microsoft CRM can and does work with a huge number of mobile devices. The coolest thing is that YOU can select what Mobile devices you want and Microsoft CRM has the potential to work with it. Of course the best experience will be with the Pocket PC devices, but I have some partners and customers who LOVE the 10Digits stuff for the Blackberry with a passion. 

Do you know of any other Mobility applications for Microsoft CRM?