One trend in the CRM industry that is hot, hot, hot is mobile CRM. Mobile CRM solutions — the ability to use handheld devices to manage sales, sales contacts, and customer service activities — have clearly moved beyond their previous status as a specialized nice-to-have option and into the mainstream. Organizations are also rushing to find new ways to allow their customers to interact with them using consumer-owned mobile devices.

The emergence of ubiquitous high-speed broadband connectivity, smartphones, and tablet devices with enormous computing power and longer battery life, along with increased employee adoption of touchscreen devices (iPhone/iPad/BlackBerry) in every sphere of life, are all trends that serve to “liberate IT from the desktop.”

I am currently midway through a major research cycle on the topic, talking with CRM vendors, systems integrators, and end users. My goal is to define mobile CRM best practices and spotlight the pitfalls that can get in way of capitalizing on the mobile technology revolution.

I recently talked with Model Metrics, Wipro’s CRM consulting practice leaders, and Tata Consultancy Services’ CRM practice leadership team. These consulting and development firms are all doing a lot of mobile CRM projects for their clients. We brainstormed about the critical considerations that that must be addressed when defining a mobile CRM strategy:

  • Who are the intended users and targeted business community for mobile app use?
  • What tangible business drivers can mobile solutions satisfy (customer satisfaction, business processes capabilities, improved operational efficiency, etc.)?
  • What precise use case(s) need(s) to be supported?
  • What is the data and information need of the field sales or service force?
  • How do we ensure that the information provided is accurate?
  • Does the operational business need offline availability? What is the impact of offline applications not being available?
  • What devices best suit the targeted users for their day-to-day operations?
  • What technology platforms should we consider?
  • How do technology platforms and devices align with the company’s enterprise architecture strategy (service-oriented architecture, cloud/SaaS, open source, COTS, bespoke, etc.)?
  • How will we manage devices from an enterprise perspective?
  • What are the enterprise security considerations?
  • What are the cost implications?

What has been your experience? Are any critical items missing from this list?